nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2022‒09‒19
four papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Measuring Preferences for Competition By Lina Lozano; Ernesto Reuben
  2. Locus of Control and Prosocial Behavior By Mark A. Andor; James Cox; Andreas Gerster; Michael Price; Stephan Sommer; Lukas Tomberg
  3. Causal Narratives By Chad W. Kendall; Constantin Charles
  4. Material Incentive Motivation and Working Memory Performance of Kindergartners: A Large-Scale Randomized Controlled Trial By Warabud Suppalarkbunlue; Sartja Duangchaiyoosook; Varunee Khruapradit; Weerachart Kilenthong

  1. By: Lina Lozano; Ernesto Reuben (Division of Social Science)
    Abstract: Recent research has found that competitive behavior measured in experiments strongly predicts individual differences in educational and labor market outcomes. However, there is no consensus on the underlying factors behind competitive behavior in these experiments. Are participants who compete more capable, more confident, and more tolerant of risk, or are they competing because they enjoy competition per se? In this study, we present an experiment designed to measure individuals’ preferences for competition. Compared to previous work, our experiment rules out risk preferences by design, measures beliefs more precisely, and allows us to measure the magnitude of preferences for competition. In addition, we collect multiple decisions per participant, which lets us evaluate the impact of noisy decision-making. We find strong evidence that many individuals possess preferences for competition. Most participants are either reliably competition-seeking or competition averse, and their choices are highly consistent with expected utility maximization. We also find that preferences for competition depend on the number of competitors but not on the participants’ gender.
    Date: 2022–08
  2. By: Mark A. Andor; James Cox; Andreas Gerster; Michael Price; Stephan Sommer; Lukas Tomberg
    Abstract: We investigate how locus of control beliefs – the extent to which individuals attribute control over events in their life to themselves as opposed to outside factors – affect prosocial behavior and the private provision of public goods. We begin by developing a conceptual framework showing how locus of control beliefs serve as a weight placed on the returns from one’s own contributions (impure altruism) and others contributions (pure altruism). Using multiple data sets from Germany and the U.S., we show that individuals who relate consequences to their own behavior are more likely to contribute to climate change mitigation, to donate money and in-kind gifts to charitable causes, to share money with others, to cast a vote in parliamentary elections, and to donate blood. Our results provide comprehensive evidence that locus of control beliefs affect prosocial behavior.
    JEL: D03 D12 Q48 Q50
    Date: 2022–08
  3. By: Chad W. Kendall; Constantin Charles
    Abstract: We study the generation, transmission, and effects of causal narratives - narratives which describe a (potentially incorrect) causal relationship between variables. In a controlled experiment, we show that exogenously generated causal narratives manipulate the beliefs and actions of subjects in ways predicted by theory. We then show how to ‘grow’ these types of narratives organically by asking subjects who observe a dataset of variables to advise future subjects on what actions to take. Subjects have a strict preference to share their homegrown narratives with other subjects, who are then persuaded by them. Finally, we show that factual, statistical information does not eliminate the power of causal narratives.
    JEL: D03 D90
    Date: 2022–08
  4. By: Warabud Suppalarkbunlue; Sartja Duangchaiyoosook; Varunee Khruapradit; Weerachart Kilenthong
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of material incentive motivation on the working memory performance of kindergartners using a large-scale randomized controlled trial covering 7,123 children from 19 provinces of Thailand. This study measures working memory of young children using the digit span task. The first gfinding is that material incentive motivation raises the working memory performance of young children (p
    Keywords: Working memory; Material incentive motivation; Extrinsic motivation; Early childhood; School readiness; Skill measurementm
    Date: 2022–08

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