nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2013‒11‒14
eight papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
University Amedeo Avogadro

  1. Gender Differences in Risk Aversion: Do Single-Sex Environments Affect their Development? By Alison L. Booth; Lina Cardona-Sosa; Patrick Nolen
  2. Bad boys: the effect of criminal identity on dishonesty By Alain Cohn; Michel André Maréchal; Thomas Noll
  3. Over-Confidence and Entrepreneurial Choice Under Ambiguity By Shyti , Anisa
  4. Kitchen Confidential? Norms for the Use of Transferred Knowledge in Gourmet Cuisine By Di Stefano , Giada; King , Andrew A.; Verona , Gianmario
  5. Time preferences and lifetime outcomes By Golsteyn B.H.H.; Lindahl L.; Grönqvist H.
  6. Lack of material resources causes harsher moral judgments By Marko Pitesa; Stefan Thau
  7. Learning to walk before you run: Financial Behavior and mobile banking in Madagascar By Florence Arestoff; Baptiste Venet
  8. Which teaching practices improve student performance on high-stakes exams? Evidence from Russia By Andrey Zakharov; Martin Carnoy; Prashant Loyalka

  1. By: Alison L. Booth; Lina Cardona-Sosa; Patrick Nolen
    Abstract: Single-sex classes within coeducational environments are likely to modify students' risk-taking attitudes in economically important ways. To test this, we designed a controlled experiment using first year college students who made choices over real-stakes lotteries at two distinct dates. Students were randomly assigned to weekly classes of three types: all female, all male, and coeducational. They were not allowed to change group subsequently. We found that women are less likely to make risky choices than men at both dates. However, after eight weeks in a single-sex class environment, women were significantly more likely to choose the lottery than their counterparts in coeducational groups. These results are robust to the inclusion of controls for IQ and for personality type, as well as to a number of sensitivity tests. Our findings suggest that observed gender differences in behavior under uncertainty found in previous studies might partly reflect social learning rather than inherent gender traits.
    Keywords: Gender, risk preferences, single-sex groups, cognitive ability. Classification JEL: C9, C91, C92, J16, D01, D80, J16, J24
    Date: 2013–10
  2. By: Alain Cohn; Michel André Maréchal; Thomas Noll
    Abstract: We conducted an experiment with 182 inmates from a maximum-security prison to analyze the impact of criminal identity on dishonest behavior. We randomly primed half of the prisoners to increase the mental saliency of their criminal identity, while treating the others as the control group. The results demonstrate that prisoners become more dishonest when we render their criminal identity more salient in their minds. An additional placebo experiment with regular citizens shows that the effect is specific to individuals with a criminal identity. Moreover, our experimental measure of dishonesty correlates with inmates’ offenses against in-prison regulation. Altogether, these findings suggest that criminal identity plays a crucial role in rule violating behavior.
    Keywords: Dishonesty, identity, crime, prison, experiment
    JEL: K00 C93 K14 K42 Z10
    Date: 2013–10
  3. By: Shyti , Anisa
    Abstract: Entrepreneurship studies have attributed to over-confidence decisions to start a new venture. Many decision situations, through which over-confidence is measured, entail some degrees of uncertainty, (e.g., related to own skill or to competition). The aspect of uncertainty is largely neglected in over-confidence studies or entrepreneurial research. Both uncertainty and over-confidence influence individuals’ likelihood perceptions. Nevertheless, these two aspects are seldom jointly investigated, and the little evidence provides inconclusive results. In this study, we experimentally investigate how uncertainty, as a property of the situation, and over-confidence, as a characteristic of decision makers’ beliefs, influence choice behavior. Our findings with Executive MBA participants show that over-confident decision makers choose less uncertain options for low likelihood outcomes and more uncertain options for high likelihood outcomes, contrary to neutral confidence decision makers, whose choices are in line with standard Prospect Theory predictions
    Keywords: entrepreneurship; ambiguity attitudes; decision making; over-con fidence
    JEL: D80 D81 L26
    Date: 2013–05–21
  4. By: Di Stefano , Giada; King , Andrew A.; Verona , Gianmario
    Abstract: When will knowledge holders share their knowledge with peers? Several studies suggest that norms of knowledge disclosure encourage knowledge transfer. More recently, scholars have hypothesized that norms of knowledge use may indirectly promote it. In this article, we synthesize a theoretical framework of the effect of norms of knowledge use and test its predictions by means of a field experiment involving more than 500 Italian chefs. For the literature on knowledge transfer, we confirm the importance of norms, but we also show that they are not complete substitutes for other means of protecting private knowledge. For the literature on social norms, we provide evidence of how actors assess others’ propensity to conform and how this influences the intention to participate in the norm-regulated exchange.
    Keywords: Social norms; knowledge transfer; institutional theory; thick rationality; intellectual property
    JEL: L00 Z00
    Date: 2013–08–07
  5. By: Golsteyn B.H.H.; Lindahl L.; Grönqvist H. (ROA)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between time preferences and lifetime social and economic behavior. We use a Swedish longitudinal dataset that links information from a large survey on childrens time preferences at age 13 to administrative registers spanning over four decades. Our results indicate a substantial adverse relationship between high discount rates and school performance, health, labor supply, and lifetime income. Males and high ability children gain significantly more from being future-oriented. These discrepancies are largest regarding outcomes later in life. We also show that the relationship between time preferences and long-run outcomes operates through early human capital investments.
    Keywords: Behavioral Economics: Underlying Principles; Intertemporal Consumer Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving; Labor Economics: General;
    JEL: D03 D91 J01
    Date: 2013
  6. By: Marko Pitesa (MC - Management et Comportement - Grenoble École de Management (GEM)); Stefan Thau (INSEAD - INSEAD)
    Abstract: This research tested the idea that lack of material resources (e.g., low income) causes people to make harsher moral judgments because lack of material resources is associated with a lower ability to cope with the effects of others' harmful behavior. Consistent with this idea, a large cross-cultural survey (Study 1) found that both chronic (low income) and situational (inflation) lack of material resources were associated with harsher moral judgments. The effect of inflation was stronger for low-income individuals, whom inflation renders relatively more vulnerable. A follow-up experiment (Study 2) caused participants to perceive they lacked material resources by employing different anchors on the scale they used to report their income. The manipulation led to harsher judgments of harmful, but not of non-harmful, transgressions and this effect was explained by a sense of vulnerability. Alternative explanations were excluded. These results demonstrate a functional and contextually situated nature of moral psychology.
    Keywords: moral judgments, material resources, income, moral transgressions, moral psychology
    Date: 2013–10–25
  7. By: Florence Arestoff (PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine, LEDa, UMR DIAL); Baptiste Venet (PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine, LEDa, UMR DIAL)
    Abstract: (english) In Madagascar, Orange introduced its mobile banking services in September 2010. Mobile-banking (m-banking) is a system that allows users to conduct a number of financial transactions through a mobile phone. The existing body of literature suggests that the use of m-banking services may have a positive impact on individual savings, affect money transfer behavior and/or encourage financial inclusion. In 2012, we conducted a survey of 598 randomly selected Orange clients in Antananarivo. We use the matching methodology to assess the impacts of m-banking on clients' financial behavior. The results show that the use of m-banking services increases the number of national remittances sent and received. It is in line with the conclusions of the existing literature devoted to M-Pesa in Kenya. Yet we find that using of m-banking services has no significant impact on the sums saved by users or the sums of remittances sent and received, which appears to contradict the users' perceptions. This result may, however, be explained by a learning-by-doing process: users need to first learn to trust the e-money system before making any significant changes to their financial behavior. _________________________________ (français) En septembre 2010, l’opérateur Orange a introduit les services de banque mobile appelés Orange Money à Madagascar. Ils permettent d’effectuer des opérations de dépôt et de retrait d’argent, de transferts nationaux et de paiements de marchandises. Selon la littérature existante, l’utilisation de ces services engendrerait une augmentation de l’épargne individuelle, pourrait modifier les comportements de transferts et/ou favoriser la bancarisation des plus pauvres. Afin d’analyser les conséquences du m-banking sur les comportements financiers des populations concernées à Madagascar, nous procédons à une étude d’impact reposant sur des données originales. En mars 2012, nous avons réalisé une enquête auprès de 196 clients Orange utilisateurs réguliers des services Orange money et 402 clients Orange non utilisateurs de ces services. Afin de comparer rigoureusement les comportements financiers de ces deux groupes, nous apparions les individus sur la base de leurs scores de propension respectifs. Nos résultats montrent alors que l’utilisation des services Orange Money conduit à accroître significativement la fréquence des transferts envoyés et reçus. Ce résultat est corroboré par l’approche subjective puisque 55% des utilisateurs Orange Money déclarent que ce service les a encouragés à effectuer des transferts plus fréquemment. En revanche, nous montrons qu’Orange Money n’a d’impact significatif ni sur les montants épargnés ni sur les montants transférés (à l’envoi comme à la réception), ce qui tend à contredire le sentiment des utilisateurs. La temporalité des effets des services de m-banking apparaît alors. Les modifications de montants transférés et épargnés s’inscrivent probablement davantage dans la durée alors que la fréquence des transferts serait plus rapidement affectée eu égard au moindre coût et à la facilité d’utilisation d’Orange Money.
    Keywords: Mobile banking, Financial behavior, Low Income countries, Matching methodology, Banque mobile, Matching, Comportements financiers, Pays en développement.
    JEL: G2 G21 O16
    Date: 2013–09
  8. By: Andrey Zakharov (National Research University Higher School of Economics. International Laboratory for Educational Policy Research. Deputy Head.); Martin Carnoy (Stanford University. Vida Jacks Professor of Education.); Prashant Loyalka (Stanford University. Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Center Research Fellow.)
    Abstract: This study examines the relationship between teaching practices aimed at raising student performance on a high stakes college entrance examination—the Russian Unified State Exam (USE) — and student performance on that test. The study uses data from a school/classroom survey of almost 3,000 students conducted in 2010 in three Russian regions. The analysis employs a student fixed effects method that estimates the impact of teaching practices used by students’ mathematics and Russian language teachers on students’ exam results. To test for possible heterogeneous effects of practices in different academic tracks, the study estimates the practices’ effect on USE scores for students in advanced and basic level tracks. The study finds that the only strategy with positive effects on test outcomes is greater amounts of subject-specific homework geared to different types of test items, and that the most effective type of homework differs across tracks
    Keywords: teaching practices, curriculum, student achievement, selection bias, student fixed effect, high-stakes examinations
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2013

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