We use the last two waves of the Italian Time Use Survey to analyse the intergenerational transmission of reading habits. This can be explained by both cultural and educational transfers from parents to children and by imitative behaviour. Imitation is of particular interest, since it suggests the direct influence parents can have on a child's preference and habit formation, and opens the way for active policies promoting good parenting behaviour. We investigate the imitative behaviour of children using a household fixed-effects model, where we identify the impact of the parents' role by exploiting the different exposure of siblings to parents' example within the same household. We find robust evidence on the existence of an imitation effect: on the day of the survey children are more likely to read after seeing either the mother or the father reading.
Forthcoming in: Review of Economics of the Household
Published in 2017 in: Review of Economics of the Household, v. 15, 3, pp 965–993