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Social Preferences in Childhood and Adolescence: A Large-Scale Experiment

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Author Info

  • Sutter, Matthias

    ()
    (European University Institute)

  • Feri, Francesco

    ()
    (University of Innsbruck)

  • Kocher, Martin G.

    ()
    (University of Munich)

  • Martinsson, Peter

    ()
    (University of Gothenburg)

  • Nordblom, Katarina

    ()
    (University of Gothenburg)

  • Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela

    ()
    (University of Innsbruck)

Abstract

Social preferences have been shown to be an important determinant of economic decision making for many adults. We present a large-scale experiment with 883 children and adolescents, aged eight to seventeen years. Participants make decisions in eight simple, one-shot allocation tasks, allowing us to study the distribution of social preference types across age and across gender. Our results show that when children and teenagers grow older, inequality aversion becomes a gradually less prominent motivating force of allocation decisions. At the same time, efficiency concerns increase in importance for boys, and maximin-preferences turn more important in shaping decisions of girls.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5016.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5016

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Keywords: children; social preferences; age; gender; experiment;

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References

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  1. Vesterlund, Lise, 2003. "The informational value of sequential fundraising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 627-657, March.
  2. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., . "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Anyck Dauphin & Abdel-Rahmen El Lahga & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix, 2010. "Are Children Decision-Makers Within the Household?," CIRANO Working Papers 2010s-17, CIRANO.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Simon G�chter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  5. Ernst Fehr & Michael Naef & Klaus M. Schmidt, 2006. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1912-1917, December.
  6. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  7. Sutter, Matthias & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela, 2010. "Gender Differences in Competition Emerge Early in Life," IZA Discussion Papers 5015, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  9. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Crawford, Vincent P. & Broseta, Bruno, 1998. "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt1vn4h7x5, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  10. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  11. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2004. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 857-869, September.
  12. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  13. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
  14. Gummerum, Michaela & Hanoch, Yaniv & Keller, Monika & Parsons, Katie & Hummel, Alegra, 2010. "Preschoolers' allocations in the dictator game: The role of moral emotions," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 25-34, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Luigino Bruni & Vittorio Pelligra, 2010. "The economic child: developmental aspects of economic behavior," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 57(3), pages 255-257, September.
  2. Brosig-Koch, Jeannette & Helbach, Christoph & Ockenfels, Axel & Weimann, Joachim, 2011. "Still different after all these years: Solidarity behavior in East and West Germany," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1373-1376.
  3. Simon Czermak & Francesco Feri & Daniela R?tzler & Matthias Sutter, 2010. "Strategic sophistication of adolescents ? Evidence from experimental normal-form games," Working Papers 2010-15, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  4. Sutter, Matthias & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela, 2010. "Gender Differences in Competition Emerge Early in Life," IZA Discussion Papers 5015, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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