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The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes

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  • Dohmen, Thomas J
  • Falk, Armin
  • Huffman, David
  • Sunde, Uwe

Abstract

Recent theoretical contributions depart from the usual practice of treating individual attitude endowments as a black box, by assuming that these are shaped by the attitudes of parents and other role models. Attitudes include fundamental preferences such as risk preference, and crucial beliefs about the world, such as trust. This paper provides evidence on the three main mechanisms for attitude transmission highlighted in the theoretical literature: (1) transmission of attitudes from parents to children; (2) positive assortative mating of parents, which tends to reinforce the impact of parents on the child; (3) an impact of prevailing attitudes in the local environment. Investigating these mechanisms is important because they are crucial assumptions underlying a large literature. It also sheds light on the basic question of where individual attitude endowments come from, and the factors that determine these drivers of economic behaviour. The findings are supportive of attitude transmission models, and indicate that all three mechanisms play a role in shaping economically relevant attitudes.

Suggested Citation

  • Dohmen, Thomas J & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2008. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," CEPR Discussion Papers 6844, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6844
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    Keywords

    Assortative Mating; Cultural Economics; Family Economics; Intergenerational Transmission; Risk Preferences; Social Interactions; SOEP; Trust;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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