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The today and tomorrow of kids: Time preferences and educational outcomes of children

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  • Castillo, Marco
  • Ferraro, Paul J.
  • Jordan, Jeffrey L.
  • Petrie, Ragan

Abstract

We experimentally investigate the distribution of children's time preferences along gender and racial lines. We find that boys are more impatient than girls and black children are more impatient than white children. Black boys have the highest discount rates of all groups. Most importantly, we show that impatience has a direct correlation with behavior that is predictive of economic success. An increase of one standard deviation in the discount rate is associated with an increase in the number of disciplinary referrals that a child has the following school year by 14%. Our results suggest that impatience might play an important role in determining the success of performance incentive programs for school children.

Suggested Citation

  • Castillo, Marco & Ferraro, Paul J. & Jordan, Jeffrey L. & Petrie, Ragan, 2011. "The today and tomorrow of kids: Time preferences and educational outcomes of children," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1377-1385.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:11:p:1377-1385
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2011.07.009
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