nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2018‒02‒05
eight papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Does Focality Depend on the Mode of Cognition? Experimental Evidence on Pure Coordination Games By Ennio Bilancini; Leonardo Boncinelli; Luigi Luini
  2. When Income Depends on Performance and Luck: The Effects of Culture and Information on Giving By Rey-Biel, Pedro; Sheremeta, Roman; Uler, Neslihan
  3. Deadlines, Procrastination, and Forgetting in Charitable Tasks: A Field Experiment By Knowles, Stephen; Servátka, Maroš; Sullivan, Trudy; Genç, Murat
  4. Do Children Cooperate Conditionally? Adapting the Strategy Method for First-Graders By Florian Hett; Mario Mechtel; Henning Müller; Felix Schmidt; Daniel Schunk; Valentin Wagner
  5. Financial Shocks and the Erosion of Interpersonal Trust: Evidence from Longitudinal Data By Jetter, Michael; Kristoffersen, Ingebjørg
  6. How far Reaches the Power of Personality? Personality Predictors of Terminal Decline in Well-Being By Swantje Mueller; Jenny Wagner; Gert G. Wagner; Nilam Ram; Denis Gerstorf
  7. Socioemotional Skills, Education, and Health-Related Outcomes of High-Ability Individuals By Savelyev, Peter A.; Tan, Kegon T.K.
  8. Predicting Psychology Attributes of a Social Network User By Khayrullin, Rustem M.; Makarov, Ilya; Zhukov, Leonid E.

  1. By: Ennio Bilancini; Leonardo Boncinelli; Luigi Luini
    Abstract: We conduct a laboratory experiment to study how the mode of reasoning affects pure coordination in problems with and without an exogenous anchor that can serve as a focal point. The mode of reasoning is manipulated in the lab by requiring subjects to decide quickly (time pressure treatment) and, alternatively, by requiring subjects to motivate their decisions in a few lines of text (motivation treatment). This is meant to induce, respectively, a fast and intuitive mode of reasoning as opposed to a slow and deliberative one. Experimental data suggest that: (i) subjects take to the lab preexisting focalities that may have a common cultural root; (ii) the anchor is strongly focal and crowds out pre-existing focalities; (iii) such crowding out only happens for deliberative subjects. As a result, the anchor has an ambiguous effect on the overall ability of subjects to coordinate, making its desirability heavily dependent on the likelihood that subjects follow a slow and deliberative mode of reasoning.
    Keywords: focal points, intuition, deliberation, time pressure, motivation
    JEL: C91 D01
    Date: 2017–01
  2. By: Rey-Biel, Pedro; Sheremeta, Roman; Uler, Neslihan
    Abstract: We study how giving depends on income and luck, and how culture and information about the determinants of others’ income affect this relationship. Our data come from an experiment conducted in two countries, the US and Spain – each of which have different beliefs about how income inequality arises. We find that when individuals are informed about the determinants of income, there are no cross-cultural differences in giving. When uninformed, however, Americans give less than the Spanish. This difference persists even after controlling for beliefs, personal characteristics, and values.
    Keywords: individual giving; information; culture; beliefs; laboratory experiment
    JEL: C91 D64 D83
    Date: 2018–01–15
  3. By: Knowles, Stephen; Servátka, Maroš; Sullivan, Trudy; Genç, Murat
    Abstract: We conduct a field experiment to test theoretical predictions regarding the effect of deadline length on task completion. We place our test in a charitable task setting in which participants are invited to complete an online survey, with a donation going to charity if they do so. Participants are given either one week, one month or no deadline by which to respond. Completions are lowest for the one month deadline and highest when no deadline is specified. Our results point out that a short deadline, and not specifying a deadline, signals urgency. By contrast, providing a longer (one month) deadline gives people permission to procrastinate, with people ultimately forgetting to complete the task.
    Keywords: charitable tasks; charitable giving; deadline; procrastination; forgetting; imperfect memory; inattention; field experiment
    JEL: C93 D64
    Date: 2017–12–05
  4. By: Florian Hett (Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main); Mario Mechtel (Leuphana University Lüneburg); Henning Müller (NHH Bergen); Felix Schmidt (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz); Daniel Schunk (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz); Valentin Wagner (Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics)
    Abstract: We develop a public goods game (PGG) to measure cooperation and conditional cooperation in young children. Our design addresses several obstacles in adapting simultaneous and sequential PGGs to children who are not yet able to read or write, do not possess advanced abilities to calculate payo s, and only have a very limited attention span at their disposal. It features the combination of haptic online explanation, fully standardized audiovisual instructions, computerized choices based on touchscreens, and a suitable incentive scheme. Applying our experimental protocol to a sample of German first-graders, we find that already 6-year-olds cooperate conditionally and that the relative frequency of di erent cooperation types matches the findings for adult subjects. We also find that neither survey items from teachers nor from parents predict unconditional or conditional cooperation behavior; this underlines the value of incentivized experimental protocols for measuring cooperation in children.
    Keywords: Conditional cooperation, strategy method, public goods game, revealed preferences, measurement, children, ingroup bias, group identity
    JEL: H41 C71 C91
    Date: 2018–01–31
  5. By: Jetter, Michael (University of Western Australia); Kristoffersen, Ingebjørg (University of Western Australia)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the effect of financial shocks on interpersonal trust levels, exploiting longitudinal survey data from 22,112 Australians. Using within-individual level variation, we find that trust does not change meaningfully following a positive financial shock (e.g., winning the lottery). However, trust falls sharply following a negative financial shock (e.g., bankruptcy). In terms of magnitude, this effect is approximately equivalent to the effect observed after one reports being the victim of physical violence or a property crime, but significantly larger than effects from a range of other individual-level shocks (e.g., being fired or getting divorced). We then explore a potential explanation of this finding related to locus of control, which relates to the extent to which people believe they are in control of their circumstances. Indeed, we find evidence consistent with this hypothesis as locus of control tends to change, and become less internal, following a negative financial shock. In turn, locus of control is closely associated with interpersonal trust levels.
    Keywords: financial shocks, trust levels, locus of control
    JEL: D90 E32 Z1
    Date: 2017–12
  6. By: Swantje Mueller; Jenny Wagner; Gert G. Wagner; Nilam Ram; Denis Gerstorf
    Abstract: Personality is a powerful predictor of central life outcomes, including subjective well-being. Yet, we still know little about how personality manifests in the very last years of life when well-being typically falls rapidly. Here, we investigate whether the Big Five personality traits buffer (or magnify) terminal decline in well-being beyond and in interaction with functioning in key physical and social domains. We applied growth models to up to 10-year longitudinal data from 629 now deceased participants in the nation-wide German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP; age at death: M = 76 years; SD = 11). Lower neuroticism and higher conscientiousness were each uniquely associated with higher late-life well-being one year prior to death. At the same time, participants low in neuroticism experienced steeper terminal well-being declines. Similarly, individuals high in agreeableness and women high in extraversion reported higher well-being far away from death, but experienced more severe terminal decline, such that personality-related differences in well-being were not discernible anymore at one year prior to death. Interaction effects further revealed that individuals suffering from disability benefit less from higher levels of conscientiousness, while openness to experience appeared particularly beneficial for the less educated. We conclude that in the context of often severe late-life health challenges that accompany the last years of life, adaptive personality-related differences continue to be evident and sizeable for some traits, but appear to diminish and even reverse in direction for other traits. We discuss possible underlying mechanisms and practical implications.
    Keywords: terminal decline, well-being, personality, late life, mortality
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Savelyev, Peter A. (College of William and Mary); Tan, Kegon T.K. (University of Rochester)
    Abstract: We use the high IQ Terman sample to estimate relationships between education, socioemotional skills, and health-related outcomes that include health behaviors, lifestyles, and health measures across the lifecycle. By both focusing on a high IQ sample and controlling for IQ in regression models, we mitigate ability bias due to cognitive skill. In addition, we control for detailed personality measures to account for socioemotional skills. We model skills using factor analysis to address measurement error and adopt a powerful stepdown procedure to account for multiple hypothesis testing. We find that among high IQ subjects, education is linked to better health-related outcomes, in contrast to previous evidence. Conscientiousness, Openness, Extraversion, and Neuroticism are linked to various health-related outcomes across the lifecycle. Furthermore, we find that accounting for a comprehensive set of skills, measurement error, and multiple hypothesis testing not only provides greater confidence in several established relationships but also generates novel results.
    Keywords: college education, Big Five personality taxonomy, health behavior, lifestyle, health
    JEL: I12 J24
    Date: 2017–12
  8. By: Khayrullin, Rustem M.; Makarov, Ilya; Zhukov, Leonid E.
    Abstract: Nowadays, the number of people using social network site increases every day. The social networking sites, such as Facebook or Twitter, are sources of human interaction, where users are allowed to create and share their activities, thoughts and place di erent information about themselves. However, most of this information remains unnoticed. In this work, we propose a machine learning approach to predict Big-Five personality using information from users accounts from the social network. The predictions can be used in di erent areas such as psychology, business, marketing.
    Keywords: Social Networks, Machine Learning, Psychology, Big Five Personality, Shwartz Human Values
    JEL: D71 Z13
    Date: 2017–09–17

This nep-cbe issue is ©2018 by Marco Novarese. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.