Won’t You Think of the Children?: Traits Predicting Intergenerational Preferences


Individuals are frequently asked to make sacrifices in an attempt to produce benefits for future generations. Such decisions are referred to as intergenerational dilemmas. Previous research on intergenerational dilemmas has shown that situational manipulation of factors such as the delay between sacrifice and benefits and the perceived similarity with future others modulate intergenerational preferences. However, it is unclear whether there are traits that predict intergenerational preferences across a variety of dilemmas. Individual differences were quantified using econometric measures of delay discounting and social discounting. Results indicated that individual differences on these measures accounted for a significant portion of the variance observed in a broad measure of intergenerational preferences.

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