nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2023‒07‒17
six papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. A Real Effort vs. Standard Public Goods Experiment: Overall More All-or-Nothing, Lower Average Contributions and Men Become More Selfish in the Effort-Loss Frame By Tobias Schütze; Philipp C. Wichardt; Philipp Christoph Wichardt
  2. No response to changes in marginal incentives in one-shot public good experiments By Natalie Struwe; Esther Blanco; James M. Walker
  3. Dark versus Light Personality Types and Moral Choice By David L. Dickinson
  4. Greenwashing your personality By Fabienne Cantner; Christoph Drobner; Sebastian J. Goerg
  5. How beautiful people see the world: Cooperativeness judgments of and by beautiful people By Adam Zylbersztejn; Zakaria Babutsidze; Nobuyuki Hanaki; Astrid Hopfensitz
  6. Measuring regret theory in the health and financial domain By Andersson, Henrik; Scholtz, Henrik; Zheng, Jiakun

  1. By: Tobias Schütze; Philipp C. Wichardt; Philipp Christoph Wichardt
    Abstract: Many environment related public goods require investment of time or effort rather than simply money. Yet, most experimental studies on public good games focus on a distribution of money. In the present paper, we report results from an experiment (N=181) comparing an effort based public goods game (both in gain/loss frame) to a standard (gain/loss) public goods game. We find lower average contributions and more free-riders in the effort treatments. These differences are highly significant statistically and in terms of effects size; the most notable effect showing for men in the loss frame (comparing standard vs. effort, contributions drop from 76.7% to 17.0%, free-riders increase from 8.3% to 82.6%, full-contributors drop from 50.0% to 13.0%). The findings suggest that the provision of environmental public goods faces more impediments than common experimental findings indicate. Moreover, they suggest that especially men become more self-focused when required to mitigate a loss with effort. Given that many environmental public goods are about avoiding losses by taking action and that most political decision makers are still men, the latter result seems to be relevant from a policy perspective.
    Keywords: public goods, real effort, climate change, loss aversion, gender effects
    JEL: C91 D91 H41 Q54
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Natalie Struwe; Esther Blanco; James M. Walker
    Abstract: We report novel results from changes in the marginal per capita return (MPCR) in a oneshot public good game where participants make a single provision decision. Data was collected using three “data collection processes”: an online experiment conducted on Prolific, an online experiment conducted with a subject pool of university students, and an experiment implemented following the conventional procedures of the economic laboratory with university students. In three between-subject treatment conditions, we confront participants from each of these three samples with either a low MPCR of 0.4, a high MPCR of 0.8 holding constant the individual endowment, or a high MPCR of 0.8 reducing the individual endowment to hold constant maximum possible group earnings. Based on a total sample size of 952 participants, we find that, unlike results from previous experiments where subjects make multiple contribution decisions in varying experimental designs, contributions to the public good are not different for the different MPCR conditions we study.We consider these results to be highly relevant in highlighting the limits to our understanding of cooperative behavior for settings without repeated interactions.
    Keywords: Voluntary contribution mechanism, Public goods, Marginal per capita return, Social dilemma, Experiments
    JEL: C91 C92 H41
    Date: 2023–08
  3. By: David L. Dickinson
    Abstract: Dark personality traits have been linked to behaviors commonly understood as unethical, such as fraud, bribe-taking, and marital infidelity. Presumably, more “light” personality traits may be associated with lesser tendencies to be unethical, but many individuals also possess both light and dark trait characteristics. This paper reports results from a preregistered study of over 2400 participants who completed validated short-form personality instruments to assess dark and light personality trait measures—the dark tetrad and a light “triad” of 3 personality dimensions were measured. Furthermore, participants completed 3 tasks of interest that contribute to an understanding or one’s ethics: a task assessing prosociality, a task that presents a monetary temptation to be dishonest, and a hypothetical moral dilemma task. The results overall support the hypotheses that dark personality traits predict lower levels of prosociality, higher likelihood of dishonesty, and an increased willingness to make immoral choices overall. Potential mechanisms and implications are examined. Key Words: Ethics, dark personality, moral choice, experiments
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Fabienne Cantner (Technical University of Munich (TUMCS)); Christoph Drobner (Technical University of Munich (TUMCS)); Sebastian J. Goerg (Technical University of Munich (TUMCS, SOM))
    Abstract: Behaving more sustainable has been shown to signal cooperativeness in social dilemmas. We investigate whether people exploit this apparent signaling value by in ating their intention to behave sustainably without changing their actual behavior. We explore this question in an online experiment in which participants self-report the importance of sustainability in their daily lives before engaging in a prisoner's dilemma game. Using a between-subjects design, we manipulate whether participants have the opportunity to adjust their self-reported sustainability scores after receiving instructions for the game. The results show that almost 30% of participants increase their sustainability scores in anticipation of higher transfers from their matched partners. However, this greenwashing strategy proves to be unsuccessful, as higher sustainability scores do not lead to higher transfers.
    Keywords: Greenwashing, Social Dilemma, Signaling, Sustainability
    JEL: C91 H41 Q50
    Date: 2023–06
  5. By: Adam Zylbersztejn (Univ Lyon 2, Université Lumière Lyon 2, GATE UMR 5824, 69130 Ecully, France; research fellow at Vistula University Warsaw (AFiBV), Warsaw, Poland); Zakaria Babutsidze (SKEMA Business School, Université Côte d’Azur (GREDEG) and OFCE, Sciences Po Paris); Nobuyuki Hanaki (Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University); Astrid Hopfensitz (Emlyon Business School and GATE, Ecully, France)
    Abstract: Perceived beauty is one of the strongest predictors of perceived cooperativeness, causing the “beauty bias”. Through a large three-step incentivized behavioral and rating experiment (N=357), we study (1) the relevance of beauty ratings for predicting cooperativeness in an incentivized game and (2) the beauty bias in incentivized predictions of cooperativeness. We additionally (3) investigate if one’s beauty influences the beauty bias in predictions of cooperativenes of others. Our findings demonstrate the robustness of the beauty bias despite its irrelevance for making accurate predictions. We further observe that individuals are affected by the beauty bias irrespective of their beauty. Overall, the results highlight the importance of strong institutions that protect individuals from falling prey to the beauty bias.
    Keywords: cooperation, beauty, perception, hidden action game, experiment
    JEL: C72 D83
    Date: 2023
  6. By: Andersson, Henrik; Scholtz, Henrik; Zheng, Jiakun
    Abstract: This paper applies an experimental design developed by Bleichrodt et al. (2010) to test the key assumption of original regret theory (Loomes and Sugden, 1982): convexity of the regret function. We elicit preferences for financial and health outcomes for about 1, 000 subjects, yielding some evidence of minor dierences between financial domain and health domain. While aggregate results seem to support regret theory at first sight, individual-level analyses show that the majority of subjects violate the predictions of regret theory with a convex regret function. Our results thus challenge the predictive accuracy of regret theory as a descriptive theory of decision-making under risk.
    Keywords: Original regret theory; Decision under uncertainty; Utility measurement; Online experiments
    JEL: C91 D81
    Date: 2023–06–22

This nep-cbe issue is ©2023 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.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.