Friday, August 03, 2007

Public-mindedness (prosociality) is not an inherited trait

The 'Homo Economicus' assumption ... fails rather consistently in laboratory experiments. Notions of trust and public-minded-ness turn out to be much more common in human behaviour than they are in the theory. Economic outcomes such as growth, economic development, international trade, and labour market behaviour have been shown to depend upon such values. Recent advances in experimental economics are developing a set of results that should help economic theorists develop models that are better able to explain real-world economic behaviour in a variety of settings.

... [We] describe an experiment that tests whether public-minded-ness, or pro-sociality are transmitted from parents to children.

The experiment itself is interesting, so go read the VoxEU post by Marco Cipriani, Paola Giuliano and Olivier Jeanne.