Becker Friedman Institute

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Good Things Come to Those Who (Are Taught How to) Wait: Results from a Randomized Educational Intervention on Time Preference

We report results from the impact evaluation of a randomized educational intervention targeted at elementary school children. The program uses case studies, stories and classroom activities to improve the ability to imagine future selves, and emphasizes forward-looking behavior. We find that treated students make more patient intertemporal choices in incentivized experimental tasks. The effect is stronger for students who are identified as present-biased in the baseline. Furthermore, using official administrative records, we find that treated children are significantly less likely to receive a low "behavioral grade". These results are persistent one year after the intervention, replicate well in a different sample, and are robust across different experimental elicitation methods.

Authors: 
Sule Alan, University of Essex
Seda Ertac, Koc University
Publication Date: 
February, 2015
HCEO Working Groups: 
Publication Status: 
Document Number: 
2015-003
File Description: 
First version, September, 2014