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The Evolutionary Basis of Time Preference: Intergenerational Transfers and Sex

The Evolutionary Basis of Time Preference: Intergenerational Transfers and Sex Abstract We consider the evolutionary basis of time discounting with intergenerational transfers. We show that the notion of “reproductive value” from biology provides the utility criterion for a parent to optimize the allocation of resources between transfers to offspring and to promote her own survival. This optimization has a natural dynamic programming formulation. We show that younger individuals may well be “too impatient,” but older individuals “too patient” in accordance with observations. We compare the allocation of resources under sexual reproduction to that where there is asexual reproduction. Sex distorts time discounting; under plausible conditions, sex increases patience. (JEL A12, D91 ) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Economic Journal: Microeconomics American Economic Association

The Evolutionary Basis of Time Preference: Intergenerational Transfers and Sex

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Publisher
American Economic Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by the American Economic Association
Subject
Articles
ISSN
1945-7685
eISSN
1945-7685
DOI
10.1257/mic.4.4.172
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract We consider the evolutionary basis of time discounting with intergenerational transfers. We show that the notion of “reproductive value” from biology provides the utility criterion for a parent to optimize the allocation of resources between transfers to offspring and to promote her own survival. This optimization has a natural dynamic programming formulation. We show that younger individuals may well be “too impatient,” but older individuals “too patient” in accordance with observations. We compare the allocation of resources under sexual reproduction to that where there is asexual reproduction. Sex distorts time discounting; under plausible conditions, sex increases patience. (JEL A12, D91 )

Journal

American Economic Journal: MicroeconomicsAmerican Economic Association

Published: Nov 1, 2012

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