nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2022‒02‒28
eight papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Conforming with Peers in Honesty and Cooperation By Isler, Ozan; Gächter, Simon
  2. Agency, Benevolence and Justice By Prithvijit Mukherjee; J. Dustin Tracy
  3. Intertemporal Consumption and Debt Aversion: A Replication and Extension By Steffen Ahrens; Ciril Bosch-Rosa; Thomas Meissner
  4. Ownership Effects in Dictator Games: Evidence from an Experimental Study By Nguyen, Cuong Viet; Vu, Linh Hoang
  5. The Stability of Self-Control in a Population Representative Study By Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.; Kong, Nancy; Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah
  6. Self-Control and Unhealthy Body Weight: The Role of Impulsivity and Restraint By Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.; Dahmann, Sarah C.; Kamhöfer, Daniel A.; Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah
  7. Habitual Communication By Konstantinos Ioannidis
  8. Artificial intelligence, ethics, and intergenerational responsibility By Klockmann, Victor; von Schenk, Alicia; Villeval, Marie-Claire

  1. By: Isler, Ozan (Queensland University of Technology); Gächter, Simon (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: Peer observation can influence social norm perceptions as well as behavior in various moral domains, but is the tendency to be influenced by and conform with peers domain-general? In an online experiment (N = 815), we studied peer effects in honesty and cooperation and tested the individual-level links between these two moral domains. Participants completed both honesty and cooperation tasks after observing their peers. Consistent with the literature, separate analysis of the two domains indicated both negative and positive peer influences in honesty and in cooperation, with negative influences tending to be stronger. Behavioral tests linking the two domains at the individual-level revealed that cooperative participants were also more honest—a link that was associated with low Machiavellianism scores. While standard personality trait measures showed no links between the two domains in the tendency to conform, individual-level tests suggested that conformism is a domain-general behavioral trait observed across honesty and cooperation. Based on these findings, we discuss the potential of and difficulties in using peer observation to influence social norm compliance as an avenue for further research and as a tool to promote social welfare.
    Keywords: conformism, peer influence, cooperation, honesty, social norms
    JEL: C91 J16
    Date: 2021–12
  2. By: Prithvijit Mukherjee (Mount Holyoke College); J. Dustin Tracy (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)
    Abstract: We test for social norms regarding how agents should select between risky prospects for principals, including norms consistent with beneficence and justice propositions from Adam Smith. We elicit norms from subjects serving as “impartial spectator[s]†about choice of risky prospect selected by the agents. We find strong evidence for the existence of norms, consistent with the Smith propositions. Furthermore we find that agents are more likely to select more normative options. In contrast, we find that principals’ allocation for bonuses depends on the realization of the risky prospect rather than whether the agents choice was consistent with the norm.
    Keywords: Social norms, Decisions-making for others, Laboratory experiments, Principal-Agent, Decisionmaking under risk
    JEL: C9 D63 D81 D90 G41
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Steffen Ahrens; Ciril Bosch-Rosa; Thomas Meissner
    Abstract: We replicate Meissne (2016) where debt aversion was reported for the first time in an intertemporal consumption and saving problem. While Meissner (2016) uses a German sample, our subjects are US undergraduate students. All of the main findings from the original study replicate, with similar effect sizes. Additionally, we extend the original analysis by correlating a new individual index of debt aversion on individual characteristics such as gender, cognitive ability, and risk aversion. The findings suggest that gender and risk aversion are not correlated with debt aversion. However, cognitive ability is positively correlated with debt aversion. Overall, this paper confirms the importance of debt aversion in intertemporal consumption problems and validates the approach of Meissner (2016).
    Date: 2022–01
  4. By: Nguyen, Cuong Viet; Vu, Linh Hoang
    Abstract: In this study, we tested the effect of time delays on sharing behavior. We conducted a dictator game to examine whether dictators change their sharing behaviors if they have more time between receiving and sharing money. When the response time was 2 hours, the sharing behavior of dictators was similar to sharing behavior in a standard game without time delay. However, if the dictators kept their received money for a week, they were remarkably less likely to share the money. This finding provides suggestive evidence of the ownership effect in sharing behavior.
    Keywords: Dictator games,endowment,experiment,time delay
    JEL: C70 D63 D64
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. (University of Sydney); Kong, Nancy (University of Sydney); Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
    Abstract: We investigate the stability of self-control at the population level. Analyzing repeated Brief Self-Control Scale scores, we demonstrate that self-control exhibits a high degree of mean-level, rank-order, and individual-level stability over the medium term. Changes in self-control are not associated with major life events, nor are they economically important. The stability of self-control is particularly striking given our study period (2017-2020) spans the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Keywords: self-control, Brief Self-Control Scale, SOEP, stability
    JEL: D91 D01
    Date: 2021–12
  6. By: Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. (University of Sydney); Dahmann, Sarah C. (University of Melbourne); Kamhöfer, Daniel A. (Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE)); Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
    Abstract: We examine the relationship between trait self-control and body weight. Data from a population representative household survey reveal that limited self-control is strongly associated with both objective and subjective measures of unhealthy body weight. Those with limited self-control are characterized by reduced exercising, repeated dieting, unhealthier eating habits, and poorer nutrition. We propose an empirical method to isolate two facets of self-control limitations—high impulsivity and low restraint. Each has differential predictive power. Physical activity, dieting, and overall body weight are more strongly associated with restraint; impulsivity is more predictive of when, where, and what people eat.
    Keywords: brief self-control scale, obesity, body mass index, diet, exercise
    JEL: D91 I12
    Date: 2022–01
  7. By: Konstantinos Ioannidis (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Many everyday activities are habitual. Among the most common human activities is communication. If people primarily communicate in a common-interests environment, they may form habits of truth-telling and believing messages. If they primarily communicate in a conflicting-interests environment, they may form habits of lying and mistrusting mes- sages. We provide experimental evidence that habits affect strategic communication in an unfamiliar environment. Additionally, we contrast two mechanisms through which habits operate, preference formation and inattention. By varying the frequency of communicating in the unfamiliar environment, we find an effect only when the unfamiliar environment oc- curs rarely. Our results favor inattention as preference formation would predict an effect irrespective of the frequency of the new environment. Analysis of individual decisions sheds further light on the mechanisms. Our findings highlight the importance of accounting for habits, especially when studying human behavior in infrequent situations.
    Keywords: Habits, Strategic information transmission, Communication, Experiment
    JEL: D91 C92 D01 D83
    Date: 2022–02–23
  8. By: Klockmann, Victor; von Schenk, Alicia; Villeval, Marie-Claire
    Abstract: In more and more situations, artificially intelligent algorithms have to model humans' (social) preferences on whose behalf they increasingly make decisions. They can learn these preferences through the repeated observation of human behavior in social encounters. In such a context, do individuals adjust the selfishness or prosociality of their behavior when it is common knowledge that their actions produce various externalities through the training of an algorithm? In an online experiment, we let participants' choices in dictator games train an algorithm. Thereby, they create an externality on future decision making of an intelligent system that affects future participants. We show that individuals who are aware of the consequences of their training on the payoffs of a future generation behave more prosocially, but only when they bear the risk of being harmed themselves by future algorithmic choices. In that case, the externality of artificially intelligence training induces a significantly higher share of egalitarian decisions in the present.
    Keywords: Artificial Intelligence,Morality,Prosociality,Generations,Externalities
    JEL: C49 C91 D10 D62 D63 O33
    Date: 2022

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