Like Parent, Like Child: Intergenerational Transmission of Other-Regarding Preferences


Lasha Lanchava and Peter Katuščák



Using experimental data on children’s and parents’ behavior in four binary choice games, which allows for classifying subjects into altruistic, egalitarian and spiteful types, this paper explores the intergenerational relationship of other-regarding preferences. The results show that there is strong positive and significant correlation between children’s and parents’ other- regarding preferences. The results also indicate that parents’ parochial preferences strongly influence children’s in-group favoritism and out-group hostility. Analyzing the impact of family structure on the strength of transmission process it was found that children in large families and those born later tend to be more dissimilar with parents, while child’s gender does not affect the strength of transmission. These findings provide a new perspective about where does other-regarding preferences come from. The findings also contribute to the literature of cultural transmission.

Keywords: other-regarding preferences, parochialism, intergenerational transmission, cultural traits, family economics.

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