The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference
This research explores the origins of the distribution of time preference across regions. It advances the hypothesis, and establishes empirically, that geographical variations in natural land productivity and their impact on the return to agricultural investment have had a persistent effect on the distribution of long-term orientation 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 agro-climatic characteristics in the pre-industrial era 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.
The authors wish to thank Alberto Alesina, Quamrul Ashraf, Francesco Cinerella, Marc Klemp, Anastasia Litina, Isaac Mbiti, Stelios Michalopoulos, Dan Millimet, Louis Putterman, Uwe Sunde, David Weil, Glenn Weyl, participants of the conferences on "Deep Rooted Factors in Comparative Economic Development", 2014, Summer School in Economic Growth, Capri, 2014, Demographic Change and Long-Run Development, Venice, 2014, and seminar participants at Bar-Ilan, Haifa, Southern Methodist and Tel-Aviv Universities for helpful discussions. Galor's research is supported by NSF grant SES-1338426. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Oded Galor & Ömer Özak, 2016. "The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 3064-3103, October. citation courtesy of