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Parents' Education and their Adult Offspring's Other-Regarding Behavour

  • Ulrik H. Nielsen

    (Department of Economics, Copenhagen University)

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    Does socioeconomic background when measured by parental educational attainment explain the heterogeneity in adults' other-regarding preferences? I test this by using data from two online experiments -- a Dictator Game and a Trust Game that were conducted with a broad sample of the Danish adult population. I match the experimental data with high-quality data from the Danish population registers about my subjects and their parents. Whereas previous studies have found socioeconomic status, including parental educational attainment, to be predictive for children's generosity, I find no such evidence among adults. This result is robust across age groups and genders. I provide two explanations for this. First, sociodemographic characteristics in general appear to be poor predictors of adults' other-regarding behavior. Second, by using Danish survey data, I find that Danish parents' educational attainment appears to be uncorrelated with how important they find it to teach their children to "think of others". More speculative explanations are also provided.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/dp_2014/1403.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 14-03.

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    Length: 55 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2014
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1403
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    Web page: http://www.econ.ku.dk
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    1. Matthias Benz & Stephan Meier, . "Do People Behave in Experiments as in the Field? – Evidence from Donations," IEW - Working Papers 248, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Jonathan Guryan & Erik Hurst & Melissa Schettini Kearney, 2008. "Parental Education and Parental Time With Children," NBER Working Papers 13993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. David Cesarini & Christopher T. Dawes & Magnus Johannesson & Paul Lichtenstein & Björn Wallace, 2009. "Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk Taking," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 809-842, May.
    4. Michal Bauer & Julie Chytilová & Barbara Pertold-Gebicka, 2014. "Parental background and other-regarding preferences in children," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 24-46, March.
    5. Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann, 2007. "The limits of self-governance when cooperators get punished: Experimental evidence from urban and rural Russia," Discussion Papers 2007-11, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    6. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond The Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, And The Evolution Of Ethnic And Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988, August.
    7. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
    8. Okumura Tsunao & Usui Emiko, 2014. "Do Parents’ Social Skills Influence Their Children’s Sociability?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(3), pages 36, July.
    9. Christoph Engel, 2010. "Dictator Games: A Meta Study," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2010_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Jan 2011.
    10. Borgloh, Sarah & Dannenberg, Astrid & Aretz, Bodo, 2010. "On the construction of social preferences in lab experiments," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-085, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    11. Kathleen Harris & Frank Furstenberg & Jeremy Marmer, 1998. "Paternal involvement with adolescents in intact families: The influence of fathers over the life course," Demography, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 201-216, May.
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