Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Preferences – Experiments With Children and Parents

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 10:15 AM – 12:15 PM

Sheraton Grand Chicago, Arkansas
Hosted By: Economic Science Association
  • Chair: Sule Alan, University of Essex

The Formation of Prosociality: Causal Evidence on the Role of Social Environment

Fabian Kosse
,
University of Bonn
Thomas Deckers
,
University of Bonn
Hannah Schildberg-Horisch
,
University of Bonn
Armin Falk
,
University of Bonn

Abstract

This study presents descriptive and causal evidence on the role of social environment for the formation of prosociality. First we show that socio-economic status (SES) and mothers' prosocial attitudes are systematically related to elementary school children's prosociality. Then we present evidence on a randomly assigned variation of the social environment, providing children with a mentor for the duration of one year. Our data reveal a significant and persistent increase in prosociality in the treatment relative to the control group. Enriching the social environment bears the potential to close the observed developmental gap in prosociality between low and high SES children.

Gender Stereotypes in the Classroom and Effects on Achievement

Sule Alan
,
University of Essex
Seda Ertac
,
Koc University
Ipek Mumcu
,
University of Essex

Abstract

We study the relationship between elementary school teachers' beliefs about gender roles and the educational outcomes of their students. To do this, we exploit the institutional features of a unique setting where conditional on district teachers are allocated to catchment areas, and conditional on catchment areas students are allocated to classrooms randomly. In this setting, a teacher might teach a pupil for as short as 1 year and as long as 4 years. Using rich data on student, family and teacher characteristics, we show that female students whose teachers maintain more traditional (progressive) views about gender roles have lower (higher) performance in objective math and verbal tests and, this effect is amplified with longer exposure to the same teacher. For boys, we find no significant effect on test scores. Our results imply that gender stereotypes in the classroom can contribute to gender achievement gaps early in childhood, and may have implications for gender gaps in occupational choice and labor markets.

Field Experiments on the Development of Time Preferences

James Andreoni
,
University of California-San Diego
Michael Kuhn
,
University of Oregon
John A. List
,
University of Chicago
Anya Samek
,
University of Southern California
Charles Sprenger
,
University of California-San Diego

Abstract

Time preferences have been correlated with a number of life outcomes, yet little is known about how children’s environment shapes time preferences. We develop an experimental protocol to elicit time preferences of over 1,000 preschool age children, who choose between smaller amounts of candy sooner and larger amounts later. We investigate the causal impact of early schooling by using a unique sample of low socio-economic status children who were randomly assigned to one of several different schooling interventions. We explore the relationship between time preferences of parents and children and the effect of the early childhood program on child outcomes.

The Impact of Family Background and Payoff Asymmetry in a Prisoner‘s Dilemma Game with Young Children

Anna Untertrifaller
,
University of Cologne
Mattias Sutter
,
University of Cologne and University of Innsbruck

Abstract

Human social interaction relies crucially on mutual cooperation as a mean to achieve synergies and, thus, to increase the welfare of human society. Here we study the determinants of cooperation at young age, by letting four- to five-year old children and their parents play an experimental prisoner’s dilemma game (PDG). We find a strong correlation between children's beliefs and their behavior. In addition, we provide evidence that parents with higher education have children who cooperate more often, which indicates that socio-economic status might affect the willingness to cooperate. Parental judgement, i.e. overvaluation of one’s own child, decreases cooperation rates. Contrary to previous research, we do not only investigate the case when the benefits from cooperation accrue to the same extent to both players, but also when one player benefits more than the other. We find that asymmetric outcomes in case of mutual cooperation do not decrease cooperation rates, controlling for all other factors. This might explain why cooperation could evolve in human mankind despite the fact that, in real life, it is typically the case that cooperation is more valuable for some than others.
Discussant(s)
Philipp Lergetporer
,
Ifo Institute at the University of Munich
Sule Alan
,
University of Essex
Seda Ertac
,
Koc University
Ragan Petrie
,
Texas A&M University
JEL Classifications
  • C9 - Design of Experiments
  • D0 - General