nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2018‒05‒14
twelve papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Undressed for Success? The Effects of Half-Naked Women on Economic Behavior By Bonnier, Evelina; Dreber, Anna; Hederos, Karin; Sandberg, Anna
  2. Decision Under Psychological Pressure: The Shooter's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick By Luc Arrondel; Richard Duhautois; Jean-François Laslier
  3. Motivated Memory in Dictator Games By Charlotte Saucet; Marie Villeval
  4. Promises Undone: How Committed Pledges Impact Donations to Charity By Toke R. Fosgaard; Adriaan (A.R.) Soetevent
  5. Gender differences in altruism on Mechanical Turk: Expectations and actual behaviour By Pablo Brañas-Garza; Valerio Capraro; Ericka Rascón Ramírez
  6. The Persistent Power of Promises By Florian Ederer; Frédéric Schneider
  7. Digit ratio (2D:4D) predicts pro-social behavior in economic games only for unsatisfied individuals By Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Espín, Antonio M.; Garcia, Teresa; Kovářík, Jaromír
  8. The development of risk aversion and prudence in Chinese children and adolescents By Heinrich, Timo; Shachat, Jason
  9. Fairness in Winner-Take-All Markets. By Bartling, Björn; Cappelen, Alexander W.; Ekström, Mathias; Sørensen, Erik Ø.; Tungodden, Bertil
  10. From the Lab to the Field: A Review of Tax Experiments By Mascagni, Giulia
  11. Ignoring Good Advice By Ronayne, David; Sgroi, Daniel
  12. Cognitive stress and learning Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) inventory management: An experimental investigation By Pan, Jinrui; Shachat, Jason; Wei, Sijia

  1. By: Bonnier, Evelina (Stockholm School of Economics); Dreber, Anna (Stockholm School of Economics); Hederos, Karin (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University); Sandberg, Anna (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: Images of half-naked women are in many societies ubiquitous in advertising and popular culture. Yet relatively little is known about the potential impacts of such images on economic decision making. In this paper, we examine how exposure to images of half-naked women affect risk taking, willingness to compete and math performance. We perform a lab experiment with a total of 648 participants of both genders, randomly exposing participants to advertising images including either women in bikini or underwear, fully dressed women, or no women. Exposure to images of half-naked women could potentially have effects on economic preferences and performance through channels such as arousal, cognitive load and stereotyping. Following a pre-registered pre-analysis plan, we find no treatment effects on any of the outcome measures for female participants. For male participants, we also find no effect on willingness to compete or math performance, but suggestive evidence that men take more risk after having been exposed to images of half-naked women compared to images including no women. We thus do not find any strong support for the hypothesis that exposure to images of half-naked women impact economic preferences, but given the suggestive evidence for risk taking future studies should explore this further.
    Keywords: Experiment; Gender; Economic decision making; Risk preferences; willingness to compete; Advertising
    Date: 2018–05–08
  2. By: Luc Arrondel (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Richard Duhautois (LIRSA - Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Recherche en Sciences de l'Action - CNAM - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers [CNAM], CEET - Centre d'études de l'emploi et du travail - CNAM - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers [CNAM] - M.E.N.E.S.R. - Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche - Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Santé); Jean-François Laslier (PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: The paper studies sequences of penalty kicks during football shout-outs in French cup competitions. We seek to analyze in detail the psychological effects to which the kicker responds: fear of winning, fear of losing, expected outcomes or how much is at stake. The main conclusion of our study is that the performance (the probability of scoring) is impacted negatively by both what is at stake (the impact of my scoring on the expected probability that my team eventually wins) and by the difficulty of the situation (the ex ante probability of my team eventually losing). We find no advantage for a team to take the first kick.
    Date: 2018–05
  3. By: Charlotte Saucet (UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2, GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Marie Villeval (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: The memory people have of their past actions is one of the main sources of information about themselves. To study whether people retrieve their memory self-servingly, we designed an experiment in which participants have first to play binary dictator games and, second, recall the amounts allocated to the receiver. We investigate whether dictators (i) exhibit poorer recalls, (ii) overestimate more often and (iii) to a larger extent the receiver's amount when they have chosen the selfish option. We find that introducing monetary incentives for memory accuracy increases the dictators' percentage of correct recalls only when they have chosen the altruistic option. The percentage of correct recalls of the dictators is lower when they have chosen the selfish option, showing that amnesia is more likely to affect selfish than altruistic dictators. However, dictators do not bias strategically the direction and magnitude of their recalls.
    Keywords: Motivated memory, selective recalls, self-image, dictator game, experiment
    Date: 2018–04–30
  4. By: Toke R. Fosgaard (University of Copenhagen); Adriaan (A.R.) Soetevent (University of Groningen; Tinbergen Institute, The Netherlands)
    Abstract: The declining use of cash in society urges charities to experiment with digital payment instruments in their off-line fund raising activities. Cash and card payments differ in that the latter do not require individuals to donate at the time of the ask, disconnecting the decision to give from the act of giving. Evidence shows that people who say they will give mostly do not follow through. Our theory shows that having people to formally state the intended amount may alleviate this problem. We report on a field experiment the results of which show that donors who have pledged an amount are indeed more likely to follow through. The firmer the pledge, the more closely the amount donated matches the amount that was pledged. 45% of all participants however refuses to pledge. This proves that donors value flexibility over commitment in intertemporal charitable giving.
    Keywords: Charitable fundraising; Field experiment; Image motivation
    JEL: C93 D64 D91 H41
    Date: 2018–05–04
  5. By: Pablo Brañas-Garza (Loyola Andalucia University); Valerio Capraro (Middlesex University); Ericka Rascón Ramírez (Middlesex University)
    Abstract: Whether or not there are gender differences in altruistic behavior in Dictator Game experiments has attracted considerable attention in recent years. Earlier studies found women to be more altruistic than men. However, this conclusion has been challenged by more recent accounts, which have argued that gender differences in altruistic behaviour may be a peculiarity of student samples and may not extend to random samples. Here we study gender differences in altruistic behavior and, additionally, in expectations of altruistic behaviour, in a sample of Amazon Mechanical Turk crowdworkers living in the US. In Study 1, we report a mega-analysis of more than 3,500 observations and we show that women are significantly more altruistic than men. In Study 2, we show that both women and men expect women to be more altruistic than men.
    Date: 2018–02
  6. By: Florian Ederer (Cowles Foundation, Yale University); Frédéric Schneider (Yale School of Management)
    Abstract: This paper investigates how the passage of time affects trust, trustworthiness, and cooperation. We use a hybrid lab and online experiment to provide the first evidence for the persistent power of communication. Even when 3 weeks pass between messages and actual choices, communication raises cooperation, trust, and trustworthiness by about 50 percent. Lags between the beginning of the interaction and the time to respond do not substantially alter trust or trustworthiness. Our results further suggest that the findings of the large experimental literature on trust that focuses on laboratory scenarios in which subjects are forced to choose their actions immediately after communicating, may translate to more ecologically valid settings in which individuals choose actions outside the lab and long after they initially made promises.
    Keywords: Trust, Promises, Persistence, Trustworthiness, Delay, Experiment
    JEL: A13 C91 D03 C72 D64 K12
    Date: 2018–04
  7. By: Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Espín, Antonio M.; Garcia, Teresa; Kovářík, Jaromír
    Abstract: Prenatal exposure to hormones, and to sex hormones in particular, exerts organizational effects on the brain and these have observable behavioral correlates in adult life. There are reasons to expect that social behaviors—which are fundamental for the evolutionary success of humans—might be related to biological factors such as prenatal sex hormone exposure. Nevertheless, the existing literature is inconclusive as to whether and how prenatal exposure to testosterone and estrogen, proxied by the second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D:4D), may predict non-selfish behavior. Here, we investigate this question using economic experiments with real monetary stakes and analyzing five different dimensions of social behavior in a comparatively large sample of Caucasian participants (n=560). For both males and females, our results show no robust association between right- or left-hand 2D:4D and generosity, bargaining, or trust-related behaviors. Since 2D:4D is thought to be a marker for status, we set-up and test the hypothesis that 2D:4D explains prosocial behavior only for people with low subjective wellbeing who are in need for status. Using two different measures of subjective wellbeing, we find considerable support for our hypothesis, especially among males. These results contribute to the debate regarding the context-dependent interpretation of the effect of prenatal hormone exposure on behavior by suggesting that important moderating factors may explain the differing results in the literature. In particular, we uncover the importance of accounting for the subjective nature of need for status, which has been largely overlooked in previous work.
    Keywords: Social Preferences, Economic Games, Digit Ratio, Life Satisfaction
    JEL: C91 D63 D64
    Date: 2018–04–10
  8. By: Heinrich, Timo; Shachat, Jason
    Abstract: This study experimentally evaluates the risk preferences of children and adolescents living in an urban Chinese environment. We use a simple binary choice task that tests risk aversion as well as prudence. This is the first test for prudence in children and adolescents. Our results reveal that subjects from grades 5 to 11 (10 to 17 years) make mostly risk averse and prudent choices. With respect to risk aversion behavior of 3rd graders (8 to 9 years) does not differ statistically from risk neutrality. We also find 3rd graders to make mostly prudent choices. We also find evidence for a transmission of preferences: risk aversion is significantly correlated between children and their parents. Also, prudence is significantly correlated between girls (but not boys) and their parents.
    Keywords: risk aversion; prudence; transmission of preferences; age effects; experimental economics; children
    JEL: C93 D81 J13
    Date: 2018–04–30
  9. By: Bartling, Björn (University of Zurich); Cappelen, Alexander W. (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Ekström, Mathias (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Sørensen, Erik Ø. (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Tungodden, Bertil (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)
    Abstract: The paper reports the first experimental study on people’s fairness views on extreme Income inequalities arising from winner-take-all reward structures. We find that the majority of participants consider extreme income inequality generated in winner-take-all situations as fair, independent of the winning margin. Spectators appear to endorse a “factual merit” fairness argument for no redistribution: the winner deserves all the earnings because these earnings were determined by his or her performance. Our findings shed light on the present political debate on redistribution, by suggesting that people may object less to certain types of extreme income inequality than commonly assumed.
    Keywords: Winner-take-all reward structures; fairness; income inequality
    JEL: C91 D63
    Date: 2018–04–30
  10. By: Mascagni, Giulia
    Abstract: Tax experiments have been gaining momentum in recent years, although this literature dates back several decades.With new developments in methods and data availability, tax experiments have gradually moved away from lab settings and towards the ï¬ eld. This movement from the lab to the ï¬ eld has happened against the background of the ‘credibility revolution’ in applied economics, which has seen more rigorous methods applied to policy relevant questions, and of the availability to researchers of administrative data from tax returns. These developments have allowed signiï¬ cant advances in the experimental literature on tax compliance. This paper reviews this literature, giving particular attention to ï¬ eld experiments using administrative data, but putting them in the broader context of the compliance literature. A particular effort is made to take a global perspective, in a literature that is only recently seeing the emergence of evidence from Africa, Latin America and Asia.
    Keywords: Governance,
    Date: 2017
  11. By: Ronayne, David (University of Oxford); Sgroi, Daniel (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: We ran an experiment where 1,503 subjects (advisees) completed tasks, and then had the choice to submit either their own score or the score of other subjects (advisers). The observed data are irreconcilable with rational behaviour. First, good advice was ignored: about 25% of the time, advisees chose to submit their own score instead of the higher score of an adviser, reducing their payoff. Second, when the adviser was superior in skill, good advice was ignored more often. Third, when the adviser was relatively highly paid, subjects were less likely to make use of them. We offer an explanation of the data focused on two behavioral forces: envy and the sunk cost fallacy. The role of envy was complex: more envious advisees, as measured using a dispositional envy scale, opted to follow advisers more often in the skill-based task revealing a positive, motivational effect of envy. However, higher adviser remuneration reduced this effect, revealing a negative side of envy as a constraint on rational decision-making. Susceptibility to the sunk cost fallacy, measured using a novel scale we developed, had a negative impact on the uptake of good advice. This is consistent with the idea that subjects feel resistant to changing their answers when they put in effort to formulate them. We also present findings from a new survey of 3,096 UK voters who took part in the national referendum on EU membership, consistent with some of our experimental results.
    Keywords: experiment, individual decision-making, relative comparisons, inter-personal comparisons, good advice, skill vs. luck, adviser remuneration, envy, sunk cost fallacy, stubbornness, Brexit survey JEL Classification: C91, C99, D91
    Date: 2018
  12. By: Pan, Jinrui; Shachat, Jason; Wei, Sijia
    Abstract: We use laboratory experiments to evaluate the effects of cognitive stress on inventory management decisions in a finite horizon Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) model. We manipulate two sources of cognitive stress. First, we vary participants' ability to order inventory from any decision period to only when inventory is depleted. This reduces cognitive stress by restricting the policy choice set. Second we vary participants' participation in a competing pin memorization. This increases cognitive load. Participants complete a sequence of five ``annual'' inventory management tasks, with monthly ordering decisions. Both sources of cognitive stress negatively impact earnings, with the bulk of these impacts occurring in the first year. Participants' choices in all treatments exhibit trends to near optimal policy adoption. But only in the most favorable treatment do the majority of choices reach the optimal policy. We estimate the learning dynamics of monthly order decisions using a Markov switching model. Estimates suggest increased cognitive load reduces the probability of switching to more profitable policies, and that more complex policy choice sets leads to a greater policy lock-in. Our results suggests that inexperienced individuals will perform more poorly when called upon to make inventory management situations in cognitively stressfully environments, and that the benefits of providing support and task simplicity is greatest when the task is first assigned.
    Keywords: Economic Order Quantity, Cognitive load, Choice set complexity, Learning
    JEL: C92 D83 M11
    Date: 2018–04–15

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