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Iranians Sociable, Altruistic
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Iranians Sociable, Altruistic

A recent survey by the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group (HCEO) says that Iranians “are homogeneously gregarious, altruistic, and compassionate people.”
The Global Preference Survey, published last month, is a globally representative dataset on six key economic preferences of risk aversion, discounting, trust, altruism, as well as positive and negative reciprocity.
The preference data is collected as well as a rich set of covariates for 80,000 individuals, drawn as representative samples from 76 countries around the world, including Iran, representing 90% of both the world’s population and global income.
The global distribution of preferences exhibits substantial variation across countries, which is partly systematic: certain preferences appear in combination, and follow distinct economic, institutional, and geographic patterns. The heterogeneity in preferences across individuals is even more pronounced and varies systematically with age, gender, and cognitive ability, the website hceconomics.uchicago.edu reports.
Around the world, preference measures are predictive of a wide range of individual-level behaviors including savings and schooling decisions, labor market and health choices, pro-social behaviors, and family structure. The survey also sheds light on the cultural origins of preference variation around the globe using data on language structure.
What is particularly interesting is the pronounced within-country heterogeneity of behavior demonstrated by people from various regions of the Islamic Republic coming from a myriad of ethnic, cultural, racial, and religious backgrounds.
“Facing Iran right in the eye is a country such as Saudi Arabia, a racially homogenous society that has displayed widely diverse preferences in the six surveyed areas.”
The report also says that Iranians are highly impatient alongside Iraqis, Egyptians, and other South Asians such as Indonesians, Vietnamese, and Middle Americans. “Middle Eastern and North African populations have in common relatively high levels of risk tolerance and low levels of patience,” says the report.
“Pro-sociality and negative reciprocity of this group of countries are fairly diverse. Notably, all of the ten most risk tolerant countries in the sample are located in the Middle East or Africa.”
Iran is leading the way in positive reciprocity as the nation can build relationships easily, is comfortable with different cultures, and generous. Iran is doing better that Canada and the US, while Algeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Mexico are at the bottom of this list.
“Iranians are doing not bad nor well in negative reciprocity, and are not particularly looking for self-gain and profit in relationships. Iran’s economic partners France and Turkey, however, are leading the way,” the survey observes.
The Islamic Republic is a truly altruistic nation, topping the list along with China, Egypt, Morocco, and Brazil. It is also very trustful, but China and Egypt lead the way in this regard, with Saudi Arabia and Mexico at the bottom.
According to the findings of the survey, Iranians unanimously share behavioral commonalities with Canadians, Australians, Brazilians and Chinese.

 Human Capital Development
Founded in 2010, the Chicago-based HCEO is a collaboration of over 400 researchers, educators and policy makers focused on human capital development and its impact on opportunity inequality. It enables collaboration among scholars with varying disciplines, approaches, perspectives and fields, integrating biological, sociological, and psychological perspectives into traditionally economic questions.
The organization directs its efforts through six research networks that focus on the most pressing issues within human capital development and inequality: early childhood interventions; family inequality; health inequality; identity and personality; inequality: measurement, interpretation and policy; and markets.
Through its networks and their resulting research, HCEO plays a vital role in understanding and addressing opportunity inequality around the world.
HCEO is led by Nobel laureate James J. Heckman, the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago; Steven N. Durlauf, the Vilas Research Professor and Kenneth J. Arrow Professor of Economics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison; and Robert H. Dugger, the co-founder of Ready Nation and Hanover Provident Capital.

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