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Social preferences in childhood and adolescence - A large-scale experiment

  • Matthias Sutter

    (University of Innsbruck, University of Gothenburg, and IZA Bonn)

  • Francesco Feri

    (University of Innsbruck)

  • Martin G. Kocher

    (University of East Anglia and University of Innsbruck)

  • Peter Martinsson

    (University of Gothenburg)

  • Katarina Nordblom

    (University of Gothenburg and Uppsala University)

  • Daniela Rutzler

    (University of Innsbruck)

Social preferences have been shown to be an important determinant of economic decision making for many adults. We present a largescale experiment with 883 children and adolescents, aged eight to seventeen years. Participants make decisions in eight simple, oneshot allocation tasks, allowing us to study the distribution of social preference types across age and across gender. Our results show that when children and teenagers grow older, inequality aversion becomes a gradually less prominent motivating force of allocation decisions. At the same time, efficiency concerns increase in importance for boys, and maximin-preferences turn more important in shaping decisions of girls.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. in its series Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) with number 10-07.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:uea:wcbess:10-07
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  1. Harbaugh, William T, 1998. "The Prestige Motive for Making Charitable Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 277-82, May.
  2. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2004. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 857-869, September.
  3. Vesterlund, Lise, 2003. "The informational value of sequential fundraising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 627-657, March.
  4. Anyck Dauphin & Abdel-Rahmen El Lahga & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix, 2008. "Are Children Decision-Makers Within the Household?," Cahiers de recherche 0829, CIRPEE.
  5. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
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  7. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Crawford, Vincent P & Broseta, Bruno, 2001. "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1193-1235, September.
  8. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  9. Ernst Fehr & Simon G�chter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  10. Sutter, Matthias & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela, 2010. "Gender Differences in Competition Emerge Early in Life," IZA Discussion Papers 5015, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Fehr, Ernst & Naef, Michael & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2006. "Inequality aversion, efficiency, and maximin preferences in simple distribution experiments: Comment," Munich Reprints in Economics 20639, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, George & Riedl, Arno, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-59, May.
  13. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  14. Gummerum, Michaela & Hanoch, Yaniv & Keller, Monika & Parsons, Katie & Hummel, Alegra, 2010. "Preschoolers' allocations in the dictator game: The role of moral emotions," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 25-34, February.
  15. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
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