Job market paper
Parents make choices that shape children's preferences and long-term outcomes. This paper presents the first experimental study of how parents make choices for their children in the domain of competition. A representative sample of more than 1600 Norwegian parents and adolescent children took part in an experiment where parents choose if their child is to perform a task for a competitive or a noncompetitive pay scheme. The paper establishes a number of novel facts on parents' choices for children. First, parents choose more competition for boys than for girls. However, the gender gap in parents' choices is smaller than the gender gap in children's own choices. Second, two main mechanisms explain the gender gap in parents' choices: their beliefs about children's preferences and paternalistic behavior. Third, parents are more responsive to the ability for boys than girls, which implies that many high-ability girls do not enter into competition. Fourth, parent gender matters: fathers are more likely to enter their child into competition than mothers. Finally, children are unaware of the gender bias in parents' choices and believe that parents will make the same choices for boys and girls. The set of findings shed new light on the role of parents in determining children's long-term outcomes and on the intergenerational transmission of preferences.
Work in progress
Development, Family Background, and Gender Differences in Preferences (with Edward Miguel, data collection started)
In this project we create a unique data set with 10,000 Kenyan parents and children, which combines experiments on parents and children, and a randomized intervention which substantially increased education and income levels 10 years later. We aim to contribute with new insights to three main fields of research: i) The relationship between socioeconomic status and gender difference in preferences. ii) The intergenerational transmission of preferences. iii) Parental decision making.
Parents' Choices and Children's Educational Outcomes
I combine experimental data on how parents make competitiveness choices for their children with high-quality administrative data on parent income and education, and children's education. Previous research finds that children's own competitiveness choices predict educational choices, and controlling for competitiveness mitigates gender differences in education choices (Buser et al., 2014) . This paper studies the role of parents' choices in predicting children's education choices.
Beliefs About Biases of Other People
This project explores the extent to which people are aware of biases and non-standard preferences of other people. I elicit beliefs for self and others for five established behavioral biases: loss aversion, overconfidence, naivete about present bias, projection bias and left-digit bias. Pilot results indicate that people are more sophisticated about biases of others than of themselves. In the second stage of the project I explore the extent to which knowledge of behavioral biases interacts with attitudes towards paternalism.