The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference
145 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2015
Date Written: February 27, 2015
This research explores the origins of the distribution of time preference across regions. It advances the hypothesis, and establishes empirically that geographical variations in the natural return to agricultural investment have had a persistent effect on the distribution of time preference across societies. In particular, 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 and learning processes that had a persistent positive effect on the prevalence of long-term orientation.
Keywords: time preference, delayed gratification, economic growth, culture, agriculture, economic development, evolution
JEL Classification: O10, O40, Z10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation