Over the course of the last decade multiple countries across Europe gave up their individual currencies (and interest rate levels) and adopted a common one: the euro. Of these, the Mediterranean countries traditionally had higher interest rates and occasional currency devaluations in pre-euro times, the more Northern European countries by contrast had relatively low rates and occasional revaluations. Post-euro adoption, the rate of debt accumulation in Mediterranean countries accelerated, industry was dismantled and houses built. At the same time, trade deficits expanded to new highs.
Without belaboring the details, it seems to me that this a clear consequence of different average time preferences. The former provinces of the Roman Empire share a relatively high time preference, whereas the non-Roman parts of Europe have a far lower one.