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Patience is a virtue: cooperative people have lower discount rates

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Reciprocal altruism involves foregoing an immediate benefit for the sake of a greater long-term reward. It follows that individuals who exhibit a stronger preference for future over immediate rewards should be more disposed to engage in reciprocal altruism – in other words, ‘patient’ people should be more cooperative. The present study tested this prediction by investigating whether participants’ contributions in a public-good game correlated with their ‘discount rate’. The hypothesis was supported: patient people are indeed more cooperative. The paper discusses alternative interpretations of this result, and makes some suggestions for future research.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/25843/

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