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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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5413.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5413
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  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 110-33, 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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