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Monday, March 2, 2020 @ 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm

The Center for the Study of Law and Society 
is pleased to announce the next speaker in the Spring 2020 CSLS Speaker Series




Associate Professor of Law at Tel Aviv University


Speaking on her research

“Do Languages Generate Future-Oriented Economic Behavior?
Experimental Evidence for Causal Effects”

Coauthored by Ian Ayres and Tali Regev


Do languages affect or merely reflect the attitudes, preferences and behaviors of the people who speak them?

Languages vary in the ways in which they encode time. In some languages, like German, the same grammatical tense is used for the present and the future (weak FTR languages), while in other languages, like English, the marking of the present and the future are distinct (strong FTR languages). Studies based on survey data have shown that the usage of languages that grammatically associate the future and the present tends to be correlated with more future-oriented behavior. In this current study, we take an experimental approach to go beyond correlation and to identify the causal effect of language on future-oriented behavior which has not been identified yet. We let bilingual people who are fluent in two languages that vary in the way in which they encode time make a future-oriented economic decision: specifically, we ask participants in one of the two languages in which they are fluent to make a set of binary choices about whether they wish to be paid a certain amount of money earlier (today), or a larger amount of money later (in the following week). We then test whether the people who are randomly assigned to be asked in a strong FTR language require more future compensation than those asked in a weak FTR language. We find that being addressed in the strong-FTR language generates a higher time discount rate compared to being addressed in the weak-FTR language. In other words, participants who are addressed in languages in which the present and the future are marked more distinctly tend to value future events less than participants who are addressed in languages in which the present and the future are similarly marked.


The related paper is available on our website and in hard copy at the Center.


Please join us on Monday, March 2 from 12:45-2:00p in the Philip Selznick Seminar Room, 2240 Piedmont Ave. 
Coffee and water are provided. We invite you to bring your own “bag lunch.”
We are looking forward to seeing you soon!


Catherine Albiston, Faculty Director

Pamela Erickson, Executive Director


Monday, March 2, 2020
12:45 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:


Center for the Study of Law and Society


Philip Selznick Seminar Room
2240 Piedmont Ave
Berkeley, CA 94720-2150 United States
+ Google Map

Events are wheelchair accessible. For disability-related accommodations, contact the organizer of the event. Advance notice is kindly requested.

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