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Toward an Understanding of the Development of Time Preferences: Evidence from Field Experiments

Author

Listed:
  • James Andreoni
  • Michael A. Kuhn
  • John A. List
  • Anya Samek
  • Kevin Sokal
  • Charles Sprenger

Abstract

Time preferences have been correlated with a range of life outcomes, yet little is known about their early development. We conduct a field experiment to elicit time preferences of over 1,200 children ages 3-12, who make several intertemporal decisions. To shed light on how such primitives form, we explore various channels that might affect time preferences, from background characteristics to the causal impact of an early schooling program that we developed and operated. Our results suggest that time preferences evolve substantially during this period, with younger children displaying more impatience than older children. We also find a strong association with race: black children, relative to white or Hispanic children, are more impatient. Finally, assignment to different schooling opportunities is not significantly associated with child time preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • James Andreoni & Michael A. Kuhn & John A. List & Anya Samek & Kevin Sokal & Charles Sprenger, 2019. "Toward an Understanding of the Development of Time Preferences: Evidence from Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 25590, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25590
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Toward an Understanding of the Development of Time Preferences: Evidence from Field Experiments
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2019-03-27 14:32:20

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    Cited by:

    1. James Andreoni & Amalia Di Girolamo & John List & Claire Mackevicius & Anya Samek, 2019. "Risk Preferences of Children and Adolescents in Relation to Gender, Cognitive Skills, Soft Skills, and Executive Functions," Artefactual Field Experiments 00668, The Field Experiments Website.
    2. Brenøe, Anne Ardila & Epper, Thomas, 2019. "Parenting Values Moderate the Intergenerational Transmission of Time Preferences," Economics Working Paper Series 1917, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    3. Yamamura, Eiji & Kang, Myong-Il & Ikeda, Shinsuke, 2020. "Effect of female elementary-school homeroom teachers on time preferences in adulthood," MPRA Paper 99860, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Charness, Gary & List, John A. & Rustichini, Aldo & Samek, Anya & Van De Ven, Jeroen, 2019. "Theory of mind among disadvantaged children: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 174-194.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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