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Time preferences and political regimes: evidence from reunified Germany

Author

Listed:
  • Tim Friehe

    (University of Marburg
    CESifo
    EconomiX)

  • Markus Pannenberg

    (University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld
    IZA
    GLO)

Abstract

We use the separation and later reunification of Germany after World War II to show that a political regime shapes time preferences of its residents. Using two identification strategies, we find that former residents of the German Democratic Republic exhibit a significantly less pronounced present bias when compared with former residents of the Federal Republic of Germany, whereas measures of patience are statistically indistinguishable. Interpreting the years spent under the regime as a proxy for treatment intensity yields consistent results. Moreover, we present evidence showing that present bias predicts choices in the domains of health, finance, and education, thereby illustrating lasting repercussions of a regime’s influence on time preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Tim Friehe & Markus Pannenberg, 2020. "Time preferences and political regimes: evidence from reunified Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(1), pages 349-387, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:33:y:2020:i:1:d:10.1007_s00148-019-00728-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-019-00728-7
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    3. Tim Friehe & Markus Pannenberg & Michael Wedow, 2015. "Let Bygones Be Bygones? Socialist Regimes and Personalities in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 776, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Dahmann, Sarah Christina & Kamhöfer, Daniel A. & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah, 2019. "Self-control: Determinants, life outcomes and intergenerational implications," DICE Discussion Papers 319, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Time preferences; Political regime; Germany; Natural experiment; SOEP;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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