nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2020‒05‒11
five papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Are the poor more impatient than the rich? Experimental evidence on the effect of (lab) wealth on intertemporal preferences By Siebert, Jan
  2. When nudges aren't enough: Incentives and habit formation in public transport usage By Christina Gravert; Linus Olsson Collentine
  3. Suboptimal paternalism: Ability, benevolence, and self-selection in choosing for others By Felix Sebastian Doessing; David Dreyer Lassen
  4. Time Discounting and Wealth Inequality By Thomas Epper; Ernst Fehr; Helga Fehr-Duda; Claus Thustrup Kreiner; David Dreyer Lassen; Soeren Leth-Petersen; Gregers Nytoft Rasmussen
  5. Behavioral aspects of communication in organizations By Casoria, Fortuna; Riedl, Arno; Werner, Peter

  1. By: Siebert, Jan
    Abstract: Poor people have, on average, a higher marginal propensity to consume. One (out of many) possible explanations for this is that poverty affects impatience. This would have important implications for monetary and fiscal policy. While some macroeconomists simply assume lower individual discount factors for poorer households, little is known about this phenomenon from a behavioural point of view. This paper presents a laboratory experiment to test whether the poor show more impatient behaviour. In the experiment, half of the participants gets a high participation fee, while the other half gets a low participation fee. All participants perform an intertemporal multiple price list task. The participation fee has a significant effect. Surprisingly, participants with a lower participation fee are less impatient.
    Keywords: Intertemporal preferences,patience,saving,consumption,experiments
    JEL: C9 D9 E2
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Christina Gravert (CEBI, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Linus Olsson Collentine (University of Gothenburg)
    Abstract: In three large-scale field experiments with over 32,000 individuals, we investigate whether public transport uptake can be in uenced by behavioral interventions and by economic incentives. Despite their effectiveness in other domains, we find a tightly estimated zero for social norms and implementation intentions on ridership. Doubling the trial period from two to four weeks significantly increases uptake and long-term usage. This increase is sustained for months after removing the incentive. The effect is mainly driven by initial low users, which is evidence for habit formation. While there is scope for long-term behavior change, nudges might not be the right approach.
    Keywords: transport, nudging, field experiment, habit formation
    JEL: C93 D04 D91 L91
    Date: 2019–12–06
  3. By: Felix Sebastian Doessing (CEBI, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); David Dreyer Lassen (CEBI, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: Discussions about the legitimacy and welfare consequences of paternalistic interventions usually begin with the assumption that regulators are both benevolent and competent. We present experimental evidence that neither need be the case. In our experiment, individuals choose whether to restrict the choice of another participant and we see that regulation, on average, decreases choice efficiency. While more competent regulators are more likely to restrict choice sets in order to improve welfare for subjects when they use their regulatory privilige, selection into being an active regulator is unrelated to competence. The propensity for kind regulation is increasing in own competence, while the propensity for unkind regulation is both negatively related to own competence and positively related to the competence of the subject.
    Keywords: Paternalism, choosing for others, risk preferences, beneficence
    JEL: C91 D60 D62 D64 D91
    Date: 2019–09–05
  4. By: Thomas Epper (University of St.Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science); Ernst Fehr (University of Zurich, Department of Economics); Helga Fehr-Duda (University of Zurich, Department of Banking and Finance); Claus Thustrup Kreiner (CEBI, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); David Dreyer Lassen (CEBI, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Soeren Leth-Petersen (CEBI, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Gregers Nytoft Rasmussen (CEBI, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: This paper documents a large association between individuals� time discounting in incentivized experiments and their positions in the real-life wealth distribution derived from Danish high-quality administrative data for a large sample of middle-aged individuals. The association is stable over time, exists through the wealth distribution and remains large after controlling for education, income profile, school grades, initial wealth, parental wealth, credit constraints, demographics, risk preferences and additional behavioral parameters. Our results suggest that savings behavior is a driver of the observed association between patience and wealth inequality as predicted by standard savings theory.
    Keywords: Wealth inequality, savings behavior, time discounting, experimental methods, administrative data
    JEL: C91 D31 E21
    Date: 2019–10–07
  5. By: Casoria, Fortuna; Riedl, Arno (RS: GSBE Theme Human Decisions and Policy Design, General Economics 1 (Micro)); Werner, Peter (RS: GSBE Theme Human Decisions and Policy Design, General Economics 1 (Micro))
    Abstract: This paper reviews experimental studies that investigate the effects of communication on behavior in organizational settings. Two main classes of studies are identified: (a) studies on coordination and competition, which include experimental research that tests whether communication can help to overcome coordination failure within organizations, and (b) studies that analyze the role of communication in alleviating problems arising from information asymmetries at the workplace. The evidence from these studies indicates that communication is suited to improve efficient coordination within firms and to mitigate information problems in employer-employee relationships. In addition, studies are presented that focus on the interaction between communication and monetary incentive schemes in companies.
    JEL: C90 D82 D83 J53
    Date: 2020–03–19

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