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The Effect of Early Education on Social Preferences

Author

Listed:
  • Alexander Cappelen

    () (Norwegian School of Economics)

  • John List

    (University of Chicago)

  • Anya Samek

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  • Bertil Tungodden

    () (Norwegian School of Economics)

Abstract

We present results from the first study to examine the causal impact of early childhood education on social preferences of children. We compare children who, at 3-4 years old, were randomized into either a full-time preschool, a parenting program with incentives, or to a control group. We returned to the same children when they reached 7-8 years old and conducted a series of incentivized experiments to elicit their social preferences. We find that early childhood education has a strong causal impact on social preferences several years after the intervention: attending preschool makes children more egalitarian in their fairness view and the parenting program enhances the importance children place on efficiency relative to fairness. Our findings highlight the importance of taking a broad perspective when designing and evaluating early childhood educational programs, and provide evidence of how differences in institutional exposure may contribute to explaining heterogeneity in social preferences in society.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Cappelen & John List & Anya Samek & Bertil Tungodden, 2017. "The Effect of Early Education on Social Preferences," Working Papers 2017-002, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2017-002
    Note: MIP
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    File URL: http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/cappelen_list_samek_tungodden_2016_EarlyEducation.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Ben-Ner, Avner & List, John A. & Putterman, Louis & Samek, Anya, 2017. "Learned generosity? An artefactual field experiment with parents and their children," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 28-44.
    2. repec:rsr:supplm:v:65:y:2017:i:4:p:168-197 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    field experiment; social preferences; child experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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