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Social preferences in childhood and adolescence. A large-scale experiment to estimate primary and secondary motivations

Journal article
Authors Matthias Sutter
F Feri
Martin G. Kocher
Peter Martinsson
Katarina Nordblom
Daniela Rutzler
Published in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Volume 146
Pages 16-30
ISSN 0167-2681
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Economics
Pages 16-30
Language en
Keywords Social preferences, Children, Adolescents, Age, Gender, Experiment.
Subject categories Economics


We elicit social preferences of 883 children and teenagers, aged eight to 17 years, in an experiment. Using an econometric mixture model we estimate a subject’s primary and secondary social preference motivations. The secondary motivation indicates the motivation that becomes relevant when the primary motivation implies indifference between various choices. For girls, particularly older ones, maximin-preferences are the most frequent primary motivation, while for boys efficiency concerns are most relevant. Examining secondary motivations reveals that girls are mostly social-welfare-oriented, with strong equity concerns. Boys are also oriented towards social welfare, but are more concerned with efficiency than with equity.

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