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The Early Childhood Determinants Of Time Preferences

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  • Liam Delaney

    (UCD Geary Institute, UCD School of Economics, & UCD School of Public Health and Population Science, University College Dublin)

  • Orla Doyle

    (UCD Geary Institute & UCD School of Public Health and Population Science, University College Dublin)

Abstract

Research on time preference formation and socioeconomic differences in discounting has received little attention to date. This article examines the extent to which early childhood differences emerge in measures of hyperactivity, impulsivity and persistence, all of which are good psychometric analogues to how economists conceptualise discounting. We examine the distribution of these traits measured at age three across parental social class and analyse the extent to which different mechanism plausibly generate the observed social class distribution. In addition, we control for a wide ranging of potentially mediating factors including parental investment and proxies for maternal time preferences. Our results show substantial social class variations across all measures. We find only weak evidence that this relates to differential maternal time preferences (e.g. savings behaviour, abstaining from smoking) but relatively stronger evidence that these traits are transmitted through the parents own non-cognitive skill set (self-esteem, attachment etc.) and parental time investments (e.g. time spent reading to the child and teaching the child to write, sing etc.).

Suggested Citation

  • Liam Delaney & Orla Doyle, 2008. "The Early Childhood Determinants Of Time Preferences," Working Papers 200834, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:200834
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Gary S. Becker & Casey B. Mulligan, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 729-758.
    3. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Orla Doyle & Colm Harmon & James J. Heckman & Richard E. Tremblay, 2007. "Early Childhood Intervention. Rationale, Timing and Efficacy," Working Papers 200705, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    6. Cipriani, Marco & Giuliano, Paola & Jeanne, Olivier, 2013. "Like mother like son? Experimental evidence on the transmission of values from parents to children," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 100-111.
    7. Bettinger, Eric & Slonim, Robert, 2007. "Patience among children," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 343-363, February.
    8. David M. Blau, 1999. "The Effect Of Income On Child Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 261-276, May.
    9. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 645-677.
    10. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
    11. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    12. David M. Bishai, 2004. "Does time preference change with age?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(4), pages 583-602, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Osiander, Christopher & Dietz, Martin, 2015. "What could all the money do? : Ergebnisse eines faktoriellen Surveys zur Bedeutung von Opportunitätskosten bei Weiterbildungsentscheidungen," IAB Discussion Paper 201504, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    2. C. Osiander & M. Dietz, 2016. "Determinanten der Weiterbildungsbereitschaft: Ergebnisse eines faktoriellen Surveys unter Arbeitslosen
      [What determines the motivation for further training? Results from a factorial survey among jo
      ," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 49(1), pages 59-76, July.

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