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The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Experimental Evidence from Children's Intertemporal Choices

Matthias Sutter (), Silvia Angerer (), Daniela Glätzle-Rützler () and Philipp Lergetporer
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Silvia Angerer: IHS Carinthia

No 9383, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: According to Chen's (2013) linguistic-savings hypothesis, languages which grammatically separate the future and the present (like English or Italian) induce less future-oriented behavior than languages in which speakers can refer to the future by using present tense (like German). We complement Chen's approach with experimentally elicited time preference data from a bilingual city in Northern Italy. We find that German-speaking primary school children are about 46% more likely than Italian-speaking children to delay gratification in an intertemporal choice experiment. The difference remains significant in several robustness checks and when controlling for a broad range of factors, including risk attitudes, IQ or family background.

Keywords: intertemporal choice; language; experiment; children (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D03 D90 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 49 pages
Date: 2015-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe and nep-exp
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Published - published as 'Language group differences in time preferences: Evidence from primary school children in a bilingual city' in: European Economic Review, 2018, 106, 21-34.

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Working Paper: The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Experimental Evidence from Children's Intertemporal Choices (2015) Downloads
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