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The Interdisciplinary Science of Consumption$
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Stephanie D. Preston, Morten L. Kringelbach, and Brian Knutson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027670

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027670.001.0001

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The Development of Saving

The Development of Saving

(p.243) 13 The Development of Saving
The Interdisciplinary Science of Consumption

Webley Paul

The MIT Press

This chapter describes two strands of work on children’s saving: one focused on the individual and another on how one’s tendency to save is transmitted across generations. A number of experimental studies of children’s saving are described, using a variety of protocols (board games, play economy). These studies show that by age 6, children have learnt that saving, self-control, and patience are virtuous, but they do not like it very much nor do they save very well. Most 9-year olds and all 12-year olds show a functional understanding of saving. They knew what saving is for and they know how to do it, but they have also developed other strategies for dealing with their future consumption. Intergenerational transmission of economic orientation was also investigated using Dutch and British panel data, and a questionnaire study of grandparents, parents and adolescents. These studies showed stronger relationships between the saving and consumption dispositions of the mother and child than the father. Relationships between parenting styles and the children’s orientation to economic life were strong, whereas there were weak or no relationships between specific parenting practices and the children’s economic behaviour. The relevance of this work to a general approach to consumption is considered. The development of saving and consumption both involve (i) learning what is valued (ii) learning strategies, approaches and techniques establishing habits (iii) acquiring self-knowledge. The relevance of the societal context is discussed, such as a shift from a pseudo-morality of thrift to a sustainability ethic

Keywords:   Children’s saving, Self-control, Future consumption strategies, Intergenerational transmission of economic orientation

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