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Parents' Education and their Adult Offspring's Other-Regarding Behavour

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  • Ulrik H. Nielsen

    (Department of Economics, Copenhagen University)

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    Abstract

    Does socioeconomic background when measured by parental educational attainment explain the heterogeneity in adults' other-regarding preferences? I test this by using data from two online experiments -- a Dictator Game and a Trust Game that were conducted with a broad sample of the Danish adult population. I match the experimental data with high-quality data from the Danish population registers about my subjects and their parents. Whereas previous studies have found socioeconomic status, including parental educational attainment, to be predictive for children's generosity, I find no such evidence among adults. This result is robust across age groups and genders. I provide two explanations for this. First, sociodemographic characteristics in general appear to be poor predictors of adults' other-regarding behavior. Second, by using Danish survey data, I find that Danish parents' educational attainment appears to be uncorrelated with how important they find it to teach their children to "think of others". More speculative explanations are also provided.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 14-03.

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    Length: 55 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2014
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1403

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    Related research

    Keywords: Dictator Game; Trust Game; Generosity; Other-Regarding Preferences; Parental Education; Socioeconomic Status.;

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    1. Christoph Engel, 2011. "Dictator games: a meta study," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 583-610, November.
    2. Jonathan Guryan & Erik Hurst & Melissa Schettini Kearney, 2008. "Parental Education and Parental Time With Children," NBER Working Papers 13993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. David, Cesarini & Dawes, Christopher T. & Johannesson, Magnus & Lichtenstein, Paul & Wallace, Björn, 2007. "Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk-Taking," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 679, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 12 Jan 2009.
    4. Borgloh, Sarah & Dannenberg, Astrid & Aretz, Bodo, 2010. "On the construction of social preferences in lab experiments," ZEW Discussion Papers, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research 10-085, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    5. Matthias Benz & Stephan Meier, . "Do People Behave in Experiments as in the Field? – Evidence from Donations," IEW - Working Papers 248, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    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. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1999. "Beyond the Melting Pot: Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," Papers, Laval - Laboratoire Econometrie 1999-10, Laval - Laboratoire Econometrie.
    8. Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann, 2007. "The limits of self-governance when cooperators get punished: Experimental evidence from urban and rural Russia," Discussion Papers, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham 2007-11, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    9. Okumura, Tsunao & Usui, Emiko, 2010. "Do Parents' Social Skills Influence Their Children's Sociability?," IZA Discussion Papers 5324, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Kathleen Harris & Frank Furstenberg & Jeremy Marmer, 1998. "Paternal involvement with adolescents in intact families: The influence of fathers over the life course," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 201-216, May.
    11. Michal Bauer & Julie Chytilová & Barbara Pertold-Gebicka, 2012. "Parental Background and Other-Regarding Preferences in Children," Working Papers IES, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies 2012/10, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Apr 2012.
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