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How Does Socio-Economic Status Shape a Child's Personality?

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  • Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah
  • Deckers, Thomas
  • Falk, Armin
  • Kosse, Fabian

Abstract

We show that parental socioeconomic status (SES) is a powerful predictor of many facets of a child's personality. The facets of personality we investigate encompass time preferences, risk preferences, and altruism that are important noncognitive skills, as well as crystallized, fluid, and overall IQ that represent cognitive skills. We measure parental SES by the mother's and father's average years of education and household income. Our results show that children from families with higher SES are more patient, less likely to be risk-seeking, and score higher on IQ tests. About 20 to 40% of this relationship can be explained by dimensions of a child's environment that are shown to di ffer by parental SES: quantity and quality of time parents spend with their children, parenting style, the mother's IQ and economic preferences, a child's initial conditions at birth, and family structure. Personality profiles that vary systematically with parental SES off er an explanation for social immobility.

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  • Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Deckers, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Kosse, Fabian, 2014. "How Does Socio-Economic Status Shape a Child's Personality?," VfS Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100285, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc14:100285
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    13. Horn, Dániel & Kiss, Hubert János & Lénárd, Tünde, 2022. "Gender differences in preferences of adolescents: Evidence from a large-scale classroom experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 194(C), pages 478-522.
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    17. Hermes, Henning & Hett, Florian & Mechtel, Mario & Schmidt, Felix & Schunk, Daniel & Wagner, Valentin, 2020. "Do children cooperate conditionally? Adapting the strategy method for first-graders," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 638-652.
    18. Sutter, Matthias & Zoller, Claudia & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela, 2019. "Economic behavior of children and adolescents – A first survey of experimental economics results," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 98-121.
    19. Sutter, Matthias & Feri, Francesco & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela & Kocher, Martin G. & Martinsson, Peter & Nordblom, Katarina, 2018. "Social preferences in childhood and adolescence. A large-scale experiment to estimate primary and secondary motivations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 16-30.
    20. Claire Duquennois, 2022. "Fictional Money, Real Costs: Impacts of Financial Salience on Disadvantaged Students," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 112(3), pages 798-826, March.
    21. Samek, Anya & Gray, Andre & Datar, Ashlesha & Nicosia, Nancy, 2021. "Adolescent time and risk preferences: Measurement, determinants and field consequences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 460-488.
    22. Lima de Miranda, Katharina, 2019. "Mindfulness, preferences and well-being: Mindfulness predicts adolescents' field behaviour," Kiel Working Papers 2127, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    23. James Andreoni & Michael Kuhn & John List & Anya Samek & Charles Sprenger, 2017. "Field experiments on the development of time preferences," Artefactual Field Experiments 00615, The Field Experiments Website.
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    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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