nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2019‒04‒29
five papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Motivated motive selection in the lying-dictator game By Barron, Kai; Stüber, Robert; van Veldhuizen, Roel
  2. An Experimental Investigation of Updating under Ambiguity By Christian A. Vossler; Dong Yan
  3. Meta-Context and Choice-Set Effects in Mini-Dictator Games By Panizza, Folco; Vostroknutov, Alexander; Coricelli, Giorgio
  4. Incentives or Persuasion? An Experimental Investigation By Aristidou, Andreas; Coricelli, Giorgio; Vostroknutov, Alexander
  5. Keep Calm and Carry on: Gender Differences in Endurance By Sophie Clot; Marina Della Giusta; Amalia Di Girolamo

  1. By: Barron, Kai; Stüber, Robert; van Veldhuizen, Roel
    Abstract: A large body of evidence suggests that people are willing to sacrifice personal material gain in order to adhere to a moral motive such as fairness or truth-telling. Yet less is known about what happens when moral motives are in conflict. We hypothesize that in such situations, individuals engage in what we term ‘motivated motive selection’, choosing to adhere to the motive that most closely aligns with their personal interest. We test this hypothesis using a laboratory experiment that induces in subjects a conflict between two of the most-studied moral motives: fairness and truth-telling. Our experimental design has the attractive features of being both parsimonious and closely related to both the classic dictator and lying games, implying comparability with a wealth of benchmark evidence. In line with our hypothesis, our results suggest that participants are more likely to adhere to the motive that is more in line with their self-interest.
    Keywords: Motivated reasoning,dictator game,lying game,motives,moral dilemma
    JEL: C91 D01 D63 D90
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Christian A. Vossler (Department of Economics, University of Tennessee); Dong Yan (Department of Economics, University of Tennessee)
    Abstract: We formulate new hypotheses that take advantage of information updating in order to discriminate between the two major specifications of multi-prior ambiguity models: ``kinked'' and ``smooth''. In particular, across comparable decision settings, we examine the effects of adding or trimming out certain priors, updating the weight on particular beliefs, changing the payoff for a single potential state, and modifying the distribution within certain priors. Our results show that the kinked specification does well in consistently predicting choices from 68% of participants, and the smooth specification predicts well for just 10%. We find evidence that people may use a compound lottery as one of their priors, subjects are insensitive to information that the best prior is more likely, and people place lower values on ambiguous lotteries that are relatively more complex. Our experimental methods are likely to be useful in other contexts, as they allow for simple tests of decision-making under ambiguity without placing restrictions on the weights participants place on priors, or reliance on comparisons to decision-making under risk.
    Keywords: uncertainty; ambiguity; updating; multiple priors models; alpha-maxmin expected utility; recursive expected utility; lab experiment; self-protection; subjective expected utility
    JEL: C91 D81 D83
    Date: 2019–04
  3. By: Panizza, Folco (university of trento); Vostroknutov, Alexander (General Economics 1 (Micro)); Coricelli, Giorgio (university of southern california)
    Abstract: Knowing that some action is possible in principle, even if not available, could affect behaviour. This may happen because a game is perceived as part of a larger game or ‘metacontext’ that includes its outcomes as a proper subset. In an experiment we test the effects of meta-context and specific choice sets on pro-social behaviour in a series of binary mini-Dictator games by eliciting participants’ normative evaluations, fitting a norm-dependent utility, and analysing the residuals. We find that participants’ normative evaluations in mini-Dictator games derive from the meta-context (a standard Dictator game) and explain a sizeable portion of variance in choices. Restricted choice sets of mini-Dictator games also influence participants’ decisions: they take into account dictator’s losses and recipient’s gains from choosing the prosocial action as fractions of their respective maximum payoffs. This choice-set effect correlates with individual measures of rule-following propensity supporting the idea that it is also normative. Thus, there are two types of normative reasoning that contribute to pro-social behaviour: a meta-context and a choice-set effect.
    Keywords: mini-Dictator games, meta-context, choice-set effects, norms, norm-dependent utility
    JEL: C91 C92 D91
    Date: 2019–04–16
  4. By: Aristidou, Andreas (university of southern california); Coricelli, Giorgio (university of southern california); Vostroknutov, Alexander (General Economics 1 (Micro))
    Abstract: There are two theoretically parallel ways in which principals can manipulate agents’ choices: with monetary incentives (mechanism design) or Bayesian persuasion (information design). We are interested in whether incentives or persuasion is a better strategy for principals. We conduct an experiment that investigates the behavioral side of the theoretical parallelism between these approaches. We find that principals are more successful when persuading than when incentivizing. Agents appear to be more demanding in mechanism design than in information design. Our analysis also identifies many features that make mechanism and information design behaviorally distinct in practice.
    Keywords: persuasion, mechanism design, information design, experiments
    JEL: C91 C92 D91
    Date: 2019–04–16
  5. By: Sophie Clot (Department of Economics, University of reading); Marina Della Giusta (Department of Economics, University of Reading); Amalia Di Girolamo (Department of Economics, University of Birmingham)
    Abstract: We investigate endurance, the capacity to maintain levels of performance through internal rather than external motivation in non-rewarding tasks and over sequences of tasks, through a lab experiment. The significant driver of performance is payment scheme order for women and payment schemes for men. Both women and men respond to social cues, through increased intrinsic motivation (ambition) for women and through extrinsic motivation (competition) for men. We suggest implications for reward schemes in the workplace and for selection into executive positions.
    Keywords: gender, intrinsic motivation, endurance, monetary incentives, biased beliefs
    JEL: J16 J71 M12 M51
    Date: 2019–04–01

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