nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2011‒12‒13
fourteen papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
University Amedeo Avogadro

  1. Does Easily Accessible Nutritional Labelling Increase Consumption of Healthy Meals away from Home? A Field Experiment Measuring the Impact of a Point-of-Purchase Healthy Symbol on Lunch Sales. By Thunström, Linda; Nordström, Jonas
  2. Raising your sights: the impact of friendship networks on educational aspirations By Simon Burgess; Marcela Umaña-Aponte
  3. Group Decision Making Under Risk: An Experiment with Student Couples By Haoran He; Peter Martinsson; Matthias Sutter
  4. Asymmetric perception of gains vs non-losses and losses vs non-gains: The causal role of regulatory focus By Simona Sacchi; Luca Stanca
  5. Complexity of Networking - An Experimental Study of the Network Hawk Dove Game By Siegfried Berninghaus; Stephan Schosser; Bodo Vogt
  6. Neighborhood Perceptions, Self-rated Health, and Personality Traits: Evidence from Japan By Oshio, Takashi; Urakawa, Kunio
  7. Can Money Change Who We Are? Estimating the Effects of Unearned Income on Measures of Incentive-Enhancing Personality Traits By Powdthavee, Nattavudh; Boyce, Christopher J.; Wood, Alex M.
  8. Imperfect public monitoring with costly punishment - An experimental study By Attila Ambrus; Ben Greiner
  9. Damaging the perfect image of athletes: How sport promotes envy By Jérémy CELSE
  10. The Effect of Religion on Cooperation and Altruistic Punishment: Experimental Evidence from Public Goods Experiments By Akay, Alpaslan; Karabulut, Gökhan; Martinsson, Peter
  11. Do People Keep Socially Unverifiable Promises? By Cary Deck; Maroš Servátka; Steven Tucker
  12. "One Muslim is Enough!" - Evidence from a Field Experiment in France By Adida, Claire L.; Laitin, David D.; Valfort, Marie-Anne
  14. The Effect of Religiosity and Religious Festivals on Positional Concerns: An Experimental Investigation of Ramadan By Akay, Alpaslan; Karabulut, Gökhan; Martinsson, Peter

  1. By: Thunström, Linda (HUI Research AB); Nordström, Jonas (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the effect on meal consumption away from home of a point-of-purchase healthy symbol. We base the analysis on a field experiment in a lunch restaurant. Our results suggest that meal consumption does not increase if the meal is labeled with a healthy symbol. Also, the mean nutritional content of meals consumed seems unaffected by the introduction of a healthy labeled meal on the menu. Even if easily accessible and understood, menu labeling therefore seems inefficient in promoting healthier meal choices. Factors influencing meal consumption are meal ingredients and the order of the meal on the menu.
    Keywords: Consumer economics; food labelling; experiment; health
    JEL: D12 I10
    Date: 2011–11–07
  2. By: Simon Burgess; Marcela Umaña-Aponte
    Abstract: We use a unique longitudinal dataset on an adolescent friendship network to evaluate variations on educational aspirations of young people from disadvantaged and middle income backgrounds. We evaluate whether such people who have friends from wealthier backgrounds have higher aspirations than otherwise similar young people without such links. The results suggest that there are such effects. Individuals from low income families with friends from high income families are 15.2% more likely to expect to stay in full time education after they finish compulsory school. We find similar effects for the educational aspirations and expectations of middle income children. These effects are quantitatively and statistically significant, and robust to the inclusion of a wide range of control variables. We also show that friend’s mother’s aspirations matter too. Having friends whose mothers hope they will go to university increases the wish to carry on full time education by 30% points. This is conditional on the young person’s own mother’s aspirations for her/him.
    Keywords: Networks, Friendships, Aspirations, Adolescents, Income, Education.
    JEL: L14 C33 I24 Z13 I3
    Date: 2011–09
  3. By: Haoran He; Peter Martinsson; Matthias Sutter
    Abstract: In an experiment, we study risk-taking of cohabitating student couples, finding that couples’ decisions are closer to risk-neutrality than single partners’ decisions. This finding is similar to earlier experiments with randomly assigned groups, corroborating external validity of earlier results.
    Keywords: Risk experiment, Student couples, Group decision making
    JEL: C91 C92
    Date: 2011–12
  4. By: Simona Sacchi; Luca Stanca
    Abstract: Recent studies show that, while losses loom larger than equivalent non-gains, gains loom larger than equivalent non-losses. This finding, at odds with the loss aversion principle, has been interpreted within the framework of regulatory focus theory. In this study, we explore the causal effect of regulatory focus on the asymmetric perception of gains vs non-losses and losses vs non-gains. We examine the perceived effects of both hypothetical and actual changes in monetary wealth, while orthogonally manipulating framing, valence, and regulatory focus. We find a significant interaction between the three factors. The gain vs non-loss asymmetry in perceived satisfaction is stronger in promotion focus, while the loss vs non-gain asymmetry in perceived dissatisfaction is stronger in prevention focus. The results suggest that the effects of incentives framed in terms of (non)gains and (non)losses, depend on their congruence with the individual’s motivational state.
    Keywords: Loss-gain asymmetry, regulatory focus, prospect theory, subjective value
    JEL: C91 D81
    Date: 2011–11
  5. By: Siegfried Berninghaus (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology); Stephan Schosser (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology); Bodo Vogt (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)
    Abstract: Complexity of strategies is central for human decision making and attracted interest of different game theorists in the recent years. Nevertheless, behavioral economists have neglected the importance of complexity in their analyses. In this paper, we analyze network formation and action selection in a Hawk Dove Game with focus on complexity aspects. We conduct experiments with three variants of the game which are equivalent from a game theoretic perspective, but differ from a complexity theoretic perspective. Our results show, that complexity of decision making has an impact on the strategies played and that efficiency is higher the less complex the decision problem is.
    Date: 2011–11
  6. By: Oshio, Takashi; Urakawa, Kunio
    Abstract: Although earlier studies have demonstrated an association between perceived neighborhood characteristics and self-rated health, these studies did not control for the psychological characteristics of participants, an important consideration when using self-reported data. In this study, we examined how self-rated health is associated with perceived neighborhood characteristics after controlling for personality traits as well as other individual- and area-level covariates. We employed multilevel analysis using microdata collected from a nationwide Internet survey in Japan in 2011 (N = 8,139). When controlling for personality traits, we observed that the odds for reporting poor health in response to negative neighborhood assessments declined but remained highly significant. We obtained similar results when additionally controlling for sense of coherence (SOC) or replacing personality traits with it. We also found no effect of personality traits or SOC on the sensitivity of self-rated health with negative neighborhood assessments.
    Keywords: Neighborhood perceptions, self-rated health, personality traits, sense of coherence
    Date: 2011–11
  7. By: Powdthavee, Nattavudh (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore); Boyce, Christopher J. (University of Manchester); Wood, Alex M. (University of Manchester)
    Abstract: The importance of noncognitive childhood skills in predicting higher wages is well documented in economics. This paper studies the reverse. Using surveys of lottery winners, we analyze the effects of unearned income on the Big Five personality traits. After correcting for potential endogeneity problems from prize sizes, we find that unearned income improves traits that predict pro-social and cooperative behaviors, preferences for social contact, empathy, and gregariousness, and reduces individuals' tendency toward negative emotional states: known in economics literature as incentive-enhancing personality traits. Our results support the possibility of scope for later interventions to improve the personality traits of adults.
    Keywords: noncognitive skills, personality traits, lottery winners, instrumental variables, unearned income
    JEL: D3 J24
    Date: 2011–11
  8. By: Attila Ambrus (Department of Economics, Harvard University); Ben Greiner (School of Economics, The University of New South Wales)
    Abstract: This paper experimentally investigates the effects of a costly punishment option on cooperation and social welfare in long finitely repeated public good contribution games. In a perfect monitoring environment increasing the severity of the potential punishment monotonically increases both contributions and the average net payoffs of subjects. In a more realistic imperfect monitoring environment, we find a U-shaped relationship between the severity of punishment and average net payoffs. Access to a standard punishment technology in this setting significantly decreases net payoffs, even in the long run. Access to a very severe punishment technology leads to roughly the same payoffs as with no punishment option, as the benefits of increased cooperation offset the social costs of punishing.
    Keywords: public good contribution experiments; imperfect monitoring; welfare implications of costly punishment
    JEL: C72 C92 H41
    Date: 2011–08
  9. By: Jérémy CELSE
    Abstract: We explore the behavioural and affective differences between subjects practicing sport activities and subjects not practicing sport. Are athletes more distressed by unfavourable social comparisons and more prone to engage in hostile behaviour than non-athletes? Using experimental methods, we investigate the connection between sport practice and antisocial behaviour. In our experiment we capture the satisfaction subjects derive from unflattering social comparisons by asking them to evaluate their satisfaction after being informed of their own endowment and after being informed of their opponent’s endowment. Then subjects can decide to reduce their opponent’s endowment by incurring a cost. We observe that sport plays a key role on both individual well-being and behaviour: 1) sport practice amplifies the negative impact of unfavourable social comparisons on individual well-being and 2) sport practice exerts subjects to reduce others’ income. Besides the satisfaction sporty subjects report from social comparisons predicts their decisions to reduce others’ income. Finally we provide empirical evidences suggesting that envy affects significantly athletes’ satisfaction and behaviour.
    Date: 2011–06
  10. By: Akay, Alpaslan (IZA); Karabulut, Gökhan (Istanbul University); Martinsson, Peter (University of Gothenburg)
    Abstract: This paper experimentally examines how religious festivals and the degree of religiosity affect cooperation and altruistic punishment by using public goods experiments. We conducted the experiments in Turkey at different points in time; one on the most religious day during Ramadan (the Night of Power – Laylat al-Qadr) and the other at a time without any religious festivals other than the normal daily prayers. The overall results show no differences in cooperation or altruistic punishment among individuals during Ramadan, even when the degree of their religiosity varied. However, less religious people did change their cooperative behaviour in response to religious festivals. Most of the differences can, however, be explained by differences in beliefs about others contributions. By and large, this indicates the importance of conditional cooperation.
    Keywords: cooperation, experiment, public goods, punishment, religion
    JEL: C72 C91 H41
    Date: 2011–11
  11. By: Cary Deck; Maroš Servátka (University of Canterbury); Steven Tucker (University of Canterbury)
    Abstract: Previous research has suggested that communication and especially promises increase cooperation in laboratory experiments. This has been taken as evidence for internal motivations such as guilt aversion or preference for promise keeping. The original goal of this paper was to examine promises under a double blind payoff procedure to test the alternative explanation that promise keeping was due to external influence and reputational concerns. We find no evidence that communication increases the overall level of cooperation in our double blind experiment. However, our results are due in part to the high level of cooperation that we observe, leading us to conduct additional single blind conditions. Ultimately, we find no evidence that communication or payoff procedures impact aggregate cooperation.
    Keywords: Anonymity; experiment; promises; partnership; guilt aversion; psychological game theory; trust; lies; social distance; behavioral economics; hidden action
    JEL: C70 C91
    Date: 2011–12–01
  12. By: Adida, Claire L. (University of California, San Diego); Laitin, David D. (Stanford University); Valfort, Marie-Anne (University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: Anti-Muslim prejudice is widespread in Western countries. Yet, Muslims are expected to constitute a growing share of the total population in Western countries over the next decades. This paper predicts that this demographic trend will increase anti-Muslim prejudice. Relying on experimental games and a formal model, we show that the generosity of rooted French toward Muslims is significantly decreased with the increase of Muslims in their midst, and demonstrate that these results are driven by the activation of rooted French taste-based discrimination against Muslims when Muslim numbers increase. Our findings call for solutions to anti-Muslim prejudice in the West.
    Keywords: discrimination, Islam, France, group salience, experimental economics, economic theory, group threat theory, intergroup contact theory
    JEL: A12 C90 D03 J15 J71 Z12
    Date: 2011–11
  13. By: Antoine BERETTI; Charles FIGUIERES; Gilles GROLLEAU
    Abstract: Economists recognize that monetary incentives can backfire through the crowding-out of moral and social motivations leading to an overall decrease of the desired behavior. We implement a field experiment where participants are asked to fill a questionnaire on pro-environmental behaviors under different incentive schemes, either with no monetary incentive (control) or with low or high monetary incentive directed either to the respondents or to an environmental cause. We investigate whether (i) there is a significant crowding-out effect, (ii) directing monetary incentive to the cause rather than to the respondents reduces the overall impact of a crowding-out effect, and (iii) offering the choice regarding the money recipient aects participation. Except for a high monetary incentive where the respondent chooses himself the end-recipient, we show that monetary rewards directed either at the individual or at the cause actually harms intrinsic motivations, but not to the same extent. We formalize our results building on an adaptation of an original model by Bolle and Otto (2010) and introduce agents heterogeneity in terms of intrinsic motivation. This heterogeneity has key implications for the understanding of the crowding-out eect. Several policy recommendations regarding the use of market-based instruments are drawn.
    Date: 2011–06
  14. By: Akay, Alpaslan (IZA); Karabulut, Gökhan (Istanbul University); Martinsson, Peter (University of Gothenburg)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect of religion on positional concerns using survey experiments. We focus on two of the dimensions of religion – degree of religiosity and religious festivals. By conducting the experiments during both the most important day of Ramadan (the Night of Power) and a day outside Ramadan, we find that Ramadan overall has a small and negative impact on positional concerns. Detailed analyses based on the sorting of individuals' degree of religiosity reveal that the decrease in the degree of positional concerns during Ramadan is mainly explained by a decrease in positionality among individuals with a low degree of religiosity. We also discuss the broader welfare implications of our findings.
    Keywords: religion, positional concerns, Ramadan, Islam
    JEL: C90 D63
    Date: 2011–11

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