No SDES-2018-1
Title Time preferences between individuals and groups in the transition from hunter-gatherer to industrial societies
Author Yayan Hernuryadin, Koji Kotani and Yoshio Kamijo
Abstract Three societies of the hunter-gatherer, the agrarian and the industrial represent the course of human history for cultural and economic development. In this course, each society exhibits distinct cultures and daily life practices that shape human behaviors and preferences, characterizing temporal actions and consequences at individual and group levels. We examine individual and group time preferences as well as their relation across the three societies. To this end, we conduct a field experiment of eliciting individual and group discount factors in the societies of Indonesia: (i) the fisheries, (ii) the farming and (iii) the urban ones as a proxy of the hunter-gatherer, the agrarian and the industrial, respectively. We find that both individual and group discount factors are the lowest (highest) in the fisheries (agrarian) society among the three, while those in the urban are in the middle. We identify that the determinants of group discount factors differ across societies; members of the lowest and middle discount factors in a group play an important role in forming a group discount factor in fisheries societies, while only the member with the middle discount factor is a key in agrarian and urban societies. Overall, our results suggest that individual and group discount factors non-monotonically change as societies transition from fisheries to agrarian and from agrarian to urban ones, and comparatively shortsighted people (the lowest and middle) are more influential than farsighted people in forming group time preferences.
Revised version published in Sustainability