UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Egalitarianism in young children


Fehr, Ernst; Bernhard, Helen; Rockenbach, Bettina (2008). Egalitarianism in young children. Nature, 454(7208):1079-1083.

Abstract

Human social interaction is strongly shaped by other-regarding preferences. These preferences are key for a unique aspect of human sociality – large scale cooperation with genetic strangers – but little is known about their developmental roots. We show here that young children’s other-regarding preferences assume a particular form – inequality aversion – that develops strongly between the ages of 3 and 8. At age 3-4, the overwhelming majority of children behave selfishly, while the vast majority at age 7-8 prefers resource allocations that remove advantageous or disadvantageous inequality. Moreover, inequality aversion is strongly shaped by parochialism, a preference for favouring the members of one’s own social group. These results indicate that human egalitarianism and parochialism have deep developmental roots, and the simultaneous
emergence of altruistic sharing and parochialism during childhood is intriguing in view of recent evolutionary theories which predict that the same evolutionary process jointly drives both human altruism and parochialism.

Human social interaction is strongly shaped by other-regarding preferences. These preferences are key for a unique aspect of human sociality – large scale cooperation with genetic strangers – but little is known about their developmental roots. We show here that young children’s other-regarding preferences assume a particular form – inequality aversion – that develops strongly between the ages of 3 and 8. At age 3-4, the overwhelming majority of children behave selfishly, while the vast majority at age 7-8 prefers resource allocations that remove advantageous or disadvantageous inequality. Moreover, inequality aversion is strongly shaped by parochialism, a preference for favouring the members of one’s own social group. These results indicate that human egalitarianism and parochialism have deep developmental roots, and the simultaneous
emergence of altruistic sharing and parochialism during childhood is intriguing in view of recent evolutionary theories which predict that the same evolutionary process jointly drives both human altruism and parochialism.

Citations

307 citations in Web of Science®
324 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

260 downloads since deposited on 17 Nov 2008
39 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:28 August 2008
Deposited On:17 Nov 2008 16:07
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:28
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:0028-0836
Publisher DOI:10.1038/nature07155
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-3833

Download

[img]
Preview
Content: Accepted Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 1MB
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations