March 2014

IZA DP No. 8020: Donations, Risk Attitudes and Time Preferences: A Study on Altruism in Primary School Children

published in: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2015, 115, 67-74

We study with a sample of 1,070 primary school children, aged seven to eleven years, how altruism in a donation experiment is related to children's risk attitudes and intertemporal choices. Examining such a relationship is motivated by theories of reciprocal altruism that provide a cornerstone to understand human social behavior. We find that higher risk tolerance and patience in intertemporal choice increase, in general, the level of donations, albeit the effects are non-linear. We confirm earlier results that altruism increases with age during childhood and that girls are more altruistic than boys. Having older brothers makes subjects less altruistic.