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Like mother like son? Experimental evidence on the transmission of values from parents to children

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  • Cipriani, Marco
  • Giuliano, Paola
  • Jeanne, Olivier

Abstract

This paper studies whether prosocial values are transmitted from parents to their children. We do so through an economic experiment in which children and their parents play a standard public goods game. The experimental data presents us with a surprising result. While we find significant heterogeneity in cooperative preferences in both parents and children, we cannot reject the null that the correlation between the degree of cooperation of a child and that of his or her parent is zero. That is, there is lack of evidence in our data that prosocial values are transmitted from parents to children. This finding is robust to the inclusion of demographic and socio-economic controls. Finally, parents show a significant degree of conditional cooperation, thus confirming the results of the existing experimental literature; such conditional cooperation is however absent in children.

Suggested Citation

  • Cipriani, Marco & Giuliano, Paola & Jeanne, Olivier, 2013. "Like mother like son? Experimental evidence on the transmission of values from parents to children," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 100-111.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:90:y:2013:i:c:p:100-111
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.03.002
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cultural economics; Experimental economics; Cultural transmission; Economic values; Public goods game;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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