The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes
Thomas J. Dohmen
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Maastricht University - Business Investment Research Center (BIRC)
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); University of Bonn - Economic Science Area; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Swarthmore College
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); University of St. Gallen
IZA Discussion Paper No. 2380
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2307
Recent theoretical contributions depart from the usual practice of treating individual attitude endowments as a black box, by assuming that these are shaped by the attitudes of parents and other role models. Attitudes include fundamental preferences such as risk preference, and crucial beliefs about the world, such as trust. This paper provides evidence on the three main mechanisms for attitude transmission highlighted in the theoretical literature: (1) transmission of attitudes from parents to children; (2) positive assortative mating of parents, which tends to reinforce the impact of parents on the child; (3) an impact of prevailing attitudes in the local environment. Investigating these mechanisms is important because they are crucial assumptions underlying a large literature. It also sheds light on the basic question of where individual attitude endowments come from, and the factors that determine these drivers of economic behavior. The findings are supportive of attitude transmission models, and indicate that all three mechanisms play a role in shaping economically relevant attitudes.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
Keywords: risk preferences, trust, intergenerational transmission, cultural transmission, assortative mating, social mobility, SOEP
JEL Classification: D1, D8, J12, J13, J62, Z13working papers series
Date posted: October 31, 2006
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