nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2007‒06‒30
nine papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Cooperation as self-interested reciprocity in the Centipede By Farina, Francesco; Sbriglia, Patrizia
  2. Experimental Investigation of a Cyclic Duopoly Game By Sebastian J. Goerg; Reinhard Selten
  3. What Determines Giving to Hurricane Katrina Victims? Experimental Evidence on Income, Race, and Fairness By Christina M. Fong; Erzo F.P. Luttmer
  4. Anticipated verbal feedback induces altruistic behavior By Ellingsen, Tore; Johannesson, Magnus
  5. Cooperation in the Cockpit: Evidence of Reciprocity and Trust among Swiss Air Force Pilots By Beat Hedinger; Lorenz Goette
  6. Power to the people : evidence from a randomized field experiment of a community-based monitoring project in Uganda By Svensson, Jakob; Bjorkman, Martina
  7. Choquet OK? By John D Hey; Gianna Lotito; Anna Maffioletti
  8. Can gender parity break the glass ceiling? Evidence from a repeated randomized experiment By Berta Esteve-Volart; Manuel F. Bagüés
  9. Gender Differences in Performance in Competitive Environments: Evidence from Professional Tennis Players By Paserman, Marco Daniele

  1. By: Farina, Francesco; Sbriglia, Patrizia
    Abstract: Cooperation is a pervasive social phenomenon but more often than not economic theories have little to say about its causes and consequences. In this paper, we explore the hypothesis that cooperative behaviour might be motivated by purely selfish interest when the “social” payoff in a game is increasing. We report the results of a series of experiments on the centipede game. The experiments are organized in two subsequent steps. Subjects first participate in a 2-period trust game, randomly matched with unknown partners. We apply the strategy method in order to elicit their social preferences. On the basis of their pre-game behaviour, individuals are divided into three main social groups: selfish individuals, pure altruists and reciprocators. At the second step of the experiment, subjects play a repeated 6-move centipede game with increasing final payoff. Each subject plays twice in a low stake and in a high centipede game, and he/she is informed about his/her co-player social preferences. We identify the origin of cooperation within homogeneous and heterogeneous social groups.
    Keywords: social preferences; altruisms; experiments.
    JEL: A10
    Date: 2007–02
  2. By: Sebastian J. Goerg; Reinhard Selten
    Abstract: The notion of a cyclic game has been introduced by Selten and Wooders (2001). They illustrate the concept by the analysis of a cyclic  duopoly game. The experiments reported concern this game. The game was played by eleven matching groups of six players each. The observed choice fre- quencies were compared with the predictions of Nash equilibrium, impulse balance equilibrium (Selten, Abbink and Cox (2005), Selten and Chmura (2007)) and two-sample equilbrium (Osborne and Rubinstein(1998)). Pair- wise comparisons by the Wilcoxon Signed-rank test show that impulse balance equilibrium as well as two-sample equilibrium have a significantly better predictive success than Nash equilibrium. The difference between impulse balance equilibrium and two-sample equilibrium is not   significant.In each matching group three players acted only in uneven periods and   the other three only in even periods. This game has two pure strategy equi- libria in which both types of players behave differently. The data exhibit a weak but significant tendency in the direction of coordination at a   pure strategy equilibrium.
    Keywords: cyclic game duopoly experiment, impulse balance equilibrium, two-sample equilibrium
    JEL: C73 D43 C90
  3. By: Christina M. Fong; Erzo F.P. Luttmer
    Abstract: We investigate determinants of private and public generosity to Katrina victims using an artifactual field experiment. In this experiment, respondents from the general population viewed a short audiovisual presentation that manipulated respondents' perceptions of the income, race, and deservingness of Katrina victims in one of two small cities. Respondents then decided how to split $100 between themselves and a charity helping Katrina victims in this small city. We also collected survey data on subjective support for government spending to help the Katrina victims in the cities. We find, first, that our income manipulation had a significant effect on giving; respondents gave more when they perceived the victims to be poorer. Second, the race and deservingness manipulations had virtually no effect on average giving. Third, the averages mask substantial racial bias among sub-groups of our sample. For instance, the subgroup of whites who identify with their ethnic or racial group strongly biased their giving against blacks. Finally, subjective support for government spending to help Katrina victims was significantly influenced by both our race and deservingness manipulations, but not by the income manipulation. White respondents supported significantly less public spending for black victims and significantly more for victims who were described in more flattering terms, such as being helpful and law-abiding.
    JEL: C93 D63 D64 J71
    Date: 2007–07
  4. By: Ellingsen, Tore (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics); Johannesson, Magnus (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: A distinctive feature of humans compared to other species is the high rate of cooperation with non-kin. One explanation is that humans are motivated by concerns for social esteem. In this paper we experimentally investigate the impact of anticipated verbal feedback on altruistic behavior. We study pairwise interactions in which one subject, the “divider”, decides how to split a sum of money between herself and a recipient. Thereafter, the recipient can send an unrestricted anonymous message to the divider. The subjects’ relationship is anonymous and one-shot to rule out any reputation effects. Compared to a control treatment without feedback messages, donations increase substantially when recipients can communicate. With verbal feedback, the fraction of zero donations decreases from about 40% to about 20%, and there is a corresponding increase in the fraction of equal splits from about 30% to about 50%. Recipients who receive no money almost always express disapproval of the divider, sometimes strongly and in foul language. Following an equal split, almost all recipients praise the divider. The results suggest that anticipated verbal rewards and punishments play a role in promoting altruistic behavior among humans.
    Keywords: Punishment; Approval; Disapproval; Dictator game; Altruism; Communication; Verbal feedback
    JEL: C91 D64
    Date: 2007–06–21
  5. By: Beat Hedinger (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich); Lorenz Goette (Economic Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)
    Abstract: Cooperation between workers is important for firms. Cooperation can be maintained through positive or negative reciprocity between workers. In an environment where cooperation yields high efficiency gains negative reciprocity may, however, result in high costs for firms. Therefore positive reciprocity should be prevailing in these environments. To test this assumption we conduct experiments with Swiss Air Force pilots and a student reference group. We find that pilots’ cooperation is based on stronger positive reciprocal behaviour. We conclude that Swiss Air Force pilots maintain team-work with high levels of positive reciprocity, regardless of the identity of their partner.
    Keywords: Trust, Reciprocity
    JEL: C9
    Date: 2006–10
  6. By: Svensson, Jakob; Bjorkman, Martina
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the importance of strengthening the relationship of accountability between health service providers and citizens for improving access to and quality of health care. How this is to be achieved, and whether it works, however, remain open questions. The paper presents a randomized field experiment on increasing community-based monitoring. As communities began to more extensively monitor the provider, both the quality and quantity of health service provision improved. One year into the program, there are large increases in utilization, significant weight-for-age z-score gains of infants, and markedly lower deaths among children. The findings on staff behavior suggest that the improvements in quality and quantity of health service delivery resulted from an increased effort by the staff to serve the community. Overall, the results suggest that community monitoring can play an important role in improving service delivery when traditional top-down supervision is ineffective.
    Keywords: Health Monitoring & Evaluation,Hou sing & Human Habitats,Health Economics & Finance,Disease Control & Prevention,Health Systems Development & Reform
    Date: 2007–06–01
  7. By: John D Hey; Gianna Lotito; Anna Maffioletti
    Abstract: There is a large theoretical literature in both economics and psychology on decision making under ambiguity (as distinct from risk) and many preference functionals proposed in this literature for describing behaviour in such contexts. However, the empirical literature is scarce and largely confined to testing between various proposed functionals. Using a new design, in which we create genuine ambiguity in the laboratory and can control the amount of ambiguity, we generate data which enables us to estimate several of the proposed preference functionals. In particular, we fit Subjective Expected Utility, Prospect Theory, Choquet Expected Utility, Maximin, Maximax, and Minimum Regret preference functionals, and examine how the fit changes when we vary the ambiguity. We find that the Choquet formulation performs best overall, though it is clear that different decision makers have different functionals. We also identify new decision rules which are not explicitly modelled in the literature.
    Keywords: Ambiguity, Subjective Expected Utility, Prospect Theory, Choquet Expected Utility, Decision Making, Maximin, Maximax, Minimum Regret, Bingo Blower
    JEL: D81
    Date: 2007–06
  8. By: Berta Esteve-Volart; Manuel F. Bagüés
    Abstract: This paper studies whether the gender composition of recruiting committees matters. We make use of the exceptional evidence provided by Spanish public examinations, where the allocation of candidates to evaluating committees is random. We analyze how the chances of success of 150,000 male and female candidates to the four main Corps of the Spanish Judiciary over 1987-2005 were affected by the gender of their evaluators. We find that a female (male) candidate is significantly less likely to pass the exam whenever she is randomly assigned to a committee where the share of female (male) evaluators is relatively greater. Evidence from multiple choice tests reveals that both male dominated committees and female dominated committees are gender biased. Interestingly, this bias has not changed significantly over time and does not depend on the degree of feminization of the position.
  9. By: Paserman, Marco Daniele
    Abstract: This paper uses data from nine tennis Grand Slam tournaments played between 2005 and 2007 to assess whether men and women respond differently to competitive pressure in a setting with large monetary rewards. In particular, it asks whether the quality of the game deteriorates as the stakes become higher. The paper conducts two parallel analyses, one based on aggregate set-level data, and one based on detailed point-by-point data, which is available for a selected subsample of matches in four of the nine tournaments under examination. The set-level analysis indicates that both men and women perform less well in the final and decisive set of the match. This result is robust to controls for the length of the match and to the inclusion of match and player-specific fixed effects. The drop in performance of women in the decisive set is slightly larger than that of men, but the difference is not statistically significant at conventional levels. On the other hand, the detailed point-by-point analysis reveals that, relative to men, women are substantially more likely to make unforced errors at crucial junctures of the match. Data on serve speed, on first serve percentages and on rally length suggest that women play a more conservative and less aggressive strategy as points become more important. I present a simple game-theoretic model that shows that a less aggressive strategy may be a player’s best response to an increase in the intrinsic probability of making unforced errors.
    Keywords: Gender differences; performance under pressure; tennis
    JEL: J16 J24 J71 L83 M50
    Date: 2007–06

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