We experimentally investigate the distribution of children’s time preferences along gender and racial lines. We find that boys are more impatient than girls and black children are no more impatient than white children. However, this pattern hides the fact that black boys have the highest discount rates of all groups. Most importantly, we show that impatience has a direct effect on behavior. An increase of one standard deviation in the discount rate increases the probability that a child has at least 3 disciplinary referrals by 5 percent. Time preferences might play a large role in setting appropriate incentives for children.
Castillo, Marco; Ferraro, Paul; Jordan, Jeff; and Petrie, Ragan, "The Today and Tomorrow of Kids" (2008). ExCEN Working Papers. 108.