Self-Control: Determinants, Life Outcomes and Intergenerational Implications

Deborah Cobb-Clark, Sarah C Dahmann, Daniel A Kamhöfer, Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch

IZA Institute of Labor Economics | Published : 2019


This paper studies self-control in a nationally representative sample. Using the wellestablished Tangney scale to measure trait self-control, we find that people’s age as well as the political and economic institutions they are exposed to have an economically meaningful impact on their level of self-control. A higher degree of self-control is, in turn, associated with better health, educational and labor market outcomes as well as greater financial and overall well-being. Parents’ self-control is linked to reduced behavioral problems among their children. Importantly, we demonstrate that self-control is a key behavioral economic construct which adds significant explanatory power beyond other..

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