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Are Smarter People Better Samaritans? Effect of Cognitive Abilities on Pro-Social Behaviors

Luis Aranda () and Martin Siyaranamual ()
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Luis Aranda: Advanced School of Economics, University Ca' Foscari of Venice

No 201405, Working Papers in Economics and Development Studies (WoPEDS) from Department of Economics, Padjadjaran University

Abstract: This study investigates how cognitive abilities and civic engagement of older Europeans (aged 50+), using waves two and three of the SHARE dataset. An instrumental variable approach is employed in an at-tempt to disentangle possible endogeneity issues arising between cognition and pro-social behaviors. In so doing, cognitive abilities are instrumented with the number of books in the respondent's place of residence during childhood. The results advocate for the existence of a causal relationship running from cognition in old age to community engagement. Though contradicting standard theoretical predictions, this empirical finding is in line with mainline experimental results showing how participants with higher cognitive abilities tend to be less risk averse, and thus more willing to opt for a payoff-dominant action in a stag hunt game context more often.

Keywords: Cognitive ability; civic engagement; instrumental variables; risk aversion; we-rationality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D03 D64 D71 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age, nep-cbe, nep-neu and nep-soc
Date: 2014-05, Revised 2014-05
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http://ceds.feb.unpad.ac.id/wopeds/201405.pdf First version, 2014 (application/pdf)

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:unp:wpaper:201405

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