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Language group differences in time preferences: Evidence from primary school children in a bilingual city

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  • Sutter, Matthias
  • Angerer, Silvia
  • Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela
  • Lergetporer, Philipp

Abstract

We study differences in intertemporal choices across language groups in an incentivized experiment with 1154 children in a bilingual city. The sample consists of 86% of all primary school kids in Meran/Merano, where about half of the 38,000 inhabitants speak German, and the other half Italian, while both language groups live very close to each other. We find that German-speaking primary school children are about 16 percentage points more likely than Italian-speaking children to delay gratification in an intertemporal choice experiment. The difference remains significant in several robustness checks and when controlling for a broad range of factors, including risk attitudes, IQ, family background, or residential area. Hence, we are able to show that language group affiliation, which is often used as a proxy for culture, plays an important role in shaping economic preferences already early in life.

Suggested Citation

  • Sutter, Matthias & Angerer, Silvia & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela & Lergetporer, Philipp, 2018. "Language group differences in time preferences: Evidence from primary school children in a bilingual city," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 21-34.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:106:y:2018:i:c:p:21-34
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2018.04.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Friedman-Sokuler, Naomi & Justman, Moshe, 2019. "Gender, culture and STEM: Counter-intuitive patterns in Arab society," GLO Discussion Paper Series 307, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    2. Daniela Glätzle-Rützler & Philipp Lergetporer & Matthias Sutter, 2019. "Collective intertemporal decisions and heterogeneity in groups," Working Papers 2019-10, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intertemporal choice; Language; Culture; Children; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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