Monday, 11 March, 2024 | 14:00 | Room 402 | Applied Micro Research Seminar

Johannes Abeler (University of Oxford) "The effect of the social environment during childhood on preferences"

Prof. Johannes Abeler

University of Oxford, United Kingdom

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Authors: Johannes Abeler, Toke Fosgaard, Lars Hansen, Armin Falk and Fabian Kosse

Abstract: Preferences are key for shaping decision-making, yet it remains an open question where preferences originate from. In two projects, we investigate the causal effect of the childhood social environment on preferences. In the first project, we utilize a natural experiment, which randomized refugees to different neighbourhoods in the 1990s. We experimentally measure risk and time preferences, as well as altruism and honesty, of adult refugees who were children at the time of arrival. Using rich administrative register data on the entire population, we can measure a very broad range of aspects of the childhood social environment. In a second project, we study the effect on a child’s honesty of a much more targeted intervention. We examine a year-long mentoring programme among primary-school children and measure honesty four years later. Across both projects, we find that the social environment during childhood significantly affects preferences.