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Knowing what I should, doing what I want: From selfishness to inequity aversion in young children’s sharing behavior

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  • Kogut, Tehila
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    Abstract

    The social utility model suggests that people feel more satisfied with equal divisions of resources than from inequitable outcomes, even when the latter favors oneself. Research examining children’s behavior has shown that the tendency to share half of one’s endowment increases with age between the ages of 3 and 8. However, the satisfaction the children derive from their decisions (to share half of their endowments) has yet to be examined. I present two studies (using the dictator and ultimatum games) suggesting that young children (5–6years old) are aware of the norms of fairness but choose to act selfishly and prefer not to share. Slightly older children aged 7–8 adopt these norms in their actual behavior but do not feel happier when they share half of their endowments than when they share less than half. Finally, true inequity aversion only appears at the ages of 9–10, when children not only give more, but they correspondingly also feel better when their endowments are equally divided.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

    Volume (Year): 33 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 226-236

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:1:p:226-236

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

    Related research

    Keywords: Decision making; Altruism; Norms; Equity; Dictator Game; Ultimatum Game; Children; Moral development;

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    1. Roth, Alvin E. & Vesna Prasnikar & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Shmuel Zamir, 1991. "Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1068-95, December.
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    6. Christoph Engel, 2010. "Dictator Games: A Meta Study," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2010_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Jan 2011.
    7. John A. List, 2007. "On the Interpretation of Giving in Dictator Games," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 482-493.
    8. Nicholas Bardsley, 2008. "Dictator game giving: altruism or artefact?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 122-133, June.
    9. Neelin, Janet & Sonnenschein, Hugo & Spiegel, Matthew, 1988. "A Further Test of Noncooperative Bargaining Theory: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 824-36, September.
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    Cited by:
    1. Evans, Anthony M. & Athenstaedt, Ursula & Krueger, Joachim I., 2013. "The development of trust and altruism during childhood," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 82-95.

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