Culture and Student Achievement: The Intertwined Roles of Patience and Risk-Taking

52 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2020

See all articles by Eric A. Hanushek

Eric A. Hanushek

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Lavinia Kinne

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

Philipp Lergetporer

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

Ludger Woessmann

Ifo Institute for Economic Research; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

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Abstract

Patience and risk-taking – two cultural traits that steer intertemporal decision-making – are fundamental to human capital investment decisions. To understand how they contribute to international differences in student achievement, we combine PISA tests with the Global Preference Survey. We find that opposing effects of patience (positive) and risk-taking (negative) together account for two-thirds of the cross-country variation in student achievement. In an identification strategy addressing unobserved residence-country features, we find similar results when assigning migrant students their country-of-origin cultural traits in models with residence-country fixed effects. Associations of culture with family and school inputs suggest that both may act as channels.

Keywords: culture, patience, risk-taking, preferences, intertemporal decision-making, international student achievement, PISA

JEL Classification: I21, Z10

Suggested Citation

Hanushek, Eric A. and Kinne, Lavinia and Lergetporer, Philipp and Woessmann, Ludger, Culture and Student Achievement: The Intertwined Roles of Patience and Risk-Taking. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13453, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3648793

Eric A. Hanushek (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Lavinia Kinne

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

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Philipp Lergetporer

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

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Ludger Woessmann

Ifo Institute for Economic Research ( email )

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Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

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Germany

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