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Seminar: The development of economic preferences and human capital in childhood

Dr. Sven Resnjanskij and Philipp Lergetporer, Ph.D.

Organizational meeting: 9 February, 2017 9:00 Uhr
Block seminar: 21-22 June, 2017 9:30-18:30 Uhr

both will take place at the ifo Institute, Poschingerstr. 5, Oskar-Anderson-Raum


Childhood and adolescence are important stages of life: The foundation of human capital formation and later educational achievements are laid at an early stage in life. At the same time, many economically important traits, such as time preferences, risk preferences, and other-regarding preferences develop in childhood and adolescence. Therefore, childhood is a critical phase to determine (later) success in education and other life outcomes.

In this seminar, we provide an overview over the most recent economic literature on human capital formation and the development of economic preferences in childhood and adolescence. In particular, we will discuss two main questions:

  1. How do skills and economic preferences develop from birth to adolescence?
    In order to investigate this question, we will discuss studies which document the dynamics of skills and preferences early in life. In particular, we will focus on determinants such as parental background, social environment, genetic predisposition or peer groups in order to explain individual differences in skills and economic preferences. These heterogeneities in children and adolescents give rise to the second question investigated in this seminar.
  2. What is the relationship between skills and economic preferences in childhood and success later in life?
    To answer this question, we will analyze how early skills and preferences are related to later life outcomes such as educational attainment, labor market success, health or delinquent behavior. Furthermore, we discuss studies which uncover the causal mechanisms which underlie these relationships.

Prerequisites: Students will be confronted with econometric techniques used to identify causal effects. Therefore, interest in econometric topics is a prerequisite for attending the seminar.