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Effects of Parental Background on Other-regarding Preferences in Children

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  • MIchal Bauer
  • Julie Chytilova
  • Barbara Pertold-Gebicka

Abstract

Other-regarding preferences are central for the ability to solve collective action problems and thus for society’s welfare. We study how the formation of other-regarding preferences during childhood is related to parental background. Using binary-choice dictator games to classify subjects into other-regarding types, we find that children of less educated parents are less altruistic and more spiteful. This link is robust to controlling for a range of child, family, and peer characteristics, and is attenuated for smarter children. The results suggest that less educated parents are either less efficient to instill social norms or their children less able to acquire them.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague in its series CERGE-EI Working Papers with number wp450.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp450

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Keywords: other-regarding preferences; altruism; spite; experiments with children; family background; education;

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  1. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G., 2007. "Trust and trustworthiness across different age groups," Munich Reprints in Economics 18182, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Bettinger, Eric & Slonim, Robert, 2007. "Patience among children," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 343-363, February.
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  13. Borghans Lex & Golsteyn Bart & Heckman James & Humphries John Eric, 2011. "Identification Problems in Personality Psychology," ROA Research Memorandum 004, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
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  16. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
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  18. Avinash Dixit, 2009. "Governance Institutions and Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 5-24, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Christoph Bühren & Thorben C. Kundt, 2013. "Imagine Being a Nice Guy: A Note on Hypothetical vs. Incentivized Social Preferences," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201349, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

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