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Closeness of the future: Influence of language future-time reference on individual behaviour

Di Pietro, F., Souitaris, V. ORCID: 0000-0002-7889-0010, Masciarelli, F. & Prencipe, A. (2023). Closeness of the future: Influence of language future-time reference on individual behaviour. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 19, article number e00359. doi: 10.1016/j.jbvi.2022.e00359


This study draws on the linguistics literature, which recognizes the role of language attributes in shaping individual behaviour. We theorize that weak-future languages (e.g., Chinese), which create the perception that the future is closer temporally to the present than do strong-future languages (e.g., English), favour future-oriented behaviours such as investment in crowdfunding of entrepreneurial ventures. To test this thesis, we use a mixed-method approach, combining an original dataset of crowdfunding investments in 53 countries (Study 1) and a randomized experiment examining the investment behaviour of 77 bilingual (English-Chinese) students (Study 2). We find that natives of countries with weak-future languages engage more actively in crowdfunding of entrepreneurial ventures compared to individuals from countries with strong-future languages. We find that this effect dominates the stable effect of national culture. In other words, perceiving the future as closer means that the future assumes greater psychological importance for weak-future speakers and, therefore, they enact more future-oriented behaviours.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: Language, Future-time-reference, Crowdfunding, Investments, Future-oriented behaviour
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Language of investment JBV Insights FDP_19_09.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible until 23 November 2024 due to copyright restrictions.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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