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The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference

Galor, Oded and Özak, Ömer (2016): The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference.

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Abstract

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 in the contemporary era.

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