IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fau/wpaper/wp2012_10.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Parental Background and Other-Regarding Preferences in Children

Author

Abstract

Other-regarding preferences are important for establishing and maintaining cooperative outcomes. In this paper, we study how formation of other-regarding preferences during childhood is affected by parental background. Our subjects, aged 4-12 years, are classified into other-regarding types based on simple binary choice dictator games. The main finding is that children of parents with low education are more spiteful, more selfish and less altruistic. This link is robust to controlling for a rich set of child characteristics and class fixed effects. The parental effects stand out against the overall development of preferences, as we find children to become less spiteful and more altruistic with increasing age. Our findings, complemented by an analysis of the World Values Survey data, suggest that low socio-economic status affects parental effort invested in instilling other-regarding preferences into children, making them less likely to acquire cooperative types of preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Michal Bauer & Julie Chytilová & Barbara Pertold-Gebicka, 2012. "Parental Background and Other-Regarding Preferences in Children," Working Papers IES 2012/10, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Apr 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:fau:wpaper:wp2012_10
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ies.fsv.cuni.cz/default/file/download/id/20127
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    2. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg, 2006. "Raising Children to Work Hard: Altruism, Work Norms, and Social Insurance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1473-1503.
    3. Andreas Leibbrandt, 2012. "Are social preferences related to market performance?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(4), pages 589-603, December.
    4. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    5. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, in: Erik Hanushek & F. Welch (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 697-812, Elsevier.
    6. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2005. "Driving Forces Behind Informal Sanctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 2017-2030, November.
    7. Matthias Sutter & Francesco Feri & Martin G. Kocher & Peter Martinsson & Katarina Nordblom & Daniela Rützler, 2010. "Social preferences in childhood and adolescence - A large-scale experiment," Working Papers 2010-13, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    8. Ernst Fehr & Karla Hoff, 2011. "Introduction: Tastes, Castes and Culture: the Influence of Society on Preferences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(556), pages 396-412, November.
    9. Björn Bartling & Ernst Fehr & Daniel Schunk, 2012. "Health effects on children’s willingness to compete," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(1), pages 58-70, March.
    10. Avinash Dixit, 2009. "Governance Institutions and Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 5-24, March.
    11. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post--secondary Schooling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 705-734, October.
    12. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Crawford, Vincent P & Broseta, Bruno, 2001. "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1193-1235, September.
    13. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G., 2007. "Trust and trustworthiness across different age groups," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 364-382, May.
    14. Ernst Fehr & Karla Hoff, 2011. "Tastes, castes, and culture: The influence of society on preferences," ECON - Working Papers 026, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    15. Matthias Sutter & Martin G. Kocher & Daniela Glätzle-Rützler & Stefan T. Trautmann, 2013. "Impatience and Uncertainty: Experimental Decisions Predict Adolescents' Field Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 510-531, February.
    16. Martinsson, Peter & Nordblom, Katarina & Rützler, Daniela & Sutter, Matthias, 2011. "Social preferences during childhood and the role of gender and age -- An experiment in Austria and Sweden," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(3), pages 248-251, March.
    17. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, "undated". "Driving Forces of Informal Sanctions," IEW - Working Papers 059, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    18. Pamela Jakiela & Edward Miguel & Vera L. te Velde, 2010. "You've Earned It: Combining Field and Lab Experiments to Estimate the Impact of Human Capital on Social Preferences," NBER Working Papers 16449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Abigail Barr & Justine Burns & Luis Miller & Ingrid Shaw, 2011. "Individual notions of distributive justice and relative economic status," Discussion Papers 2011005, University of Oxford, Nuffield College.
    21. Joseph Henrich & Steve J. Heine & Ara Norenzayan, 2010. "The Weirdest People in the World?," RatSWD Working Papers 139, German Data Forum (RatSWD).
    22. 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.
    23. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2001. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 298-319, April.
    24. Janet Currie, 2009. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 87-122, March.
    25. Adriani, Fabrizio & Sonderegger, Silvia, 2009. "Why do parents socialize their children to behave pro-socially? An information-based theory," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1119-1124, December.
    26. Fehr, Ernst & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela & Sutter, Matthias, 2013. "The development of egalitarianism, altruism, spite and parochialism in childhood and adolescence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 369-383.
    27. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    28. Bettinger, Eric & Slonim, Robert, 2007. "Patience among children," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 343-363, February.
    29. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2003. "The nature of human altruism," Nature, Nature, vol. 425(6960), pages 785-791, October.
    30. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, "undated". "Why Social Preferences Matter - The Impact of Non-Selfish Motives on Competition," IEW - Working Papers 084, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    31. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2002. "The Inheritance of Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 3-30, Summer.
    32. Guido Tabellini, 2008. "The Scope of Cooperation: Values and Incentives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 905-950.
    33. Anne C. Case & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects of Family and Neighborhood on Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    34. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    35. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2002. "Why Social Preferences Matter -- The Impact of Non-Selfish Motives on Competition, Cooperation and Incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages 1-33, March.
    36. 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.
    37. Ernst Fehr & Helen Bernhard & Bettina Rockenbach, 2008. "Egalitarianism in young children," Nature, Nature, vol. 454(7208), pages 1079-1083, August.
    38. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis & Melissa Osborne Groves, 2008. "Introduction to Unequal Chances: Family Background and Economic Success," Introductory Chapters, in: Unequal Chances: Family Background and Economic Success, Princeton University Press.
    39. Alison Aughinbaugh & Maury Gittleman, 2003. "Does Money Matter?: A Comparison of the Effect of Income on Child Development in the United States and Great Britain," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(2).
    40. Fong, Christina M. & Bowles, Samuel & Gintis, Herbert, 2006. "Strong reciprocity and the welfare state," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, in: S. Kolm & Jean Mercier Ythier (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Giving, Altruism and Reciprocity, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 23, pages 1439-1464, Elsevier.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bauer, Michal & Chytilová, Julie & Pertold-Gebicka, Barbara, 2011. "Effects of Parental Background on Other-Regarding Preferences in Children," IZA Discussion Papers 6026, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Bügelmayer, Elisabeth & Katharina Spiess, C., 2014. "Spite and cognitive skills in preschoolers," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 154-167.
    3. Sutter, Matthias & Zoller, Claudia & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela, 2019. "Economic behavior of children and adolescents – A first survey of experimental economics results," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 98-121.
    4. Fehr, Ernst & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela & Sutter, Matthias, 2013. "The development of egalitarianism, altruism, spite and parochialism in childhood and adolescence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 369-383.
    5. Martin G. Kocher, 2015. "How Trust in Social Dilemmas Evolves with Age," CESifo Working Paper Series 5447, CESifo.
    6. Valeria Maggian & Marie Claire Villeval, 2016. "Social preferences and lying aversion in children," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(3), pages 663-685, September.
    7. Koch, Alexander & Nafziger, Julia & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2015. "Behavioral economics of education," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 3-17.
    8. Etienne Dagorn & David Masclet & Thierry Penard, 2019. "Les expériences sur les préférences individuelles et sociales des enfants et des adolescents : une revue de la litterature," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 2019-11, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    9. Alexander W. Cappelen & John A. List & Anya Samek & Bertil Tungodden, 2016. "The Effect of Early Education on Social Preferences," NBER Working Papers 22898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Horn, Dániel & Kiss, Hubert János & Lénárd, Tünde, 2022. "Gender differences in preferences of adolescents: Evidence from a large-scale classroom experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 194(C), pages 478-522.
    11. Sutter, Matthias & Feri, Francesco & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela & Kocher, Martin G. & Martinsson, Peter & Nordblom, Katarina, 2018. "Social preferences in childhood and adolescence. A large-scale experiment to estimate primary and secondary motivations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 16-30.
    12. Zubair, Maria & Khanum, Ayesha & Nasir, Marjan, 2018. "Transfer Of Behavioral Traits From Parents To Children: An Experimental Approach," MPRA Paper 92121, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Cadsby, C. Bram & Song, Fei & Yang, Xiaolan, 2020. "Are “left-behind” children really left behind? A lab-in-field experiment concerning the impact of rural/urban status and parental migration on children's other-regarding preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 715-728.
    14. Meier, Stephan & Pierce, Lamar & Vaccaro, Antonino & La Cara, Barbara, 2016. "Trust and in-group favoritism in a culture of crime," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 78-92.
    15. John, Katrin & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2017. "Gender Differences in the Development of Other-Regarding Preferences," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-607, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    16. Fabian Kosse & Thomas Deckers & Pia Pinger & Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch & Armin Falk, 2020. "The Formation of Prosociality: Causal Evidence on the Role of Social Environment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(2), pages 434-467.
    17. Holden, Stein T. & Tilahun, Mesfin, 2019. "How Do Social Preferences and Norms of Reciprocity affect Generalized and Particularized Trust?," CLTS Working Papers 8/19, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, revised 10 Oct 2019.
    18. Tünde Paál & Tamás Bereczkei, 2015. "Punishment as a Means of Competition: Implications for Strong Reciprocity Theory," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(3), pages 1-14, March.
    19. Doepke, Matthias & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2014. "Culture, Entrepreneurship, and Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1-48, Elsevier.
    20. Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Deckers, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Kosse, Fabian, 2014. "How Does Socio-Economic Status Shape a Child's Personality?," VfS Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100285, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    other-regarding preferences; altruism; spite; children; family background; field experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fau:wpaper:wp2012_10. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/icunicz.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Natalie Svarcova (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/icunicz.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.