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Independence Giving or Autonomy Taking? Childhood Predictors of Decision-Making Patterns Between Young Adolescents and Parents


  • Shelly Lundberg
  • Jennifer Romich
  • Kwok Ping Tsang


This article reports on a study of whether young adolescents make decisions autonomously, share decisions with their parents, or have decisions made for them by parents. Using a sample of 2,620 12- and 13-year-olds from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth – Child Study we examine how childhood behavior and competence influence decision patterns in young adolescence. Individual models are used to test whether traits predict decision patterns and sibling fixed-effects models allow us to estimate effects of child characteristics net of stable family contributions. In both individual and sibling fixed-effects models, children with higher verbal ability share more decision-making with parents. Children with greater mathematical aptitude and children who are impulsive are more likely to make decisions without consulting parents. The impulsivity effect is stronger in families with fewer resources. These results suggest that children directly and indirectly influence household decision-sharing patterns.

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  • Shelly Lundberg & Jennifer Romich & Kwok Ping Tsang, 2007. "Independence Giving or Autonomy Taking? Childhood Predictors of Decision-Making Patterns Between Young Adolescents and Parents," Working Papers UWEC-2007-23, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:udb:wpaper:uwec-2007-23

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    Cited by:

    1. Shelly Lundberg & Jennifer Romich & Kwok Tsang, 2009. "Decision-making by children," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 1-30, March.

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