nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2022‒05‒02
seven papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Can Moral Reminders Curb Corruption? Evidence from an Online Classroom Experiment By Corinna Claus; Ekkehard A. Köhler; Tim Krieger
  2. How to Remind People to Work Out via Feedback: Evidence from a Field Experiment By Jin, Liyin; Li, Lingfang (Ivy); Zhou, Yi; Zhou, Yifang
  3. How to Reduce Discrimination? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Amateur Soccer By Dur, Robert; Gomez-Gonzalez, Carlos; Nesseler, Cornel
  4. The Determinants of Population Self-Control By Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.; Dahmann, Sarah C.; Kamhöfer, Daniel A.; Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah
  5. Discrete, recurrent, and scalable patterns in human judgement underlie affective picture ratings By Emanuel A. Azcona; Byoung-Woo Kim; Nicole L. Vike; Sumra Bari; Shamal Lalvani; Leandros Stefanopoulos; Sean Woodward; Martin Block; Aggelos K. Katsaggelos; Hans C. Breiter
  6. Other-Regarding Preferences and Redistributive Politics By Ernst Fehr; Thomas Epper; Julien Senn
  7. Choice and Attention Across Time By Xi Zhi Lim

  1. By: Corinna Claus; Ekkehard A. Köhler; Tim Krieger
    Abstract: Using an incentivized online classroom experiment, we assess the effectiveness of deontological vs. consequentialist moral reminders. Participants were told that they are the responsible public servant for acquiring a Covid-19 vaccine, providing them with the opportunity to generate some extra private income by accepting a bribe. Our findings indicate that a deontological moral reminder (“corruption is immoral”) leads to a significant reduction in accepting bribes. A consequentialist moral reminder, pointing out that bribes are costly to taxpayers, shows no significant effect. Furthermore, we do not find any empirical support that male participants are more corrupt in comparison to female participants. Students majoring in economics or business/management show more corrupt behavior than students studying to become economics school teachers, but the difference is not statistically significant. A person’s disposition towards risk appears to have a strong dissuading effects. Our experiment was conducted before and after the unexpected announcement by pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Pfizer on November 9th, 2020, that they will be able to provide an effective Covid-19 vaccine. This announcement does not correlate with a changed level of bribe-taking.
    Keywords: moral reminder, ethics, corruption, dishonesty, economics students, experiment, Covid-19
    JEL: A20 C91 D73 H12 I20
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Jin, Liyin; Li, Lingfang (Ivy); Zhou, Yi; Zhou, Yifang
    Abstract: Physical activity is a very important aspect of individuals’ quality of life. Health and behavioral studies have long sought to induce people to work out and form a habit to exercise. In this study, we design and conduct an 8-week longitudinal field experiment on an ex post feedback mechanism to motivate people to exercise. We designed feedback messages in two dimensions. One dimension varied the feedback messages according to whether they attributed the performance to participants’ own efforts (i.e., effort attribution treatment), and the other dimension adopted different personal pronoun (either the first-person pronoun, i.e., “I message” or the second-person pronoun, i.e.,“You message”) to examine whether the deictic relational framing of the feedback matters (i.e., deictic relational framing treatment). The experiment used an exercising recording applet embedded in WeChat. We find that for the immediate effect, the “You message + effort emphasized” message performed the best. As for the overall effect when feedback is provided, participants in the “I message” and “You message + effort emphasized” treatment groups achieved their weekly exercise goals in about one more week than participants in the control group. But when feedback is no longer provided, the influence of both treatment groups failed to endure; the influence of the “You message + effort emphasized” treatment even reversed. We also find that the effect of feedback is stronger among participants whose subjective ability of self-control and intrinsic motivation to work out are low.
    Keywords: work out, feedback, deictic relational framing, attribution theory,field experiment
    JEL: D03 I12
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Dur, Robert (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Gomez-Gonzalez, Carlos (University of Zurich); Nesseler, Cornel (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU))
    Abstract: A rich literature shows that ethnic discrimination is an omnipresent and highly persistent phenomenon. Little is known, however, about how to reduce discrimination. This study reports the results of a large-scale field experiment we ran together with the Norwegian Football Federation. The federation sent an email to a random selection of about 500 amateur soccer coaches, pointing towards the important role that soccer can play in promoting inclusivity and reducing racism in society and calling on the coaches to be open to all interested applicants. Two weeks later, we sent fictitious applications to join an amateur club, using either a native-sounding or a foreign-sounding name, to the same coaches and to a random selection of about 500 coaches who form the control group. In line with earlier research, we find that applications from people with a native-sounding name receive significantly more positive responses than applications from people with a foreign-sounding name. Surprisingly and unintentionally, the email from the federation substantially increased rather than decreased this gap. Our study underlines the importance of running field experiments to check whether well-intended initiatives are effective in reducing discrimination.
    Keywords: ethnic discrimination, intervention, field experiment, correspondence test, amateur soccer
    JEL: C93 J15 Z29
    Date: 2022–03
  4. 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: This paper demonstrates that structural factors can shape people's self-control. We study the determinants of adult self-control using population-representative data and exploiting two sources of quasi-experimental variationْ¢â‚¬â€œGermany's division and compulsory schooling reforms. We find that former East Germans have substantially higher levels of self-control than West Germans and provide evidence for suppression as a possible underlying mechanism. An increase in compulsory schooling had no causal effect on self-control. Moreover, we find that self-control increases linearly with age. In contrast to previous findings for children, there is no gender gap in adult self-control and family background does not predict self-control.
    Keywords: compulsory schooling reforms, quasi-experiments, German division, determinants of self-control, Brief Self-Control Scale, population-representative evidence
    JEL: D90 C26
    Date: 2022–03
  5. By: Emanuel A. Azcona; Byoung-Woo Kim; Nicole L. Vike; Sumra Bari; Shamal Lalvani; Leandros Stefanopoulos; Sean Woodward; Martin Block; Aggelos K. Katsaggelos; Hans C. Breiter
    Abstract: Operant keypress tasks, where each action has a consequence, have been analogized to the construct of "wanting" and produce lawful relationships in humans that quantify preferences for approach and avoidance behavior. It is unknown if rating tasks without an operant framework, which can be analogized to "liking", show similar lawful relationships. We studied three independent cohorts of participants (N = 501, 506, and 4,019 participants) collected by two distinct organizations, using the same 7-point Likert scale to rate negative to positive preferences for pictures from the International Affective Picture Set. Picture ratings without an operant framework produced similar value functions, limit functions, and trade-off functions to those reported in the literature for operant keypress tasks, all with goodness of fits above 0.75. These value, limit, and trade-off functions were discrete in their mathematical formulation, recurrent across all three independent cohorts, and demonstrated scaling between individual and group curves. In all three experiments, the computation of loss aversion showed 95% confidence intervals below the value of 2, arguing against a strong overweighting of losses relative to gains, as has previously been reported for keypress tasks or games of chance with calibrated uncertainty. Graphed features from the three cohorts were similar and argue that preference assessments meet three of four criteria for lawfulness, providing a simple, short, and low-cost method for the quantitative assessment of preference without forced choice decisions, games of chance, or operant keypressing. This approach can easily be implemented on any digital device with a screen (e.g., cellphones).
    Date: 2022–03
  6. By: Ernst Fehr; Thomas Epper; Julien Senn
    Abstract: Increasing inequality and associated egalitarian sentiments have again put redistribution on the political agenda. Other-regarding preferences may also affect support for redistribution, but knowledge about their distribution in the broader population and how they are associated with political support for redistributive policies is still scarce. In this paper, we take advantage of Swiss direct democracy, where people voted several times on strongly redistributive policies in national plebiscites, to study the link between other-regarding preferences and support for redistribution in a broad sample of the Swiss population. We document that inequality aversion and altruistic concerns play a quantitatively large positive role in the support for redistribution, in particular for more affluent individuals. In addition, previously identified key motives underlying opposition to redistribution – such as the belief that effort is an important driver of individual success – play no role for selfish individuals but are highly relevant for altruistic and egalitarian individuals. Finally, while inequality averse individuals display strong support for policies that primarily aim at reducing the incomes of the rich, altruistic individuals are considerably less supportive of such policies. Thus, knowledge about the fundamental properties and the distribution of individuals’ other-regarding preferences also provides a deeper understanding about who is likely to support specific redistributive policies.
    Keywords: social preferences, altruism, inequality aversion, preference heterogeneity, demand for redistribution
    JEL: D31 D72 H23 H24
    Date: 2022
  7. By: Xi Zhi Lim
    Abstract: I study how past choices affect future choices in the framework of attention. Limited consideration causes a failure of "rationality", where better options are not chosen because the decision maker has failed to consider them. I innovate and consider sequences of choices, where past choices are necessarily considered in future choice problems. This provides a link between two kinds of rationality violations: those that occur in a cross-section of one-shot decisions and those that occur within a sequence of realized choices. In my setting, the former helps identify attention whereas the latter pins down true preferences. Both types of violations vanish over time and furnish a novel notion of stability. A series of results shows that attention across time can act as a manifestation of attention at a given time, and a full characterization of compatible models is provided.
    Date: 2022–03

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