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Parental time preferences and educational choices: The role of children’s gender and of social origin

Daniela Bellani and Luis Ortiz-Gervasi

Rationality and Society, 2022, vol. 34, issue 1, 96-125

Abstract: This paper contributes to the literature on Relative Risk Aversion theory in two ways: first, by considering that the effect of time preferences may differ according to both children’s gender and social origin; second, by exploring this possibility for different educational outcomes: upper secondary school choices and university enrollment. We use data of the Survey of Household Income and Wealth, which contains questions specifically addressed to capture an individual’s time discounting preference, to further explore the association between time discounting preference and the effect of social origin on educational outcomes in Italy. In line with prior research, we find that time preferences only have a meaningful effect among children of lowly educated parents. But such an effect, in turn, differs by gender: parental time preferences matter more for sons than for daughters of lowly educated parents. This gender effect is found both for upper secondary choices and for entry into higher education.

Keywords: Educational decisions; gender; social stratification; time discounting preferences; relative risk aversion theory (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1177/10434631221074689

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