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Lookup NU author(s): Gillian Pepper
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).
Humans, like other animals, typically discount the value of delayed rewards relative to those available in the present. From an evolutionary perspective, prioritising immediate rewards is a predictable response to high local mortality rates, as is an acceleration of reproductive scheduling. In a sample of 46 countries, we explored the cross-country relationships between average life expectancy, intertemporal choice, and women's age at first birth. We find that, across countries, lower life expectancy is associated with both a smaller percentage of people willing to wait for a larger but delayed reward, as well as a younger age at first birth. These results, which hold when controlling for region and economic pressures (GDP-per capita), dovetail with findings at the individual level to suggest that life expectancy is an important ecological predictor of both intertemporal and reproductive decision-making.
Author(s): Bulley A, Pepper GV
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Evolution and Human Behavior
Print publication date: 01/09/2017
Online publication date: 04/05/2017
Acceptance date: 04/05/2017
Date deposited: 09/05/2017
ISSN (print): 1090-5138
Publisher: Elsevier Inc.
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