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Field experiments on the development of time preferences

Andreoni, James and Kuhn, Michael and List, John A. and Samek, Anya and Sprenger, Charles (2017) Field experiments on the development of time preferences. . (Unpublished)

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Time preferences have been correlated with a range of life outcomes, yet little is known about their early development. We conduct a field experiment to elicit time preferences of nearly 1,000 children ages 3-12, who make several inter temporal decisions. To shed light on how such primitives form, we explore various channels that might affect time preferences, from background characteristics to the causal impact of an early schooling program that we developed and operated. Our results suggest that time preferences evolve substantially during this period with younger children displaying more impatience than older children. We also find a strong association with race: black children, relative to white or Hispanic children, are more impatient. Interestingly, parents of black children are also much more impatient than parents of white and Hispanic children. Finally, assignment to different schooling opportunities is not significantly associated with child time preferences.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Additional Information:We thank the Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation for funding this project. We thank the directors, principals and staff at the Chicago Heights Early Childhood Center for accommodating the data collection process. We thank Edie Dobrez, Jennie Huang, Phuong Ta and our staff of assessors for valuable research assistance.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Kenneth and Anne Griffin FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:time preferences, child behavior, experiment, inter-generational transmission
Classification Code:JEL: C72, C91
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200721-151516242
Persistent URL:
Official Citation: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.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:104492
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:22 Jul 2020 17:02
Last Modified:22 Jul 2020 17:02

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