If you were faced with the choice of receiving €100 today or €101 tomorrow, how would you decide? And would you rather have €100 in a year or €101 in a year plus a day?
On 13 June 2019, at the invitation of the Innsbruck law firm Greiter Pegger Kofler & Partners in the AC Marriott Hotel Innsbruck, Prof. Dr. Matthias Sutter, one of the leading behavioural economists in Europe, explained to the more than 100 guests how patience plays a role in life, what we can achieve with more perseverance, which factors have a decisive influence on our stamina and how we can successfully curb our own impatience and that of our children.
Building on Walter Mischel’s Marshmallow Experiments in the 1960s, Sutter explained why people who are able to wait longer for greater rewards and complete tasks are more successful and why more impatient people are more often overweight and save less.
“People who are more patient and self-controlled in early childhood are better educated as adults, richer, healthier, and less often criminal. The influence of patience is just as relevant as the intelligence quotient or family background,” says Sutter, Professor of Experimental Economic Research at the Universities of Cologne and Innsbruck and Director at the Max Planck Institute in Bonn.
You cannot choose the intelligence quotient or the family background. “But studies with children have shown, that there is, however, the possibility of teaching people the virtue of patience. For example, if you let a child experience the feeling of success that it will have after saving small amounts for a period of time and then finally being able to buy the bicycle it always wanted. If we know we can learn the ability to finish something, then this is a huge advantage! In the future, it will be important to promote these important skills more,” concludes Sutter.
The German Handelsblatt has ranked Sutter several times among the top 10 best research economists in the German-speaking world. His book “Die Entdeckung der Geduld – Ausdauer schlägt Talent” (Discovering Patience – Perseverence Beats Talent) has been published by Ecowin Verlag (June 22, 2018, 2nd edition).