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Are Smarter People Better Samaritans? Effect of Cognitive Abilities on Pro-Social Behaviors

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  • Luis Aranda

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari)

  • Martin Siyaranamual

    (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari)

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    Abstract

    This study investigates the link between cognitive abilities and civic engagement of older Europeans (aged 50+), using waves two and three of the SHARE dataset. An instrumental variable approach is employed in an attempt to disentangle possible endogeneity issues arising between cognition and pro-social behaviors. In so doing, cognitive abilities are instrumented with the number of books in the respondent’s place of residence during childhood. The results advocate for the existence of a causal relationship running from cognition in old age to community engagement. Though contradicting standard theoretical predictions, this empirical finding is in line with mainline experimental results showing how participants with higher cognitive abilities tend to be less risk averse, and thus more willing to opt for a payoff-dominant action in a stag hunt game context more often.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari" in its series Working Papers with number 2014:06.

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    Length: 36
    Date of creation: 2014
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ven:wpaper:2014:06

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    Keywords: Cognitive ability; civic engagement; instrumental variables; risk aversion; we-rationality.;

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