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Warm glow and the transmission of pro‐socialness across generations

Ngo Long

Journal of Public Economic Theory, 2020, vol. 22, issue 2, 371-387

Abstract: The transmission of pro‐socialness across generations is modeled using the warm‐glow approach. The parent generation seeks to cultivate pro‐social values in their children as this would improve their material well‐being when they grow up as cooperative adults. I show that communities endowed with more productive resources have a stronger incentive to teach their children social cooperation. Thus, there is a correlation between a village's level of material well‐being and villagers’ steady‐state level of pro‐socialness. When the cost of moral education is directly dependent on the parent generation's level of pro‐socialness, the multiplicity of steady states may emerge. If a community's initial level of pro‐socialness is high, the system will reach an interior steady state; in contrast, if this initial level is low, eventually the level of pro‐socialness will approach zero in the long run. Thus communities that start with similar initial levels of pro‐socialness may end up at drastically different steady states.

Date: 2020
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Journal of Public Economic Theory is currently edited by Rabah Amir, Gareth Myles and Myrna Wooders

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