nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2007‒03‒31
six papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Field Experiments: A Bridge Between Lab and Naturally-Occurring Data By John A. List
  2. An Experimental Investigation of Age Discrimination in the Spanish Labour Market By Peter A. Riach; Judith Rich
  3. Gender, Affect and Intertemporal Consistency: An Experimental Approach By Kendra N. McLeish; Robert J. Oxoby
  4. Using Behavioral Economic Field Experiments at a Large Motor Carrier: The Context and Design of the Truckers and Turnover Project By Stephen V. Burks; Jeffrey Carpenter; Lorenz Goette; Kristen Monaco; Aldo Rustichini; Kay Porter
  5. Framing Effects in Political Decision Making: Evidence From a Natural Voting Experiment By Bütler, Monika; Maréchal, Michel André
  6. Incentive-based approaches to sustainable fisheries By Grafton, Quentin R.; Arnason, Ragnar; Bjorndal, Trond; Campbell, David; Campbell, Harry F.; Clark, Colin W.; Connor, Robin; Dupont, Diane P.; Hannesson, Rognvaldur; Hillborn, Ray; Kirkley, James E.; Kompas, Tom; Lane, Daniel E.; Munro, Gordon R.; Pascoe, Sean; Squires, Dale; Steinshamn, Stein Ivar; Turris, Bruce R.; Weninger, Quinn

  1. By: John A. List
    Abstract: Laboratory experiments have been used extensively in economics in the past several decades to lend both positive and normative insights into a myriad of important economic issues. This study discusses a related approach that has increasingly grown in prominence of late--field experiments. I argue that field experiments serve as a useful bridge between data generated in the lab and empirical studies using naturally-occurring data. In discussing this relationship, I highlight that field experiments can yield important insights into economic theory and provide useful guidance to policymakers. I also draw attention to an important methodological contribution of field experiments: they provide an empirical account of behavioral principles that are shared across different domains. In this regard, at odds with conventional wisdom, I argue that representativeness of the environment, rather than representative of the sampled population, is the most crucial variable in determining generalizability of results for a large class of experimental laboratory games.
    JEL: C9 C90 C91 C92 C93 D01 H41 Q5 Q51
    Date: 2007–03
  2. By: Peter A. Riach (IZA (Research Fellow)); Judith Rich (University of Portsmouth and IZA)
    Abstract: In a field experiment of age discrimination, pairs of men aged twenty-seven and forty-seven, inquired, by email, about employment as waiters in twenty five Spanish towns. Discrimination against the older waiters, corresponded to the highest rates ever recorded anywhere, by written tests, for racial discrimination.
    Keywords: age, discrimination, employment, field experiment, hiring
    JEL: J71 C93
    Date: 2007–03
  3. By: Kendra N. McLeish (University of Calgary); Robert J. Oxoby (University of Calgary and IZA)
    Abstract: We conduct experiments in which participants made multiple intertemporal decisions throughout a seven week period. In addition to exploring dynamic consistency and the stability of single period discount rates, our experiments introduce a manipulation to identify the role of positive and negative mood/affect in intertemporal choice. Our results demonstrate that, while individuals’ single period discount rates are stable over time, there is evidence of dynamic inconsistency. While we find no differences in the discount rates of men and women, we find gender differences in the character of hyperbolic discounting in which women display greater patience in their "present bias". We also identify a gender-mood interaction: Negative mood in women yields increased impulsiveness while inducing positive affect in women or affect (positive or negative) in men yields little change.
    Keywords: intertemporal, choice, experiments, gender, affect
    JEL: C91 D91 J16
    Date: 2007–03
  4. By: Stephen V. Burks; Jeffrey Carpenter; Lorenz Goette; Kristen Monaco; Aldo Rustichini; Kay Porter
    Abstract: The Truckers and Turnover Project is a statistical case study of a single firm and its employees which matches proprietary personnel and operational data to new data collected by the researchers to create a two-year panel study of a large subset of new hires. The project's most distinctive innovation is the data collection process which combines traditional survey instruments with behavioral economics experiments. The survey data include information on demographics, risk and loss aversion, time preference, planning, non-verbal IQ, and the MPQ personality profile. The data collected by behavioral economics experiments include risk and loss aversion, time preferences (discount rates), backward induction, patience, and the preference for cooperation in a social dilemma setting. Subjects will be followed over two years of their work lives. Among the major design goals are to discover the extent to which the survey and experimental measures are correlated, and whether and how much predictive power, with respect to key on-the-job outcome variables, is added by the behavioral measures. The panel study of new hires is being carried out against the backdrop of a second research component, the development of a more conventional in-depth statistical case study of the cooperating firm and its employees. This is a high-turnover service industry setting, and the focus is on the use of survival analysis to model the flow of new employees into and out of employment, and on the correct estimation of the tenure-productivity curve for new hires, accounting for the selection effects of the high turnover.
    JEL: C82 C93 J63 L92
    Date: 2007–03
  5. By: Bütler, Monika; Maréchal, Michel André
    Abstract: This paper analyzes a recent ballot in which two virtually identical popular initiatives, both demanding a decrease in the legal age of retirement in Switzerland, led to differences in approval rates of nearly seven percentage points. Based on this unique natural experiment, the existence of emphasis framing effects is tested for and their determinants are identified outside of the controlled settings of laboratories. Nonetheless, the analyzed setting allows for considerably more control than usually available in the field: All party, government and interest group recommendations were symmetric for both initiatives, and the simultaneous vote rules out potential variation of individual preferences and compositional changes of the electorate over time. Using community and individual level data it is shown that the difference in approval rates is largely due to the different emphases in the initiatives' titles.
    Keywords: bounded rationality; direct democracy; framing effect; natural experiment; pension reform; voting
    JEL: D1 D72 H55
    Date: 2007–03
  6. By: Grafton, Quentin R.; Arnason, Ragnar; Bjorndal, Trond; Campbell, David; Campbell, Harry F.; Clark, Colin W.; Connor, Robin; Dupont, Diane P.; Hannesson, Rognvaldur; Hillborn, Ray; Kirkley, James E.; Kompas, Tom; Lane, Daniel E.; Munro, Gordon R.; Pascoe, Sean; Squires, Dale; Steinshamn, Stein Ivar; Turris, Bruce R.; Weninger, Quinn
    Abstract: The failures of traditional target-species management have led many to propose an ecosystem approach to fisheries to promote sustainability. The ecosystem approach is necessary, especially to account for fishery–ecosystem interactions, but by itself is not sufficient to address two important factors contributing to unsustainable fisheries: inappropriate incentives bearing on fishers and the ineffective governance that frequently exists in commercial, developed fisheries managed primarily by total-harvest limits and input controls. We contend that much greater emphasis must be placed on fisher motivation when managing fisheries. Using evidence from more than a dozen natural experiments in commercial fisheries, we argue that incentive-based approaches that better specify community and individual harvest or territorial rights and price ecosystem services and that are coupled with public research, monitoring, and effective oversight promote sustainable fisheries.
    Keywords: Sustainable fisheries, incentive-based approaches
    Date: 2007–03–23

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