nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2005‒06‒27
six papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Universita del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Economics: the next physical science? By J. Doyne Farmer; Martin Shubik; Eric Smith
  2. Externalities of social capital : the role of values, norms and networks By Butter, Frank A.G. den; Mosch, Robert H.J.
  3. Is more information always better? Experimental financial markets with asymmetric information By Jürgen Huber; Matthias Sutter; Michael Kirchler
  4. Creative Thinking and Modelling for the Decision Support in Water Management By Anna Lasut
  5. Identity and Self-Other Differentiation in Work and Giving Behaviors: Experimental Evidence By Avner Ben-Ner; Brian McCall; Massoud Stephane; Hua Wang
  6. Early Experiments in Consumer Demand Theory: 1930-1970 By Ivan Moscati

  1. By: J. Doyne Farmer; Martin Shubik (Cowles Foundation, Yale University); Eric Smith
    Abstract: We review an emerging body of work by physicists addressing questions of economic organization and function. We suggest that, beyond simply employing models familiar from physics to economic observables, remarkable regularities in economic data may suggest parts of social order that can usefully be incorporated into, and in turn can broaden, the conceptual structure of physics.
    Keywords: Economic theory, Physics, Econo-physics
    JEL: B49 C00 G00
    Date: 2005–06
  2. By: Butter, Frank A.G. den (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Economische Wetenschappen en Econometrie (Free University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics Sciences, Business Administration and Economitrics); Mosch, Robert H.J.
    Abstract: The economic perspective on values and norms shows that they may bring about externalities for the society as a whole. This possibility of market failure provides a good reason for the government to follow closely the developments in values and norms, and the resulting behaviour in communities and networks. It justifies the initiative of Prime Minister Balkenende to organise the debate on these matters in the Netherlands (and, under the Dutch EU-presidency, in Europe). Networks can be associated both with positive (Putnam type) and with negative (Olson type) externalities. This paper discusses the various influences of values, norms and networks on socio-economic welfare and provides empirical evidence on these relationships. The focus of our own empirical analysis is on the Netherlands. Trust as part of social capital, and the role that values, norms and networks play as co-ordination mechanism, form important aspects both in the theoretical and in the empirical analysis. It appears that there has been no obvious decrease in these aspects of social capital in the Netherlands. It contrasts the findings of Putnam for the US.
    Keywords: social capital; values and norms; trust; networks; market failure
    JEL: D62 D70 H19
    Date: 2004
  3. By: Jürgen Huber; Matthias Sutter; Michael Kirchler
    Abstract: We study the value of information in financial markets by asking whether having more information always leads to higher returns. We address this question in an experiment where single traders have different information levels about an asset's intrinsic value. In our treatments we vary the nature of the information and the trading mechanism. We find that only the very best informed traders (i.e. insiders) significantly outperform less informed traders. However, there is a wide range of information levels (from zero information to an average information level) where additional information does not yield higher returns. The latter result implies that the value of information is not strictly monotonic.
    Keywords: Asymmetric information, Experimental economics, Value of information
    JEL: C91 D82 D83 G1
    Date: 2004–12
  4. By: Anna Lasut (University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: This paper reviews the state of art in knowledge and preferences elicitation techniques. The purpose of the study was to evaluate various cognitive mapping techniques in order to conclude with the identification of the optimal technique for the NetSyMod methodology. Network Analysis – Creative System Modelling (NetSyMod) methodology has been designed for the improvement of decision support systems (DSS) with respect to the environmental problems. In the paper the difference is made between experts and stakeholders knowledge and preference elicitation methods. The suggested technique is very similar to the Nominal Group Techniques (NGT) with the external representation of the analysed problem by means of the Hodgson Hexagons. The evolving methodology is undergoing tests within several EU-funded projects such as: ITAES, IISIM, NostrumDSS.
    Keywords: Creative modelling, Cognitive mapping, Preference elicitation techniques, Decision support
    JEL: D70 D78 O21 Q0
    Date: 2005–06
  5. By: Avner Ben-Ner; Brian McCall; Massoud Stephane; Hua Wang
    Abstract: The asumption that behavior is independent of the identity of those who participate in an economic interaction is fundamental to economists’ understanding of how markets operate, how firms work internally, how nations trade with each other, and much else. In this paper, we show that the distinction between Self and Other, ‘us’ and ‘them,’ or in-group and out-group, affects significantly economic and social behavior. In a series of experiments with approximately 200 Midwestern students as our subjects, we found that they favor those who are similar to them on any of a wide range of categories of identity over those who are not like them. Whereas family and kinship are the most powerful source of identity in our sample, all 13 potential sources of identity in our experiments affect behavior. We explored individuals’ willingness to give money to imaginary people, using a dictator game setup with hypothetical money. Our experiments with hypothetical money generate essentially identical data to our experiments with actual money. We also investigated individuals’ willingness to share an office with, commute with, and work on a critical project critical to their advancement with individuals who are similar to themselves (Self) along a particular identity dimension than with individuals who are dissimilar (Other). In addition to family, our data point to other important sources of identity such as political views, religion, sports-team loyalty, and music preferences, followed by television-viewing habits, dress type preferences, birth order, body type, socio-economic status and gender, albeit statistically significant, sources of differentiation between Self and Other. The importance of the source of identity varies with the type of behavior under consideration.
  6. By: Ivan Moscati (Bocconi University - IEP)
    Abstract: This paper reconstructs the history of experimental research on consumer demand behavior between 1930 and 1970. The backgrounds of the experiments and their impact on the development of consumption theory are also investigated. Among other things, the paper shows that in fact many prominent economists of the period were involved in this stream of research.
    JEL: B21 B31 C91 D12
    Date: 2005–06–16

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