nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2020‒03‒23
seven papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Interested, indifferent or active information avoider of climate labels: Cognitive dissonance and ascription of responsibility as motivating factors By Edenbrandt, Anna Kristina; Lagerkvist, Carl Johan; Nordström, Jonas
  2. Theory of Mind among Disadvantaged Children: Evidence from a Field Experiment By Gary Charness; John List; Aldo Rustichini; Anya Samek; Jeroen van de Ven
  3. Do Women Shy Away from Public Speaking? A Field Experiment By De Paola, Maria; Lombardo, Rosetta; Pupo, Valeria; Scoppa, Vincenzo
  4. Inclusive Cognitive Hierarchy By Koriyama, Yukio; Ozkes, Ali
  5. A New Mechanism to Alleviate the Crises of Confidence in Science-With An Application to the Public Goods Game By Luigi Butera; Philip J. Grossman; Daniel Houser; John A. List; Marie-Claire Villeval
  6. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS - Publicly visible environmentally sustainable initiatives improve organic destination image By Bilynets, Iana; Cvelbar, Ljubica Knezevic; Dolnicar, Sara
  7. Got Milk? Using Nudges to Reduce Consumption of Added Sugar By Chien-Yu Lai; John List; Anya Samek

  1. By: Edenbrandt, Anna Kristina (Department of Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences); Lagerkvist, Carl Johan (Department of Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences); Nordström, Jonas (AgriFood economics centre)
    Abstract: Active avoidance of information is gaining attention in behavioral sciences, and recently also its’ relevance from an economic theory perspective. We explore motivations and policy implications of active avoidance of carbon emission information. In a stated preference survey respondents were asked to indicate if they wished to access carbon emission information (info-takers) or not (info-decliners) when selecting protein source in a first stage. In a second stage all respondents were provided carbon emission information. The info-takers reduced their CO2-emissions from their food choices with 32%, while the info-decliners also reduced their CO2 emissions (12%). This provides evidence of active information avoidance among at least some info-decliners. We explore cognitive dissonance and responsibility feelings and personal norms as motivations for actively avoiding carbon emission information on meat products, and how these motivations affect the reaction if imposed information. Our results show that carbon emission information increases choice task uncertainty most among individuals that experience climate related cognitive dissonance and/or responsibility feelings. These findings point to the potential of carbon emission information as a measure for changing food consumption towards less carbon emitting products. The study also highlights the importance of how the information is provided and presented.
    Keywords: Climate label; information avoidance; cognitive dissonance; carbon emission reduction; consumer behavior; strategic avoidance
    JEL: D12 D83 Q18 Q54
    Date: 2020–03–12
  2. By: Gary Charness; John List; Aldo Rustichini; Anya Samek; Jeroen van de Ven
    Abstract: Theory of Mind (ToM), the ability to correctly attribute mental states to others, is important in social interactions. We evaluate the development of ToM in about 800 mostly disadvantaged children. We next conduct a field experiment with about 160 children in which we find that the low ToM rates for these disadvantaged children improve substantially in environments where the presence of other children is made salient. We see that ToM performance increases for both younger and older children in the treatment with strong salience, but that the treatment with weaker salience seems to be only effective in improving the ToM rates for older children.
    Date: 2020
  3. By: De Paola, Maria (University of Calabria); Lombardo, Rosetta (University of Calabria); Pupo, Valeria (University of Calabria); Scoppa, Vincenzo (University of Calabria)
    Abstract: Public speaking is an important skill for career prospects and for leadership positions, but many people tend to avoid it because it generates anxiety. We run a field experiment to analyze whether in an incentivized setting men and women show differences in their willingness to speak in public. The experiment involved more than 500 undergraduate students who could gain two points to add to the final grade of their exam by orally presenting solutions to a problem set. Students were randomly assigned to present only to the instructor or in front of a large audience (a class of 100 or more). We find that while women are more willing to present face-to-face, they are considerably less likely to give a public presentation. Female aversion to public speaking does not depend on differences in ability, risk aversion, self-confidence and self-esteem. The aversion to public speaking greatly reduces for daughters of working women. From data obtained through an on-line Survey we also show that neither increasing the gains deriving from public speaking nor allowing participants more time to prepare enable to close the gender gap.
    Keywords: public speaking, psychological gender differences, gender, leadership, glass ceiling, field experiment
    JEL: D91 C93 M50
    Date: 2020–02
  4. By: Koriyama, Yukio; Ozkes, Ali
    Abstract: Cognitive hierarchy theory, a collection of structural models of non-equilibrium thinking, in which players' best responses rely on heterogeneous beliefs on others' strategies including naive behavior, proved powerful in explaining observations from a wide range of games. We introduce an inclusive cognitive hierarchy model, in which players do not rule out the possibility of facing opponents at their own thinking level. Our theoretical results show that inclusiveness is crucial for asymptotic properties of deviations from equilibrium behavior in expansive games. We show that the limiting behaviors are categorized in three distinct types: naive, Savage rational with inconsistent beliefs, and sophisticated. We test the model in a laboratory experiment of collective decision-making. The data suggests that inclusiveness is indispensable with regard to explanatory power of the models of hierarchical thinking.
    Keywords: cognitive hierarchy, collective decision-making, level-k model, strategic thinking
    Date: 2020–03–04
  5. By: Luigi Butera; Philip J. Grossman; Daniel Houser; John A. List; Marie-Claire Villeval
    Abstract: Creation of empirical knowledge in economics has taken a dramatic turn in the past few decades. One feature of the new research landscape is the nature and extent to which scholars generate data. Today, in nearly every field the experimental approach plays an increasingly crucial role in testing theories and informing organizational decisions. Whereas there is much to appreciate about this revolution, recently a credibility crisis has taken hold across the social sciences, arguing that an important component of Fischer (1935)'s tripod has not been fully embraced: replication. Indeed, while the importance of replications is not debatable scientifically, current incentives are not sufficient to encourage replications from the individual researcher's perspective. We analyze a novel mechanism that promotes replications by leveraging mutually beneficial gains between scholars and editors. We develop a model capturing the trade-offs involved in seeking independent replications before submission of a paper to journals. We demonstrate the operation of this method via an investigation of the effects of Knightian uncertainty on cooperation rates in public goods games, a pervasive and yet largely unexplored feature in the literature.
    JEL: A11 C18 C92 C93 D82
    Date: 2020–02
  6. By: Bilynets, Iana; Cvelbar, Ljubica Knezevic; Dolnicar, Sara (The University of Queensland)
    Abstract: Destination image formation theory postulates that image affects destination choice, but that only induced image can be improved by marketing. Our study shows that this is not the case. We demonstrate how a destination can proactively and deliberately manage the organic image of being environmentally sustainable by redirecting money typically spent on communicating green credentials towards the implementation of publicly visible pro-environmental initiatives. With organic image being a key driver of destination choice, investing in pro-environmental initiatives suddenly becomes a rational marketing investment. This is particularly important given the increasing environmental concern of consumers. The invaluable side-effect of redirecting “green marketing dollars” towards “green action dollars” is the improved environmental performance of the destination
    Date: 2020–02–29
  7. By: Chien-Yu Lai; John List; Anya Samek
    Abstract: The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federal food assistance program that serves over 30 million children in the United States annually. Yet the impact of NSLP on nutritional intake may be limited because children frequently do not choose the healthier offerings or waste large portions of their meal. In this article, we study whether we can improve the impact of the NSLP on child food choice through low-cost nudges. We conduct a field experiment in a school lunchroom with 2500 children, evaluating the impact of informational prompts on milk choice and consumption over two weeks. We find that the prompts alone increase the proportion of children choosing and consuming the healthier white milk relative to sugar-sweetened chocolate milk from 20% in the control group to 30% in the treatment groups. Adding health or taste messaging to the prompt does not seem to make a difference. We survey students and find that most prompts affect perceived healthfulness of the milk, but not perceived taste. Finally, we find that the prompts are nearly as effective as a small nonmonetary incentive.
    Date: 2020

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