nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2021‒11‒08
eight papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. The Formation of Risk Preferences Through Small-Scale Events By Silvia Angerer; E. Glenn Dutcher; Daniela Glätzle-Rützler; Philipp Lergetporer; Matthias Sutter
  2. Nudging Enforcers: How Norm Perceptions and Motives for Lying Shape Sanctions By Eugen Dimant; Tobias Gesche
  3. The Roots of Cooperation By Zvonimir Bašic; Parampreet C. Bindra; Daniela Glätzle-Rützler; Angelo Romano; Matthias Sutter; Claudia Zoller
  4. Children’s patience and school-track choices several years later: Linking experimental and field data By Silvia Angerer; Jana Bolvashenkova; Daniela Glätzle-Rützler; Philipp Lergetporer; Matthias Sutter
  5. Why do Social Nudges Actually Work? Theoretical and Experimental Elements from a Randomized Controlled Trial with Bordeaux Winegrowers By Yann Raineau; Éric GIRAUD-HÉRAUD
  6. Socioemotional Skills and Refugees’ Language Acquisition By Yuliya Kosyakova
  7. Religion and Tradition in Conflict Experimentally Testing the Power of Social Norms to Invalidate Religious Law By Christoph Engel; Klaus Heine; Shaheen Naseer
  8. Paving the Road for Replications: Experimental Results from an Online Research Repository By Tom Coupé; W. Robert Reed; Christian Zimmermann

  1. By: Silvia Angerer (UMIT – Private University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology); E. Glenn Dutcher (Ohio University); Daniela Glätzle-Rützler (University of Innsbruck); Philipp Lergetporer (Ohio University); Matthias Sutter (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, University of Cologne, University of Innsbruck, IZA, and CESifo)
    Abstract: Large, macroeconomic shocks in the past have been shown to influence economic decisions in the present. We study in an experiment with 743 subjects whether small-scale, seemingly negligible, events also affect the formation of risk preferences. In line with a reinforcement learning model, we find that subjects who won a random lottery took significantly more risk in a second lottery almost a year later. The same pattern emerges in another experiment with 136 subjects where the second lottery was played more than three years after the first lottery. So, small-scale, random, events affect the formation of risk preferences significantly.
    Keywords: Reinforcement learning, risk preferences, preference formation, experiment
    JEL: C91 D01 D83
    Date: 2021–08–23
  2. By: Eugen Dimant; Tobias Gesche
    Abstract: The enforcement of social norms is the fabric of a functioning society. Through the lens of mul-tiple studies using different methodologies (a behavioral experiment and a vignette experiment in Study 1, as well as a norm elicitation experiment in Study 2), we examine how motives for lying and norm perceptions steer norm enforcement. Pursuing a pre-registered three-part data collection effort, our study investigates the extent to which norm breaches are sanctioned, how norm-nudges affect punishment behavior, and how enforcement links to norm perceptions. Using a representative sample of U.S. participants, we provide robust evidence that norm-enforcement is not only sensitive to the magnitude of the observed transgression (= size of the lie) but also to the consequence of the transgression (= whether the lie remedies or creates payoff inequalities). We also find that norm enforcers are sensitive to different norm-nudges that convey social in-formation about actual lying behavior or its social disapproval. Importantly, these results hold both in the behavioral experiment and in an add-on vignette study that confirm the robustness of our findings in the context of whistleblowing. To explain the punishment patterns of the behavioral experiment in Study 1, we subsequently examine how norms are perceived across dif-ferent transgressions and how norm-nudges change these perceptions. We find that social norm perceptions are malleable: norm-nudges are most effective when preexisting norms are vague. Importantly, we find that punishment patterns in the first experiment closely follow these norm perceptions. With that, our findings suggest that norm enforcement can be nudged successfully.
    Keywords: lying, norm-nudges, nudging, punishment, social norms
    JEL: B41 D01 D90
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Zvonimir Bašic (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods); Parampreet C. Bindra (University of Innsbruck); Daniela Glätzle-Rützler (University of Innsbruck); Angelo Romano (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods); Matthias Sutter (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, University of Cologne, University of Innsbruck, IZA Bonn, and CESifo Munich); Claudia Zoller (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)
    Abstract: Understanding the roots of human cooperation among strangers is of great importance for solving pressing social dilemmas and maintening public goods in human societies. We study the development of cooperation in 929 young children, aged 3 to 6. In a unified experimental framework, we examine which of three fundamental pillars of human cooperation – direct and indirect reciprocity as well as third-party punishment – emerges earliest as an effective means to increase cooperation in a repeated prisoner’s dilemma game. We find that third-party punishment exhibits a strikingly positive effect on cooperation rates by doubling them in comparison to a control condition. It promotes cooperative behavior even before punishment of defectors is applied. Children also engage in reciprocating others, showing that reciprocity strategies are already prevalent at a very young age. However, direct and indirect reciprocity treatments do not increase overall cooperation rates, as young children fail to anticipate the benefits of reputation building. We also show that the cognitive skills of children and the socioeconomic background of parents play a vital role in the early development of human cooperation.
    Keywords: Cooperation, reciprocity, third-party punishment, reputation, children, parents, cognitive abilities, socioeconomic status, prisoner’s dilemma game, experiment
    JEL: C91 C93 D01 D91 H41
    Date: 2021–06–11
  4. By: Silvia Angerer (UMIT – Private University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology); Jana Bolvashenkova (ifo Institute at the University of Munich); Daniela Glätzle-Rützler (University of Innsbruck); Philipp Lergetporer (Ohio University); Matthias Sutter (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, University of Cologne, University of Innsbruck, IZA, and CESifo)
    Abstract: We present direct evidence on the link between children’s patience and educational-track choices years later. Combining an incentivized patience measure of 493 primary-school children with their high-school track choices taken at least three years later at the end of middle school, we find that patience significantly predicts choosing an academic track. This relationship remains robust after controlling for a rich set of covariates, such as family background, school-class fixed effects, risk preferences, and cognitive abilities, and is not driven by sample attrition. Accounting for middle-school GPA as a potential mediating factor suggests a direct link between patience and educational-track choice.
    Keywords: patience, education, school track choice, children, lab-in-the-field experiment
    JEL: C91 D90 I21 J2
    Date: 2021–05–21
  5. By: Yann Raineau; Éric GIRAUD-HÉRAUD
    Abstract: Nudges, known to bring about behavioral change, are today a controversial public policy tool. Grievances most often concern their ephemeral scope or legitimacy, but these complaints are rarely based on a detailed understanding of how they work, which considerably limits their critical analysis. In this paper, we mobilize Akerlof’s (1997) model of social distance to better understand the effectiveness of informational nudges. We then show how implicit cognitive biases remain the main source of performance, leading us to renewed ethical considerations. We illustrate our conjectures with a randomized controlled trial in the context of pesticide use in agriculture.
    Keywords: nudges, RCT, farmer behavior, social norms, ethics of public interventions
    JEL: C93 D91 Q15
    Date: 2021
  6. By: Yuliya Kosyakova (Yuliya Kosyakova)
    Abstract: This paper contributes to the existing literature by extending Chiswick and Miller’s (2001) model to include socioemotional skills. While the theoretical model predicts that exposure, efficiency, and incentives determine language proficiency, we additionally assume that socioemotional skills influence these three constructs and thereby language proficiency. Specifically, we seek to answer the following research questions: How do socioemotional skills affect the language attainment of recent refugees? What is the relative importance of socioemotional skills in refugees’ language learning process? Given the findings of the prior literature that personality traits may compensate for socioeconomic adversity (e.g. Damian et al. 2015), we further ask whether socioemotional skills may compensate for refugees’ resource disadvantages. Empirically, we rely on growth curve models and recent longitudinal data from the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Refugee Sample.
    Keywords: language acquisition, refugees, socioemotional skills, Big Five, risk aversion, locus of control, Germany
    JEL: J15 D91 I26 J24
    Date: 2021–10
  7. By: Christoph Engel (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods); Klaus Heine (Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law); Shaheen Naseer (Lahore School of Economics)
    Abstract: Often, religion, law and tradition co-evolve. Religious precepts shape social practice, which translates into law. Yet this harmony is not universal. The Sharia guarantees daughters their share in the family estate. Yet in Pakistan, this rule clashes with tradition. While the country was jointly governed with (mainly Hindu) India, it had been customary that the entire estate goes to the eldest son. Combining a survey with a lab in the field experiment, we show that this is still the descriptive and the injunctive norm. Yet participants have a strong preference for the conflict to be dissolved by legislative intervention.
    Keywords: religious norm, legal rule, descriptive and injunctive social norm, inheritance, gender discrimination, Sharia, experiment
    JEL: C91 C93 D01 D15 D31 D63 J16 K00 O12 O53 R22
    Date: 2021–05–10
  8. By: Tom Coupé; W. Robert Reed; Christian Zimmermann
    Abstract: Are users of a bibliographic database interested in learning about replications? Can we motivate them to learn? To answer these questions, we performed an experiment on a RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) website: Using randomized stratification, we allocated 324 replications and their corresponding original studies to clusters; we then drew from those clusters to select treatment and control groups. We added brightly colored tabs to the relevant webpages to alert visitors to the existence of a replication study or to the original study of a replication. We monitored traffic over three phases lasting several months: a) no treatment, b) treatment on one group, c) treatment on both groups. We find a statistically significant increase in visits to replication pages, but the effect is small: Click-throughs to the replications occurred only 1% to 1.6% of the time.
    Keywords: Replications; RePEc; Experiment; Online Research Repository; Webpages; Click-throughs
    JEL: A11 B41 Z0
    Date: 2021–10–28

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