The economics of behavior
Time and punishment
Impatient children are more likely to become lawbreakers
IN HIS “Odyssey”, Homer immortalized the idea of resisting temptation by having the protagonist tied to the mast of his ship, to hear yet not succumb to the beautiful, dangerous songs of the Sirens. Researchers have long been intrigued as to whether this ability to avoid, or defer, gratification is related to outcomes in life. The best-known test is the “marshmallow” experiment, in which children who could refrain from eating the confection for 15 minutes were given a second one. Children who could not wait tended to have lower incomes and poorer health as adults. New research suggests that kids who are unable to delay rewards are also more likely to become criminals later.
荷马笔下的《奥德赛》里，那抵制诱惑的故事经久不衰 。主角将自己绑在船的桅杆上，听得到塞壬美妙却又危险的歌声，但不屈从于诱惑 。长期以来，研究人员一直好奇人们是否有能力抵制或推迟与生活相关的满足感 。在最知名的“棉花糖”实验里，15分钟内能忍住不吃糖的孩子就可以吃到两块棉花糖 。无法等待的孩子成年后往往收入较低，健康状况较差 。新的研究表明，不能耽搁而必须立即享受奖赏的孩子们之后也更可能成为罪犯 。
David Akerlund, Hans Gronqvist and Lena Lindahl of Stockholm University and Bart Golsteyn of Maastricht University used data from a Swedish survey in which more than 13,000 children aged 13 were asked whether they would prefer to receive $140 now or $1,400 in five years'time. About four-fifths of them said they were prepared to wait.
Unlike previous researchers, the authors were able to track all the children and account for their parental background and cognitive ability. They found that the 13-year-olds who wanted the smaller sum of money at once were 32% more likely to be convicted of a crime during the next 18 years than those children who said they would rather wait for the bigger reward. Individuals who are impatient, they believe, prefer instant benefits and are therefore less likely to be deterred by potential punishments.
不同于以往的研究者，此次调查中，研究人员追踪所有的孩子，并对其父母的背景和认知能力进行评估 。他们发现，比起那些宁愿等待更大奖赏的13岁孩子，想要一次性取得较小金额的孩子有32%的可能在今后18年内犯下罪行 。因此，研究人员相信，缺乏耐心的个体喜欢即时的好处，而且不太可能因潜在的惩罚而却步 。
But those who fret that a person’s criminal path is set already as a teenager should not despair. The four researchers offer a remedy. When the respondents'education was included in the analysis, they found that higher educational attainment was linked to a preference for delayed gratification. “We therefore suspect that schooling can deter people from crime by making them value the future more,” explains Mr Gronqvist.
但是，那些为一个人的犯罪轨迹在十几岁时就已定型发愁的人也不用绝望 。四位研究人员提供了一项补救措施 。当受访者的教育程度被纳入分析时，研究人员发现，较高的教育程度与推迟满足感的偏好是有联系的 。“因此，我们猜想，学校教育可以使他们更多的看重未来，从而压下犯罪的念头，”格伦维斯特先生解释道 。
Educational attainment and patience are related either because patience helps students to do better or because schooling makes people more likely to postpone rewards. Fortunately, there is evidence in support of the latter theory. Francisco Perez-Arce of the RAND Corporation, a think-tank, interviewed around 2,000 applicants for Mexican universities. The students had similar credentials but some obtained admission through a lottery to a university that did not charge tuition fees, whereas the rest had to apply elsewhere. As a result, a higher proportion of lottery-winners than losers went to college. After a year, Mr Perez-Arce found, the lottery-winners were more patient than the losers. Since the process was random, he concluded that higher education can make people place more weight on the future.
教育程度和耐心的相关性可能是因为耐心能帮助学生们做的更好，或者是因为教育增加了人们推迟奖赏的可能性 。幸运的是，后一种理论有着论据支撑 。咨询研究机构兰德的弗朗西斯科·佩雷斯-阿尔塞采访了大约2,000位墨西哥大学的申请者 。学生们手中有相似的凭据，但一些人能凭借抽奖被大学录取且不收学费，其他人则需另谋他处 。结果，抽奖赢家们上大学的比例高于未被抽中者 。一年后，佩雷斯-阿尔塞发现，抽奖中的赢家比输家更有耐心 。由于这个过程是随机的，他得出结论称高等教育可以使人们更多的关注于未来 。
Victor Hugo supposedly said, “He who opens a school door closes a prison.” Homer is not the only great writer with lessons for economic research.
维克多·雨果曾说，“谁若是开办了一所学校,他便是关闭了一座监狱 。”看起来，写下与经济研究相关的经验教训的伟大作家可不止荷马一人 。
1.relate to 涉及；同…有关系
It's not clear what bonds the new sec charges relate to.
Cutting costs is not easy: the bulk relate to promises already made.
2.tend to 趋向；偏重
Smaller laptops also tend to have longer battery life.
I tend to prefer light colors.
3.account for 导致，引起
Do women account for more of today's affairs?
Philosophers had long wondered how to account for essences.
4.wait for 等待
So the bus need not wait for the fare.
It's okay to ask for a coach rather than wait for someone to offer you one.