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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uea:wcbess:10-07
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  1. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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  6. Anyck Dauphin & Abdel-Rahmen El Lahga & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix, 2008. "Are Children Decision-Makers Within the Household?," Cahiers de recherche 0829, CIRPEE.
  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. Harbaugh, William T, 1998. "The Prestige Motive for Making Charitable Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 277-82, May.
  9. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Crawford, Vincent P. & Broseta, Bruno, 1998. "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt1vn4h7x5, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  10. Vesterlund, Lise, 2003. "The informational value of sequential fundraising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 627-657, March.
  11. 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.
  12. Matthias Sutter & Daniela R?tzler, 2010. "Gender differences in competition emerge early in life," Working Papers 2010-14, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  13. 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.
  14. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  15. 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.
  16. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
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