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This study aims to explain why children areimpatient. Using a biological framework called the life historytheory, the study investigates the evolutionary root of time preference, paying particularattention to childhood. The results show that the biologically endowed rate oftime preference is equal to the mortality rate not only in adulthood but alsoin childhood, reflecting the change in the biological value of survival.Mortality is the baseline for time preference through the entire course oflife. These results are consistent with the findings in previous empirical andexperimental studies that the discount rate is U-shaped in age, and account forwhy young children, in particular, are impatient. In addition, the differencein time preference between adults and children provides a biologicalexplanation for the parent-offspring conflict, in which the higherdiscount rate among children causes parents and their children to disagree overintertemporal allocation of resources in collectivedecision-making particularly within the household.


Time Preference; Value of Survival; Life History Theory; Mortality; Parent-Offspring Conflict

Cite this paper

J. Kageyama -Why Are Children Impatient? Evolutionary Selection of Preferences,- Theoretical Economics Letters, Vol. 3 No. 5C, 2013, pp. 18-25. doi: 10.4236-tel.2013.35A3003.

Autor: Junji Kageyama

Fuente: http://www.scirp.org/


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