Armin Falk, Anke Becker, Thomas Dohmen, Benjamin Enke, David Huffman, Uwe Sunde, 19 June 2018

Vast inequalities exist within societies as well as across nations. This column uses a new dataset to show that preferences vary substantially across and within societies, and that these differences are related to differences in economic outcomes at the individual and aggregate levels. The findings suggest that institutional reform should take into account how institutions may interact with preference differences. 

David Bradford, Charles Courtemanche, Garth Heutel, Patrick McAlvanah, Christopher J. Ruhm, 15 October 2014

An individual’s level of patience is an important determinant in the trade-off between current and future consumption. This column explores the relationship between individuals’ patience for monetary payoffs and their health behaviours, energy use, and financial outcomes. The authors decompose patience into short-run impulsiveness versus long-run impatience, and also explore the role of alternative measures of patience, such as self-reported willpower.

Bart Golsteyn, Hans Grönqvist, Lena Lindahl, 19 August 2014

Time preference has substantial economic consequences. To a growing literature that shows patience to be an important indicator of economic outcomes, this column presents new evidence from a large administrative dataset that tracks children into adulthood. Those who reported more patient preferences as children move on to better labour market and health outcomes, and are less likely to become criminals.

Matteo Galizzi, Marisa Miraldo, 12 June 2010

Smoking, heavy drinking, and being overweight are known causes of disease. This column presents experimental evidence to try and understand why people ignore this advice. It compares lifestyle choices with people’s attitudes to risk and their patience, finding that while people with an unhealthy lifestyle are no more risk-loving than other people, they are more impatient.

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