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Catastrophes and time preference: Evidence from the Indian Ocean Earthquake

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  • Callen, Michael

Abstract

We provide evidence suggesting that exposure to the Indian Ocean Earthquake tsunami increased patience in a sample of Sri Lankan wage workers. We develop a framework to characterize the various channels through which disaster exposure could affect measures of patience. Drawing on this framework, we show that a battery of empirical tests support the argument that the increase in measured patience reflects a change in time preference and not selective exposure to the event, migration related to the tsunami, or other changes in the economic environment which affect experimental patience measures. The results have implications for policies aimed at disaster recovery and for the literature linking life events to economic preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Callen, Michael, 2015. "Catastrophes and time preference: Evidence from the Indian Ocean Earthquake," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 199-214.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:118:y:2015:i:c:p:199-214
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.02.019
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Natural disasters; Time preference; Preference stability; Regression discontinuity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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