Maria Zumbuhl, Thomas Dohmen, Gerard Pfann

We study empirically whether there is scope for parents to shape the economic preferences and attitudes of their children through purposeful investments. We exploit information on the risk and trust attitudes of parents and their children, as well as rich information about parental efforts in the upbringing of their children from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study. Our results show that parents who invest more in the upbringing of their children are more similar to them with respect to risk and trust attitudes and thus transmit their own attitudes more strongly. The results are robust to including variables on the relationship between children and parents, family size, and the parents’ socioeconomic background.

JEL Codes
D80: Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty: General
J12: Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
J62: Job, Occupational, and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
Z13: Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
parental investments
risk preferences
intergenerational transmission
cultural economics
family economics
social interactions