Assessing shared understanding of economic exchange among children and adults



Research into children's understanding of economic exchanges has been conducted within two major purviews. Psychologists and sociologists have examined children's understanding via age-related developmental theories, and economists have focused upon measures of economic literacy. Anthropologists and sociologists have included noneconomic factors in examining the economic-exchange practices of adults, but the role of such social or moral influences has not been examined within the context of children as consumers. With the use of this research foundation, the current research is one of the first reported attempts to include children and adults in the same study to determine if there is a shared understanding of economic exchanges. As such, the role of noneconomic factors as a part of the everyday economic-exchange behavior of children was also examined. Study findings suggest that past research has underestimated children's understanding of the economic world, as the current research found that children, ages 7–12 years, exhibited many of the same facets of intuitive economic understanding as adults from their own community group. The findings also suggested that the influence of noneconomic variables becomes greater as children grow into adulthood. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.