The best sentence I read last night

Expressed loosely, being smart makes women patient and makes men take more risks.

That is Shane Frederick, in the Fall 2005 issue of Journal of Economic Perspectives.  Here is an on-line version of the paper.  Here is Frederick’s home page.  Here is his fascinating doctoral thesis, an exploration of discounting and personal identity over time.

Frederick dares the economist to judge some people as irrational rather than ascribing all differences to preferences or risk-aversion.  Remember all those tests of expected utility theory?  If subjects with high cognitive abilities tend to choose a certain way, should we not consider that the rational choice?  For instance your ability to get simple numerical problems right is correlated with having a low rate of time preference.  Also check out Frederick’s data on which schools have students with the highest cognitive abilities…poor Toledo University…


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