nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2009‒08‒02
three papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Preference Elicitation under Oath By Nicolas Jacquemet; Robert-Vincent Joule; Stéphane Luchini; Jason F. Shogren
  2. Enforcement of Contribution Norms in Public Good Games with Heterogeneous Populations By Reuben, Ernesto; Riedl, Arno
  3. Gender and Competition By Booth, Alison L.

  1. By: Nicolas Jacquemet (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris); Robert-Vincent Joule (Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale - Université de Provence); Stéphane Luchini (GREQAM - Groupe de Recherche en Economie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille); Jason F. Shogren (University of Wyoming - Department of Economics and Finance, Umeå University - Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Eliciting sincere preferences for non-market goods remains a challenge due to hypothetical bias - the so-called gap between hypothetical monetary values and real economic commitments. The gap arises because people either overstate hypothetical values or understate real commitments or a combination of both. Herein we examine whether the traditional real-world institution of the solenn oath can improve preference elicitation. Applying the social psychology theory on the oath as a truth-telling-commitment device, we ask our bidders to swear on their honour to give honest answers prior to participating in an incentive-compatible second-price auction. Results from our induced valuation testbed treatments suggest the oath-only auctions outperform all other auctions (real, hypothetical, and real-with-oath). In our homegrown valuation treatments eliciting preferences for dolphin protection, the oath-only design induced people to treat as binding both their budget constraint (i.e., lower values on the high end of the value distribution) and participation constraint (i.e., positive values rather than zero bids used to opt out of auction). Our oath-only results are robust to extra training on the auction and to consequential wording about the reason for the oath.
    Keywords: Oath, commitment, Vickrey auction, hypothetical bias, induced values, homegrown values.
    Date: 2009–06
  2. By: Reuben, Ernesto (Columbia University); Riedl, Arno (Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Economic and social interaction takes place between individuals with heterogeneous characteristics. We investigate experimentally the emergence and informal enforcement of different contribution norms to a public good in homogeneous and different heterogeneous groups. When punishment is not allowed all groups converge towards free-riding. With punishment, contributions increase and differ distinctly across groups and individuals with different induced characteristics. We show econometrically that these differences are not accidental but enforced by punishment. The enforced contribution norms are related to fairness ideas of equity regarding contribution possibilities but not regarding earnings. Individuals with different characteristics tacitly agree on the norm to be enforced, even if this leads to large payoff differences. Our results also emphasize the role of details of the environment that may alter focal contribution norms in an important way.
    Keywords: public good, heterogeneous groups, punishment, cooperation, social norms, norm enforcement
    JEL: H41 C92 Z13
    Date: 2009–07
  3. By: Booth, Alison L. (Australian National University)
    Abstract: In almost all European Union countries, the gender wage gap is increasing across the wages distribution. In this lecture I briefly survey some recent studies aiming to explain why apparently identical women and men receive such different returns and focus especially on those incorporating pyschological factors as an explanation of the gender gap. Research areas with high potential returns to further analysis are identified. Several examples from my own recent experimental work with Patrick Nolen are also presented. These try to distinguish between the role of nature and nurture in affecting behavioural differences between men and women that might lead to gender wage gaps.
    Keywords: glass ceiling, experimental economics, personality differences
    JEL: C9 J16 J71
    Date: 2009–07

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