nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2019‒03‒25
three papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Values of Economists Matter in the Art and Science of Economics By van Dalen, Harry
  2. The Impact of Public Libraries on School Achievement: The Case of Medellin By Canavire-Bacarreza, Gustavo; Díaz Serrano, Lluís; Corrales-Espinosa, Alejandro
  3. Credence Goods Markets and the Informational Value of New Media: A Natural Field Experiment By Kerschbamer, Rudolf; Neururer, Daniel; Sutter, Matthias

  1. By: van Dalen, Harry (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: What role do personal values play in the practice of economists? By means of a survey among economists working inside and outside academia in the Netherlands, we present novel insights on their personal values, how these differ from the average citizen, and how values impact their economic views and their methodological choices. Three overarching values summarize the value structure of economists: achievement, serving the public interest, and conformity to rules. Subsequent tests are performed to see whether these values affect (1) their opinion on economic propositions and (2) their attitudes towards methodological principles in economics. For the majority of economic propositions, personal values matter. Especially the value of serving the public interest has a strong effect on their economic view. Furthermore, it seems that economists who value achievement are the ones who are more likely to embrace mainstream methodological principles: thinking predominantly in terms of efficiency, rationality, and competition, believing that economic knowledge is objective and transparently produced and in agreement with Milton Friedman’s view on positive economics. Female economists are at some notable points less convinced of market solutions and have more trust in the government in serving the public interest.
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Canavire-Bacarreza, Gustavo; Díaz Serrano, Lluís; Corrales-Espinosa, Alejandro
    Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between public libraries and school achievement. Medellin counts on a system of public libraries. However, public library parks are part of a separate system. The library parks are understood as cultural centers for social development that seek to encourage the meeting of citizens and to develop educational activities that involve the digital culture. The project began in 2004 and was consolidated until 2011 with the introduction of 9 different library parks. Using an approach of differences-in-differences and matching techniques, we explore the effect of the library parks in Medellin on school performance. We found a significant effect on the performance of the language test in the students treated, especially in the long-term specification. Key Words: Public libraries, school achievement, impact evaluation, public investment. JEL Classification: C33, H54, H76, I2, I26.
    Keywords: Biblioteques públiques, Rendiment escolar, Inversions públiques, Colòmbia, 37 - Educació. Ensenyament. Formació. Temps lliure,
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Kerschbamer, Rudolf (University of Innsbruck); Neururer, Daniel (University of Innsbruck); Sutter, Matthias (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)
    Abstract: Credence goods markets are characterized by pronounced informational asymmetries between consumers and expert sellers. As a consequence, consumers are often exploited and market efficiency is threatened. However, in the digital age, it has become easy and cheap for consumers to self-diagnose their needs using specialized webpages or to access other consumers' reviews on social media platforms in search for trustworthy sellers. We present a natural field experiment that examines the causal effect of information acquisition from new media on the level of sellers' price charges for computer repairs. We find that even a correct self-diagnosis of a consumer about the appropriate repair does not reduce prices, and that an incorrect diagnosis more than doubles them. Internet ratings of repair shops are a good predictor of prices. However, the predictive valued of reviews depends on whether they are judged as reliable or not. For reviews recommended by the platform Yelp we find that good ratings are associated with lower prices and bad ratings with higher prices, while non-recommended reviews have a clearly misleading effect, because non-recommended positive ratings increase the price.
    Keywords: credence goods, fraud, information acquisition, internet, field experiment
    JEL: C93 D82
    Date: 2019–02

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