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Parental Background and Other-Regarding Preferences in Children

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Abstract

Other-regarding preferences are important for establishing and maintaining cooperative outcomes. In this paper, we study how formation of other-regarding preferences during childhood is affected by parental background. Our subjects, aged 4-12 years, are classified into other-regarding types based on simple binary choice dictator games. The main finding is that children of parents with low education are more spiteful, more selfish and less altruistic. This link is robust to controlling for a rich set of child characteristics and class fixed effects. The parental effects stand out against the overall development of preferences, as we find children to become less spiteful and more altruistic with increasing age. Our findings, complemented by an analysis of the World Values Survey data, suggest that low socio-economic status affects parental effort invested in instilling other-regarding preferences into children, making them less likely to acquire cooperative types of preferences.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies in its series Working Papers IES with number 2012/10.

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Length: 46pages
Date of creation: Apr 2012
Date of revision: Apr 2012
Handle: RePEc:fau:wpaper:wp2012_10

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Keywords: other-regarding preferences; altruism; spite; children; family background; field experiment;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kirsten Häger & Bastiaan Oud & Daniel Schunk, 2012. "Egalitarian Envy: Cross-cultural Variation in the Development of Envy in Children," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-059, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  2. Byung-Yeon Kim & Syngjoo Choi & Jungmin Lee & Sokbae 'Simon' Lee & Kyunghui Choi, 2013. "Do institutions affect social preferences? Evidence from divided Korea," CeMMAP working papers CWP35/13, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Almås, Ingvild & Cappelen, Alexander W. & Salvanes, Kjell G. & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2014. "Willingness to Compete: Family Matters," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 3/2014, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.
  4. Ulrik H. Nielsen, 2014. "Parents' Education and their Adult Offspring's Other-Regarding Behavour," Discussion Papers 14-03, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.

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