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Envy and Altruism in Children

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  • Kirsten Häger

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    (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich Schiller University Jena)

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    Abstract

    Envy and altruism have been studied extensively in adults. Here, we report data from an experiment studying envious and altruistic behavior in children. We study a sample of German school children aged seven to ten in a natural setting. We run two treatments. One treatment investigates envy, the other one studies altruism. Additionally, we collect data on the children's cognitive and social skills, and on their socio-demographic background. Controlling for these factors, we find that older children are significantly more altruistic. Boys care more about their relative position than girls. Socio-demographic information have limited predictive power in both treatments.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2010-063.

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    Date of creation: 17 Sep 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2010-063

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    Keywords: artefactual field experiment; children; envy; altruism;

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    1. Zizzo, D.J. & Oswald, A., 2000. "Are People Willing to Pay to Reduce Others' Incomes?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 568, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    2. Charness, Gary B & Grosskopf, Brit, 2000. "Relative Payoffs And Happiness: An Experimental Study," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8389x8z2, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    3. Dahlman, Sandra & Ljungqvist, Pontus & Johannesson, Magnus, 2007. "Reciprocity in young children," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 674, Stockholm School of Economics.
    4. Andrew POSTLEWAITE, 2001. "Social Arrangements and Economic Behavior," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 63-64, pages 67-87.
    5. Houser, Daniel & Schunk, Daniel, 2009. "Social environments with competitive pressure: Gender effects in the decisions of German schoolchildren," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 634-641, August.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Are we born altruistic?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-10-27 15:40:00
    2. Rousseau takes another battering
      by Nicholas Gruen in Club Troppo on 2010-10-04 23:38:40
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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.

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