The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference
107 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2014 Last revised: 19 Aug 2016
Date Written: August 17, 2016
This research explores the origins of observed differences in time preference across countries and regions. Exploiting a natural experiment associated with the expansion of suitable crops for cultivation in the course of the Columbian Exchange, the research establishes that pre-industrial agro-climatic characteristics that were conducive to higher return to agricultural investment, triggered selection, adaptation and learning processes that generated a persistent positive effect on the prevalence of long-term orientation in the contemporary era. Furthermore, the research establishes that these agro-climatic characteristics have had a culturally embodied impact on economic behavior such as technological adoption, education, saving, and smoking.
Keywords: Time preference, Delayed Gratification, Cultural Evolution, Economic Development, Comparative Development, Human Capital, Education, Saving, Smoking
JEL Classification: D14, D90, E21, I12, I25, J24, J26, O10, O33, O40, Z1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation