nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2020‒09‒28
nine papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Further from the truth: The impact of inperson, online, and mTurk on dishonest behavior By David L. Dickinson; David M. McEvoy
  2. Which green nudge helps to save energy? Experimental evidence By Christoph Buehren; Maria Daskalakis
  3. Psychological Pressure and the Right to Determine the Moves in Dynamic Tournaments: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment By Kassis, Mark; Schmidt, Sascha L.; Schreyer, Dominik; Sutter, Matthias
  4. The Impact of Psychological Pressure and Psychological Traits on Performance – Experimental Evidence of Penalties in Handball By Christoph Buehren; Lisa Traeger
  5. Behavioral Welfare Economics and Risk Preferences: A Bayesian Approach By Gao, Xiaoxue Sherry; Harrison, Glenn; Tchernis, Rusty
  6. The Role of Beliefs in Long Sickness Absence: Experimental Evidence from a Psychological Intervention By Pons Rotger, Gabriel; Rosholm, Michael
  7. The links between intelligence, personality, and theory of mind in an adult sample By Svenson, Alexander; Guillen, Pablo
  8. A New Perspective from Time Use Research on the Effects of Lockdown on COVID-19 Behavioral Infection Risk By Gershuny, Jonathan I.; Sullivan, Oriel; Sevilla, Almudena; Vega-Rapun, Marga; Foliano, Francesca; de Grignon, Juana Lamote; Harms, Teresa; Walthery, Pierre
  9. Social Pressure in the Stadiums: Do Agents Change Behavior without Crowd Support? By Scoppa, Vincenzo

  1. By: David L. Dickinson; David M. McEvoy
    Abstract: Recent policies require some interactions previously conducted in close social proximity (e.g., school, workplace) to take place remotely, which motivates our investigation of how in-person versus online environments impact honesty. We modify a well-known coin-flip task and examine the influence of going from the physical laboratory environment, to online with identifiable participants (same lab subject pool), to online with anonymous participants using mTurk. Surprisingly, while a simple move from in-lab to online (using the same subject pool) appears to increase “fake effort” – those who likely never flip the coin - it does not predict more dishonest behavior when there is a monetary incentive to cheat. The most socially distant and anonymous participants (mTurk) are more likely to be deemed cheaters in our analysis—these individuals report coin flip outcomes consistent with cheating for monetary gain. Implications of our findings indicate the greatest risk of potentially costly dishonest behavior results when anonymity, not just social distance, is high. Key Words: Social distance, cheating, coin flip, anonymity, behavioral economics, experiment
    JEL: C91 D90
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Christoph Buehren (Clausthal University of Technology); Maria Daskalakis (University of Kassel)
    Abstract: Which behavioral interventions are more appropriate to induce energy saving: energy saving goals with or without monetary incentives, environmentally related information, social comparison, or a competition to save energy? We try to answer this question in a comprehensive study. First, we designed energy bills with different behavioral interventions. Second, we evaluated their appropriateness in an empirical survey with 457 participants. Third, we tested behavioral consequences in a “real effort†lab experiment with 550 subjects in 11 treatments and one baseline. Finally, we tested two interventions in a small field experiment with 36 test-households. Our results indicate that monetary incentives to save energy foster the intention to invest effort in energy saving but may backfire if real effort is required. Instead, self-set goals – without monetary incentives – and providing social comparison induced substantial effort in our lab experiment. Extending the social comparison to a competition – without monetary incentives – provided the best results. In our field experiment, however, we find no support that goals and social comparison change every-day behavior in energy consumption. Our study concludes with implications for practical policy design and possible future research.
    Keywords: Energy-saving; Goals; Social Comparison; Competition; Real effort experiment
    JEL: D03 D12 C91
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Kassis, Mark (WHU Vallendar); Schmidt, Sascha L. (WHU Vallendar); Schreyer, Dominik (WHU Vallendar); Sutter, Matthias (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)
    Abstract: In this paper, we show that the right to determine the sequence of moves in a dynamic team tournament improves the chances of winning the contest. Because studying dynamic team tournaments – like R&D races – with interim feedback is difficult with company data, we examine decisions of highly paid professionals in soccer penalty shootouts and show that teams whose captains can decide about the shooting sequence are more likely to win the shootout. So, managerial decisions matter for outcomes of dynamic tournaments and we discuss potential reasons for this finding.
    Keywords: dynamic tournament, sports professionals, psychological pressure, value of decision rights, penalty shoot-outs, behavioral economics
    JEL: C93 D00 D81 D91 Z20
    Date: 2020–08
  4. By: Christoph Buehren (Clausthal University of Technology); Lisa Traeger (University of Kassel)
    Abstract: Our handball penalty field experiment analyses the influence of psychological traits and pressure on individual performance in sequential tournaments. We use a short ABBA-sequence with four throws for each subject and observe an average score rate of 60% in our sample of amateur league players. On game level, we find a weak and insignificant first-mover advantage that becomes stronger and significant if we control for psychological traits and pressure. On shot level, we also find no significant first-mover advantage on average. However, confident individuals have a higher scoring rate in the role of player A and less confident individuals in the role of player B. Moreover, ceteris paribus, player A scores more goals than player B under tournament incentives. Whereas self-esteem increases the probability to throw a goal in our experiment, risk-taking reduces it.
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Gao, Xiaoxue Sherry (University of Massachusetts Amherst); Harrison, Glenn (Georgia State University, CEAR); Tchernis, Rusty (Georgia State University)
    Abstract: We propose the use of Bayesian estimation of risk preferences of individuals for applications of behavioral welfare economics to evaluate observed choices that involve risk. Bayesian estimation provides more systematic control of the use of informative priors over inferences about risk preferences for each individual in a sample. We demonstrate that these methods make a difference to the rigorous normative evaluation of decisions in a case study of insurance purchases. We also show that hierarchical Bayesian methods can be used to infer welfare reliably and efficiently even with significantly reduced demands on the number of choices that each subject has to make. Finally, we illustrate the natural use of Bayesian methods in the adaptive evaluation of welfare.
    Keywords: behavioral welfare economics, Bayesian Analysis, risk preferences, insurance
    JEL: D6 C11 D81
    Date: 2020–08
  6. By: Pons Rotger, Gabriel (VIVE - The Danish Centre for Applied Social Science); Rosholm, Michael (Aarhus University)
    Abstract: This paper makes use of the randomized allocation of workers on sick leave in Denmark into self-management support, to examine the role of beliefs about control for prolonged absenteeism due to illness. Our results demonstrate that the ability of the intervention to lead sick-listed workers toward resuming employment crucially depends on workers' control beliefs. The intervention increases the perception of control among control pessimists and substantially accelerates the decision to return to work. Furthermore, we identify a group of control-optimist workers for whom "learning" about control beliefs is self-defeating, and leads them toward reduced capacity in terms of return-to-work performance.
    Keywords: sickness insurance, personality traits, randomized control trial, machine learning
    JEL: J21 C93 D91
    Date: 2020–08
  7. By: Svenson, Alexander; Guillen, Pablo
    Abstract: The Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET; Baron-Cohen, Jolliffe, Mortimore, & Robertson, 1997; Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Hill, Raste, & Plumb, 2001) is a commonly used test of theory of mind (ToM). Our aim was to explore intelligence and personality variables that may predict performance on the RMET. Towards this aim, 402 Australian university students were recruited for laboratory sessions where the RMET was administered along with measures of verbal and non-verbal intelligence, and measures of the Five Factor Model of personality (FFM) or Big Five. The perspective that the processes underlying RMET performance are fully implicit, and independent of other abilities or traits, was not supported by our findings. Instead, linear regression models (evaluated at a 5% significance level or lower) revealed that RMET scores were predicted by verbal reasoning ability, particularly vocabulary subtests. Moreover, the Extraversion and Conscientiousness factors had quadratic relationships with RMET scores; Agreeableness, Emotional stability, and Openness factors were positively associated with RMET scores; and Self-monitoring was negatively associated with RMET scores. Our results help address inconsistencies in the literature to date by highlighting the intertwined nature of social cognition with verbal intelligence and personality.
    Keywords: theory of mind, intelligence, personality
    Date: 2020–09
  8. By: Gershuny, Jonathan I. (University of Oxford); Sullivan, Oriel (University College London); Sevilla, Almudena (University College London); Vega-Rapun, Marga (University College London); Foliano, Francesca (National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)); de Grignon, Juana Lamote (University College London); Harms, Teresa (University College London); Walthery, Pierre (University College London)
    Abstract: We present findings from the first two waves of an innovative, population-representative, UK time-use diary survey conducted both pre- and mid-lockdown, using an online diary instrument that proved both reliable and quick-to-field. Combining diary information on activity, location, and co-presence to estimate infection risks associated with daily behavior, we show clear changes in such behavior related to infection risk between the pre- and mid-lockdown periods: a substantial reduction of time spent in those behaviors with the highest levels of risk, accompanied by an equivalent increase in low-risk behavior. Because, in general, a populations' time use changes relatively slowly, the behavioral changes revealed may be interpreted directly as a consequence of the UK COVID-19 'lockdown' regulations. Subsequent waves will reveal the behavioral consequences of future changes in regulation.
    Keywords: behavioural risk, infection, COVID-19, time-use
    JEL: J10 I10
    Date: 2020–08
  9. By: Scoppa, Vincenzo (University of Calabria)
    Abstract: Social pressure may have relevant consequences in many contexts but it is hard to evaluate it empirically. In this paper we exploit a natural experiment in soccer to provide clear evidence of its effects. We aim to study how social pressure from the crowd in a stadium affects both players and referees. While in normal matches crowd support may be correlated to a host of variables affecting the outcome of interest, we exploit the fact that after the health emergency for the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, soccer matches in top European Leagues have been allowed only behind closed doors, that is, without spectators in the stadiums. We use data of first and second division of 5 major European Leagues (Germany, Spain, England, Italy and Portugal) for the last 10 championships and compare several outcomes (determined by players' performance and referees' decisions) of matches played with crowd support to the same outcomes when matches were played without crowd. We find considerable effects of the pressure from the crowd: while with the support of the crowd a considerable home advantage emerges in various measures of performance (points, goals, shots, etc.), this advantage is almost halved when matches are behind closed doors. Similar effects are found for the behavior of referees: decisions of fouls, yellow cards, red cards and penalties that tend to favor home teams in normal matches, are much more balanced without crowd pressing on referees. The evidence we provide strongly supports the idea that social pressure has intense effects on agents' behavior.
    Keywords: social pressure, crowd support, emotional factors, social approval, performance, home advantage, referee's favoritism, COVID-19
    JEL: D91 M50 L83 Z2
    Date: 2020–08

This nep-cbe issue is ©2020 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.
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