“Delayed Gratification in Political Behavior: Time Preferences Predict Turnout and Donations” with Jerome Schafer, Yale

Event time: 
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - 12:00pm through 1:15pm
Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS), A002
77 Prospect St.
New Haven, CT 06511
Jerome Schafer, Yale University
Event description: 


Abstract: Delayed gratification is associated with a myriad desirable outcomes, including participation in elections. However, little is known about how procrastination may impede civic engagement. In this article, I provide an explicit theoretical framework. My model predicts that less patient individuals are less willing to vote and to donate. Registration, information, and monetary contributions involve costly effort before Election Day. Yet, the instrumental and expressive rewards are realized later, and discounted by time preferences. In the empirical analysis, I employ an incentivized measure of impatience from a representative U.S. panel (N=1,815). I find substantively and statistically significant correlations with self-reported outcomes. Whereas the correlation with turnout is sensitive to education and income, the correlation with donor status is less sensitive. Both are robust to political knowledge, intelligence, and risk preferences. This description of the political correlates of time preferences comports with my theoretical predictions, and suggests a behavioral basis for patterns of low and unequal participation.

Speaker: Jerome Schafer is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Yale. His research focuses on behavioral political economy, from a US and comparative perspective. He is particularly interested in how psychological constraints shape political preferences. His dissertation investigates the role of delayed gratification in political behavior. Website: http://campuspress.yale.edu/jeromeschafer/.

Open to: 
General Public
Event type 
Seminar, Workshop