nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2018‒01‒22
seven papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Gamification: what it is, and how to fight it By Woodcock, Jamie; Johnson, Mark R.
  2. Experiment-inspired comments on John Roemer's theory of cooperation By Antoni Bosch-Domènech; Joaquin Silvestre
  3. "Trust and Cooperation at a Confluence of Worlds: An Experiment in Xinjiang, China" By Zhe Zhang; Louis Putterman; Xu Zhang
  4. Peer effects and risk-taking among entrepreneurs: Lab-in-the-field evidence By Maria Adelaida Lopera; Steeve Marchand
  5. Cultural Identities and Resolution of Social Dilemmas By James C. Cox; Vjollca Sadiraj; Urmimala Sen
  6. Focusing and framing of risky alternatives By Dertwinkel-Kalt, Markus; Wenzel, Tobias
  7. Testosterone, personality traits and tax evasion By Marcelo Arbex; Justin M. Carre; Shawn N. Geniole; Enlinson Mattos

  1. By: Woodcock, Jamie; Johnson, Mark R.
    Abstract: ‘Gamification’ is understood as the application of game systems – competition, rewards, quantifying player/user behaviour – into non-game domains, such as work, productivity and fitness. Such practices are deeply problematic as they represent the capture of ‘play’ in the pursuit of neoliberal rationalization and the managerial optimization of working life and labour. However, applying games and play to social life is also central to the Situationist International, as a form of resistance against the regularity and standardization of everyday behaviour. In this article, the authors distinguish between two types of gamification: first, ‘gamification-from-above’, involving the optimization and rationalizing of work practices by management; and second, ‘gamification-from-below’, a form of active resistance against control at work. Drawing on Autonomism and Situationism, the authors argue that it is possible to transform non-games into games as resistance, rather than transferring game elements out of playful contexts and into managerial ones. Since the original ‘gamification’ term is now lost, the authors develop the alternative conception as a practice that supports workers, rather than one used to adapt behaviour to capital. The article concludes with a renewed call for this ‘gamification-from-below’, which is an ideal form of resistance against gamification-from-above and its capture of play in pursuit of work.
    Keywords: anti-work; labour; play; resistance; Situationist International
    JEL: J50
    Date: 2017–08–21
  2. By: Antoni Bosch-Domènech; Joaquin Silvestre
    Abstract: Motivated by Roemer’s Kantian equilibrium (John Roemer, 2010, 2015, In Press) we performed some experiments on cooperation in extremely simple treatments (Bosch-Domènech and Silvestre, 2017, and Appendix below). Here we comment on some lessons that we have learned from them, and offer some thoughts on Roemer’s theory of cooperation based on social situations that can be easily compared to those in our experiments.
    Date: 2017–12
  3. By: Zhe Zhang; Louis Putterman; Xu Zhang
    Abstract: We study trust and willingness to cooperate among and between Uyghur and Han college students in Xinjiang, China, where tensions exist between the two ethnic groups. We conduct an incentivized laboratory-style decision-making experiment in which within and between group interactions occur among identifiable participants without traceability of individual decisions. We find that members of each ethnicity show favoritism towards those of their own ethnicity in both trust and cooperation and that communication enhances inter- ethnic cooperation significantly. We also find that Uyghur and Han subjects behave differently in their willingness to cooperate relative to trust, although both trust and trustworthiness positively correlate with willingness to cooperate on the individual level.
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Maria Adelaida Lopera; Steeve Marchand
    Abstract: We study how social interactions influence entrepreneurs' attitudes toward risk. We conduct two risk-taking experiments within workshops organized for young Ugandan entrepreneurs. Between the two experiments, the entrepreneurs participate in a networking activity where they build relationships and discuss with each other. We collect detailed data on peer network formation and on participants' choices before and after the networking activity. Our design implicitly controls for homophily effects (i.e. the tendency of individuals to develop relationships with people who have similar characteristics). We find that risk aversion is affected by social conformity. Participants tend to become more (less) risk averse in the second experiment if the peers they discuss with are on average more (less) risk averse in the first experiment. This suggests that social interactions play a role in shaping risk preferences.
    Keywords: Preference, Risk aversion, Entrepreneur, Social norms
    JEL: D03 D81 M13 Z13
    Date: 2017
  5. By: James C. Cox; Vjollca Sadiraj; Urmimala Sen
    Abstract: An experiment is reported for payoff-equivalent public good and common pool games with high caste and low caste West Bengali villagers. Tests are reported for models of unconditional social preferences, models of reciprocity, and cultural identity. Results from the artefactual field experiment indicate that when information about caste is withheld no significant difference is observed in the efficiency of play between the villagers and student subjects at American universities in games with positive and negative externalities. In contrast, making the hereditary class structure salient induces different behavior among villagers. Providing caste information leads to: (i) the lowest level of efficiency when low caste first movers interact with a low caste second mover, and (ii) the highest level of efficiency when high caste first movers interact with a high caste second mover. Cross-caste play generates intermediate levels of efficiency.
    JEL: C93 C70 H41
    Date: 2017–12
  6. By: Dertwinkel-Kalt, Markus; Wenzel, Tobias
    Abstract: This paper develops a theory of focusing and framing in an intertemporal context with risky choices. We provide a selection criterion between existing theories of fo- cusing by allowing a decision maker to choose her frame such that her attention is either drawn to salient events associated with an option or to the expected utilities an option yields in different time periods. Our key assumption is that a decision maker can choose her frame in a self-serving manner. We predict that the selected frame induces overoptimistic actions in the sense that subjects underrate downside risk but overrate upside risk and accordingly reveal overoptimistic choices. Hence, our theory can explain phenomena such as excessive harmful consumption (smoking, unhealthy diet) and risky investments (entrepreneurship, lotteries, gambling) in one coherent framework. Notably, overoptimistic actions are not universal, but have plausible limits. We characterize under which situations overoptimistic actions are most likely to occur and under which circumstances choices should be rational or even pessimistic.
    Keywords: Focusing,Salience,Framing,Overoptimism
    JEL: D03 D11 D90
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Marcelo Arbex (Department of Economics, University of Windsor); Justin M. Carre (Psychology Department, Nipissing University); Shawn N. Geniole (Social Neuroendocrinology Lab, Psychology Department, Nipissing University); Enlinson Mattos (São Paulo School of Economics, Getulio Vargas Foundation)
    Abstract: High testosterone levels in men may inhibit tax evasion. From a laboratory experiment with 121 young men, we present suggestive evidence of a weakly significant (at 10%) treatment effect, controlling for individual characteristics, prenatal and pubertal testosterone exposure, personality traits, medication and drugs use. Putative markers of prenatal and pubertal testosterone exposure and some personality traits might predict the decision of evading taxes. Reinforced by permutation tests for the treatment variable, a lower prevalence of tax evasion in the treated group is in line with recent results that suggest testosterone may increase prosocial or less selfish behavior.
    Keywords: Tax Compliance; Testosterone; Personality Traits; Experiment.
    JEL: H26 K42 C91 D91
    Date: 2018–01

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