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Does civilization cause discontentment among indigenous Amazonians? Test of empirical data from the Tsimane' of Bolivia

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Author Info

  • Godoy, Ricardo
  • Zeinalova, Elizabeth
  • Reyes-García, Victoria
  • Huanca, Tomás
  • Kosiewicz, Holly
  • Leonard, William R.
  • Tanner, Susan
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    Abstract

    Despite the pervasiveness of international trade, the effects of trade opening on the psyche have received scant attention. We present three hypotheses about the likely effects of trade opening on the following five dimensions of the psyche: mirth (smiles), anger, addiction, stress, and regret. To test the hypotheses we use a survey of ~605 people [greater-or-equal, slanted]16 years of age from a highly autarkic native Amazonian society of foragers and farmers in Bolivia (Tsimane') with high levels of impulsivity. As explanatory variables we use four measures of trade opening and a wide range of controls. Regret at buying durable assets during the previous year and addiction bore a positive association with two measures of trade opening: monetary income in the last 2 weeks and outstanding monetary debts owed to one or owed to the rest of the world. International trade theory predicts that trade opening expands choices in consumption, but among impulsive people in a highly autarkic society, more choice can beget more addiction and buyer's regret. We found no association between trade opening and smiles, anger, or stress, consistent with recent findings from industrial societies suggesting weak or ambiguous links between monetary income and these indicators of subjective well-being.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

    Volume (Year): 31 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 4 (August)
    Pages: 587-598

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:31:y:2010:i:4:p:587-598

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

    Related research

    Keywords: Amazon Bolivia Tsimane' Markets Trade opening Psyche Well-being;

    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Anna Maria Mayda (Georgetown University) and Dani Rodrik (Harvard University), 2005. "Why are some people (and countries) more protectionist than others?," Working Papers gueconwpa~05-05-11, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    2. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Beatriz Armendariz & Jonathan Morduch, 2007. "The Economics of Microfinance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262512017, December.
    4. Kemp, Simon, 2007. "Psychology and opposition to free trade," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 25-44, March.
    5. Kirby, Kris N. & Godoy, Ricardo & Reyes-Garcia, Victoria & Byron, Elizabeth & Apaza, Lilian & Leonard, William & Perez, Eddy & Vadez, Vincent & Wilkie, David, 2002. "Correlates of delay-discount rates: Evidence from Tsimane' Amerindians of the Bolivian rain forest," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 291-316, June.
    6. Ben Irons & Cameron Hepburn, 2007. "Regret Theory and the Tyranny of Choice," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(261), pages 191-203, 06.
    7. Hirschman, Albert O, 1982. "Rival Interpretations of Market Society: Civilizing, Destructive, or Feeble?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 1463-84, December.
    8. Krueger, Anne O., 2004. "Wilful ignorance: the struggle to convince the free trade skeptics," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(03), pages 483-493, November.
    9. Godoy, Ricardo & Reyes-Garcia, Victoria & Seyfried, Craig & Huanca, Tomas & Leonard, William R. & McDade, Thomas & Tanner, Susan & Vadez, Vincent, 2007. "Language skills and earnings: Evidence from a pre-industrial economy in the Bolivian Amazon," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 349-360, June.
    10. Godoy, Ricardo & Karlan, Dean S. & Rabindran, Shanti & Huanca, Tomas, 2005. "Do modern forms of human capital matter in primitive economies? Comparative evidence from Bolivia," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 45-53, February.
    11. Godoy, Ricardo & Reyes-Garcia, Victoria & Huanca, Tomas & Tanner, Susan & Leonard, William R. & McDade, Thomas & Vadez, Vincent, 2005. "Do smiles have a face value? Panel evidence from Amazonian Indians," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 469-490, August.
    12. Godoy, Ricardo & Byron, Elizabeth & Reyes-García, Victoria & Vadez, Vincent & Leonard, William R. & Apaza, Lilian & Huanca, Tomás & Pérez, Eddy & Wilkie, David, 2005. "Income inequality and adult nutritional status: Anthropometric evidence from a pre-industrial society in the Bolivian Amazon," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(5), pages 907-919, September.
    13. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    14. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1987. "Testing for Regret and Disappointment in Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(388a), pages 118-29, Supplemen.
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