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Smart and Dangerous: How Cognitive Skills Drive the Intergenerational Transmission of Retaliation


  • Henry, Ruby

    () (University of Toulouse I)


A need exists to understand how people develop an aggressive, retaliatory conflict resolution policy vs. a more passive reconciliation stance. I contribute a choice-theoretic model that explains how cognitive skills drive the transmission of conflict resolution policies. A child’s resolution policy depends on parental effort and the influence of the outside environment. The model has the implication that high-cognitive parents socialize children to their conflict resolution culture more successfully than parents with low cognitive skills. Indeed, I test the model using the cognitive skills and conflict resolution skills of parents and children from the UK National Childhood Development Survey. I find that the parent’s effort is reinforced by the prevalence of their conflict resolution values in society. The data confirm that children of retaliating high-cognitive parents are more likely to be socialized to that resolution culture than children of low-cognitive retaliating parents when retaliation is more prominent in society.

Suggested Citation

  • Henry, Ruby, 2010. "Smart and Dangerous: How Cognitive Skills Drive the Intergenerational Transmission of Retaliation," IZA Discussion Papers 5413, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5413

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. de Bartolome, Charles A M, 1990. "Equilibrium and Inefficiency in a Community Model with Peer Group Effects," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 110-133, February.
    2. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The smart children of vengeance
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-03-08 21:22:00

    More about this item


    socioemotional skills; cultural transmission; family influence;

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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