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Socioeconomic differences in early childhood time preferences

  • Delaney, Liam
  • Doyle, Orla

This article examines the extent to which early childhood socioeconomic differences emerge in hyperactivity, impulsivity and persistence, all of which are psychometric analogues to how economists conceptualise time discounting. We control for a wide range of factors including parental investment and proxies for maternal time preferences. Our results show substantial social class variations across measures at age 3. We find weak evidence that these measures are predicted by differential maternal behaviours (e.g. savings behaviour, smoking) but relatively stronger evidence that these traits are transmitted through the parents’ own non-cognitive skills (self-esteem, attachment) and parental time investments (time spent reading to the child and teaching the child to write, sing).

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 33 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 237-247

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:1:p:237-247
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

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  1. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," NBER Working Papers 13810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Leon Feinstein, 2003. "Inequality in the Early Cognitive Development of British Children in the 1970 Cohort," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(277), pages 73-97, February.
  3. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 645-677.
  4. Michael Daly & Liam Delaney & Colm P. Harmon, 2009. "Psychological and Biological Foundations of Time Preference," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 659-669, 04-05.
  5. Cipriani, Marco & Giuliano, Paola & Jeanne, Olivier, 2007. "Like Mother Like Son? Experimental Evidence on the Transmission of Values from Parents to Children," IZA Discussion Papers 2768, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
  7. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Read, Daniel & Read, N. L., 2004. "Time discounting over the lifespan," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 22-32, May.
  9. Doyle, Orla & Harmon, Colm P. & Heckman, James J. & Tremblay, Richard E., 2009. "Investing in early human development: Timing and economic efficiency," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-6, March.
  10. David M. Bishai, 2004. "Does time preference change with age?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 583-602, December.
  11. Najman, Jake M. & Aird, Rosemary & Bor, William & O'Callaghan, Michael & Williams, Gail M. & Shuttlewood, Gregory J., 2004. "The generational transmission of socioeconomic inequalities in child cognitive development and emotional health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(6), pages 1147-1158, March.
  12. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
  13. Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 729-58, August.
  14. Bettinger, Eric & Slonim, Robert, 2007. "Patience among children," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 343-363, February.
  15. David M. Blau, 1999. "The Effect Of Income On Child Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 261-276, May.
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