Fun hypothesis 05/17/2016

M. Keith Chen with the Yale University School of Management has found that people in societies that speak “future-less” languages, or languages that do not as actively differentiate future and present tenses (Finnish, German, Japanese, Chinese, etc.), are more responsible with money and health. “Languages that grammatically associate the future and the present foster future-oriented behavior,” says Chen. Chen finds that individuals in these countries have better future-oriented behavioral characteristics, like propensity to save money for retirement and lower  cigarette smoking statistics. WOW.

Chen, M. Keith. 2013. “The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Evidence from Savings Rates, Health Behaviors, and Retirement Assets.” American Economic Review, 103(2): 690-731.


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