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The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference

Author

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  • Oded Galor

    (Brown University)

  • Ömer Özak

    (Southern Methodist University)

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 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Oded Galor & Ömer Özak, 2014. "The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference," Departmental Working Papers 1407, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:smu:ecowpa:1407
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Time preference; Delayed Gratification; Economic Growth; Culture; Agriculture; Economic Development; Evolution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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