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Time Matters

Aug 25, 2011 • Behavioral Economics, Businesses, Developing Economies, Economic Thinkers, Innovation, Labor, Macroeconomic Measurement, Thinking Economically • 206 Views    1 Comment

Faster people tend to live in wealthier nations.

According to psychologist Robert Levine, cultures with faster walkers probably have more people, a cooler climate, a “vital economy” and they value individualism. Measuring “tempo” in 31 different countries, in A Geography of Time, he explains how time and the fabric of our culture interact.

To assess your own “time urgency,” Dr. Levine suggests you consider these variables:

  1. Do you care what time it is?
  2. Do you speak quickly? Tolerate interruptions? Look for the point of a statement immediately?
  3. Are you a speedy eater? Walker? Impatient driver?
  4. Do you value punctuality?
  5. Do you depend on lists?
  6. Do wait times annoy you?

Here, in a past post, we look at more of Dr. Levine’s work.

    The Economic Lesson

    In his NY Times Economic View column, economist Tyler Cowen tells that U.S. productivity numbers are slipping. If a worker has less output per hour, then the impact can be felt far beyond the workplace. Living standards, GDP and wages will be affected.

    And that returns us to time. A society with a faster tempo is likely to be more productive.

    An Economic Question: Specifically, how might “time urgency” and productivity relate? Examples?

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