nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2021‒01‒18
three papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Fraud Deterrence Institutions Reduce Intrinsic Honesty By Galeotti, Fabio; Maggian, Valeria; Villeval, Marie Claire
  2. Introduction: Whose Social Problems? By Fontaine, Philippe; Pooley, Jefferson
  3. Detecting Drivers of Behavior at an Early Age: Evidence from a Longitudinal Field Experiment By Marco Castillo; John List; Ragan Petrie; Anya Samek

  1. By: Galeotti, Fabio (CNRS, GATE); Maggian, Valeria (Ca' Foscari University of Venice); Villeval, Marie Claire (CNRS, GATE)
    Abstract: Deterrence institutions are widely used in modern societies to discourage rule violations but whether they have an impact beyond their immediate scope of application is usually ignored. Using a quasi-experiment, we found evidence of spillover effects across contexts. We identified fraudsters and non-fraudsters on public transport who were or not exposed to ticket inspections by the transport company. We then measured the intrinsic honesty of the same persons in a new, unrelated context where they could misappropriate money. Instead of having an expected educative effect across contexts, the exposure to deterrence practices increased unethical behavior of fraudsters but also, strikingly, of non-fraudsters, especially when inspection teams were larger. Learning about the prevailing norm is the most likely channel of this spillover effect.
    Keywords: deterrence institutions, intrinsic honesty, spillovers, quasi-experiment
    JEL: C93 K42 D02 D91
    Date: 2020–12
  2. By: Fontaine, Philippe; Pooley, Jefferson (Muhlenberg College)
    Abstract: The social sciences underwent rapid development in postwar America. Problems once framed in social terms gradually became redefined as individual with regards to scope and remedy, with economics and psychology winning influence over the other social sciences. By the 1970s, both economics and psychology had spread their intellectual remits wide: psychology's concepts suffused everyday language, while economists entered a myriad of policy debates. Psychology and economics contributed to, and benefited from, a conception of society that was increasingly skeptical of social explanations and interventions. Sociology, in particular, lost intellectual and policy ground to its peers, even regarding 'social problems' that the discipline long considered its settled domain. This introduction frames the book's ten chapters, each of which explore this shift refracted through a single 'problem': the family, crime, urban concerns, education, discrimination, poverty, addiction, war, and mental health, examining the effects an increasingly individualized lens has had on the way we see these problems.
    Date: 2020–12–09
  3. By: Marco Castillo; John List; Ragan Petrie; Anya Samek
    Abstract: We use field experiments with nearly 900 children to investigate how skills developed at ages 3-5 drive later-life outcomes. We find that skills map onto three distinct factors - cognitive skills, executive functions, and economic preferences. Returning to the children up to 7 years later, we find that executive functions, but not cognitive skills, predict the likelihood of receiving disciplinary referrals. Economic preferences have an independent effect: children who displayed impatience at ages 3-5 were more likely to receive disciplinary referrals. Random assignment to a parenting program reduced disciplinary referrals. This effect was not mediated by skills or preferences.
    Date: 2021

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