The early childhood determinants of time preferences

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Title: The early childhood determinants of time preferences
Authors: Delaney, Liam
Doyle, Orla
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Date: 15-Dec-2008
Abstract: Research on time preference formation and socioeconomic differences in discounting has received little attention to date. This article examines the extent to which early childhood differences emerge in measures of hyperactivity, impulsivity and persistence, all of which are good psychometric analogues to how economists conceptualise discounting. We examine the distribution of these traits measured at age three across parental social class and analyse the extent to which different mechanism plausibly generate the observed social class distribution. In addition, we control for a wide ranging of potentially mediating factors including parental investment and proxies for maternal time preferences. Our results show substantial social class variations across all measures. We find only weak evidence that this relates to differential maternal time preferences (e.g. savings behaviour, abstaining from smoking) but relatively stronger evidence that these traits are transmitted through the parents own non-cognitive skill set (self-esteem, attachment etc.) and parental time investments (e.g. time spent reading to the child and teaching the child to write, sing etc.).
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. Geary Institute
Copyright (published version): 2008 Geary Institute
Subject LCSH: Child development
Children--Social conditions
Parent and child
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Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Geary Institute Working Papers
Economics Research Collection

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