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Raising charitable children: the effects of verbal socialization and role-modeling on children’s giving

Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm (), Ye Zhang (), David B. Estell and Neil H. Perdue
Additional contact information
Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Ye Zhang: IMPAQ International, LLC
David B. Estell: Indiana University
Neil H. Perdue: University of Indianapolis

Journal of Population Economics, 2017, vol. 30, issue 1, No 11, 189-224

Abstract: Abstract This paper uses nationally-representative data from the PSID and CDS to estimate the causal effects of two parent socialization actions—talking to children about giving and role-modeling—on children’s decisions whether or not to give to charity. We develop an identification framework based on the intra-household allocation and cultural transmission literatures that shows how different assumptions about parental response to time-varying unobserved changes in children’s prosocial values can be combined with the child fixed effects estimate and the difference between siblings’ over-time-differences estimate to infer a bound on the causal effect of parental action to socialize their children. Under the identifying assumption we think is most reasonable for socializing the willingness to give to charity, that parents treat the socialization actions of others as cultural substitutes, our estimates imply that talking to children about giving raises the probability of children’s giving by at least .13. We find no evidence that parental role-modeling affects children’s giving, except among non-African-American girls. The identification framework and substantive results have implications for those with a general interest in using data from naturalistic settings to estimate causal effects of parental socialization actions, those interested in the external validity of laboratory findings, and those interested in the socialization of warm glow.

Keywords: Fixed effects; Sibling models; Intra-household allocation; Cultural transmission; Warm glow; Philanthropy; Public goods (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J13 D64 C23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1007/s00148-016-0604-1

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