The Formation of Prosociality: Causal Evidence on the Role of Social Environment

68 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2018

See all articles by Fabian Kosse

Fabian Kosse

University of Bonn

Thomas Deckers

University of Bonn

Pia R. Pinger

University of Bonn

Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch

Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Armin Falk

briq - Institute on Behavior & Inequality

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 04, 2018

Abstract

This study presents descriptive and causal evidence on the role of social environment for the formation of prosociality. In a first step, we show that socioeconomic status (SES) as well as the intensity of mother-child interaction and mothers’ prosocial attitudes are systematically related to elementary school children's prosociality. In a second step, we present evidence on a randomly-assigned variation of the social environment, providing children with a mentor for the duration of one year. Our data include a two-year follow-up and reveal a significant and persistent increase in prosociality in the treatment relative to the control group. Moreover, enriching the social environment bears the potential to close the observed gap in prosociality between low and high SES children. A mediation analysis of the observed treatment effect suggests that prosociality develops in response to stimuli in the form of prosocial role models and intense social interactions.

Keywords: formation of preferences, prosociality, social preferences, trust, social inequality

JEL Classification: D640, C900

Suggested Citation

Kosse, Fabian and Deckers, Thomas and Pinger, Pia R. and Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah and Falk, Armin, The Formation of Prosociality: Causal Evidence on the Role of Social Environment (June 04, 2018). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 7068. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3211780

Fabian Kosse

University of Bonn ( email )

Regina-Pacis-Weg 3
Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012
Germany

Thomas Deckers

University of Bonn ( email )

Regina-Pacis-Weg 3
Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012
Germany

Pia R. Pinger

University of Bonn ( email )

Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch

Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf ( email )

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Armin Falk (Contact Author)

briq - Institute on Behavior & Inequality

Schaumburg-Lippe-Straße 5-9
Bonn, 53113
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.briq-institute.org/

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