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Toward an understanding of the development of time preferences: Evidence from field experiments

Author

Listed:
  • Andreoni, James
  • Kuhn, Michael A.
  • List, John A.
  • Samek, Anya
  • Sokal, Kevin
  • Sprenger, Charles

Abstract

Time preferences have been correlated with a range of life outcomes, yet little is known about their early development. We conduct a field experiment to elicit time preferences of over 1200 children ages 3–12, who make several intertemporal decisions. To shed light on how such primitives form, we explore various channels that might affect time preferences, from background characteristics to the causal impact of an early schooling program that we developed and operated. Our results suggest that time preferences evolve substantially during this period, with younger children displaying more impatience than older children. We also find a strong association with race: black children, relative to white or Hispanic children, are more impatient. Finally, assignment to different schooling opportunities is not significantly associated with child time preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreoni, James & Kuhn, Michael A. & List, John A. & Samek, Anya & Sokal, Kevin & Sprenger, Charles, 2019. "Toward an understanding of the development of time preferences: Evidence from field experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 1-1.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:177:y:2019:i:c:10
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2019.06.007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. James Andreoni & Amalia Di Girolamo & John List & Claire Mackevicius & Anya Samek, 2019. "Risk Preferences of Children and Adolescents in Relation to Gender, Cognitive Skills, Soft Skills, and Executive Functions," Artefactual Field Experiments 00668, The Field Experiments Website.
    2. Brenøe, Anne Ardila & Epper, Thomas, 2019. "Parenting Values Moderate the Intergenerational Transmission of Time Preferences," Economics Working Paper Series 1917, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Time preferences; Child behavior; Experiment; Inter-generational transmission;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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