ICES Occasional Brown Bag for June 23

Events, Seminars | June 20, 2014

Join us for an ICES Occasional Brown Bag Lecture, featuring Seda Ertac.

Professor Ertac, of Koc University, will discuss her paper (co-authored with Sule Alan) Patience and Self-Control in Children: Results from a Randomized Educational Intervention (abstract). The talk will take place on Monday, June 23rd, from 12:00PM to 1:00PM, in room 5075 of the Metropolitan Building, Arlington campus.

Coffee and dessert will be provided.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP with Stan Tsirulnikov.

Please visit the Brown Bag Schedule to learn more about the Brown Bag series.


As part of a large study that involves offering financial education to 3rd and 4th grade students (9-10 year-olds) in public elementary schools in Turkey, we study time preferences, self-control, and the demand for a commitment device. As part of the educational intervention, students receive in-class training on the benefits of forward-looking behavior and saving. The training is implemented using a randomized-controlled design. We then measure the causal impact of the training on students’ choices and attitudes via incentivized decision-making experiments. We also gather a large set of background variables using surveys on students, parents and teachers. In addition, we have access to the actual school outcomes of the children.

For impact evaluation, we use: (1) “multiple price list” and “convex time budget” tasks to elicit time preference, involving trade-offs between rewards to be received at different points in time, (2) a task that measures self-control and the demand for a commitment device with an actual consumption good, chocolate. We estimate a statistically significant average treatment effect of the training on time preferences. More specifically, students who received the training exhibit higher patience in incentivized tasks than those in the control group. We also find that there is a strong correlation between patience and the preference for commitment devices, where the more patient tend to opt for commitment devices. The elicited parameters also have strong relationships with actual school outcomes such as grades and behavioral conduct.

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