Language group differences in time preferences: Evidence from primary school children in a bilingual city

Matthias Sutter, Silvia Angerer, Daniela Glätzle-Rützler, Philipp Lergetporer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

We study differences in intertemporal choices across language groups in an incentivized experiment with 1154 children in a bilingual city. The sample consists of 86% of all primary school kids in Meran/Merano, where about half of the 38,000 inhabitants speak German, and the other half Italian, while both language groups live very close to each other. We find that German-speaking primary school children are about 16 percentage points more likely than Italian-speaking children to delay gratification in an intertemporal choice experiment. The difference remains significant in several robustness checks and when controlling for a broad range of factors, including risk attitudes, IQ, family background, or residential area. Hence, we are able to show that language group affiliation, which is often used as a proxy for culture, plays an important role in shaping economic preferences already early in life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-34
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Volume106
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Children
  • Culture
  • Experiment
  • Intertemporal choice
  • Language

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Language group differences in time preferences: Evidence from primary school children in a bilingual city'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this