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The Effect of Early Education on Social Preferences

Alexander Cappelen, John List, Anya Samek and Bertil Tungodden

No 2017-002, Working Papers from Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group

Abstract: We present results from the first study to examine the causal impact of early childhood education on social preferences of children. We compare children who, at 3-4 years old, were randomized into either a full-time preschool, a parenting program with incentives, or to a control group. We returned to the same children when they reached 7-8 years old and conducted a series of incentivized experiments to elicit their social preferences. We find that early childhood education has a strong causal impact on social preferences several years after the intervention: attending preschool makes children more egalitarian in their fairness view and the parenting program enhances the importance children place on efficiency relative to fairness. Our findings highlight the importance of taking a broad perspective when designing and evaluating early childhood educational programs, and provide evidence of how differences in institutional exposure may contribute to explaining heterogeneity in social preferences in society.

Keywords: field experiment; social preferences; child experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 J23 J33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-edu, nep-exp and nep-neu
Note: MIP
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http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/cappel ... 6_EarlyEducation.pdf First version, 2017 (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: The Effect of Early Education on Social Preferences (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: The Effect of Early Education on Social Preferences (2016) Downloads
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