# Present-bias vs future-bias

There is a huge literature in economics that studies time-inconsistencies in decision-making and that consistently finds that individuals make present-biased choices in a variety of contexts: we do not save enough for retirement, we procrastinate at work, we invest too little in our human capital, we drink and eat too much, we exercise too rarely, etc. It is widely accepted in our profession that human beings are distracted away from their long-term goals by their short-term impulses.

At the same time, a major theme in philosophy and literature (that goes back to Greek philosophy) is our inability to enjoy the present moment. According to this view, we are constantly dreaming of future imaginary pleasures and unable to satisfy ourselves with our present situation. An archetypal example is someone who always sacrifices the present for a mid-term goal (graduating, earning money, buying a house, getting tenured, ...), who always believes that she will enjoy life once the goal is achieved but who always finds a next step - and who realizes that too late. In the economics terminology, this person's most important decisions (work-life balance for instance) are actually future-biased.

I am aware that both phenomena are difficult to compare since the first one is extensively documented quantitatively whereas the second one is more speculative. But it strikes me that our view of intertemporal trade-offs is so dramatically different from what philosophers and psychologists think.

Is there any attempt in economics to reconcile both views? For instance, are you aware of a study that finds that people are future biased? Any reference or thought about this topic would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!