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

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

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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 90 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 100-111

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:90:y:2013:i:c:p:100-111
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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