nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2015‒02‒11
28 papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Are the elder more effective implementing punishment? Experimental evidence from urban Ghana By Asiedu, Edward; Ibanez, Marcela
  2. Ethnicity and Gender Differences in Risk, Ambiguity Attitude By Banerjee, Debosree
  3. DO SELF-THEORIES EXPLAIN OVERCONFIDENCE AND FINANCIAL RISK TAKING? A field experiment. By Bertrand Koebel; André Schmitt; Sandrine Spaeter
  4. Communication and Trust in Principal-Team Relationships: Experimental Evidence By Kleine, Marco; Kube, Sebastian
  5. The role of information in the application for merit-based scholarships: Evidence from a randomized field experiment By Herber, Stefanie P.
  6. Transaction Costs, the Opportunity Cost of Time and Procrastination in Charitable Giving By Stephen Knowles; Maroš Servátka
  7. Ambiguous Incentives and the Persistence of Effort : Experimental Evidence By Robin M. Hogarth; Marie Claire Villeval
  8. Looking ahead: subjective time perception and individual discounting By W. David Bradford; Paul Dolan; Matteo M. Galizzi
  9. Hierarchy, Coercion, and Exploitation : An Experimental Analysis By Nikos Nikiforakis; Jörg Oechssler; Anwar Shah
  10. Eliciting taxpayer preferences increases tax compliance By Jan-Emmanuel De Neve; Cait Lamberton; Michael I. Norton
  11. Dynamic Behavior and Player Types in Majoritarian Multi-Battle Contests By Alan Gelder; Dan Kovenock
  12. Comparisons of Ambiguous Experiments By Tomala , Tristan; Gensbittel , Fabien
  13. Motivation and Incentives in Education: Evidence from a Summer Reading Experiment By Jonathan Guryan; James S. Kim; Kyung Park
  14. Does poor neighbourhood reputation create a neighbourhood effect on employment? The results of a field experiment in the UK By Rebecca Tunstall; Anne Green; Ruth Lupton; Simon Watmough; Katie Bates
  15. Can Willingness-To-Pay Values be Manipulated? Evidences from an Experiment on Organic Food in China By Xiaohua, Yu; Binjian, Yan; Zhifeng, Gao
  16. Principal-Agent Settings with Random Shocks By Rubin, Jared; Sheremeta, Roman
  17. The weaker sex? Gender differences in punishment across Matrilineal and Patriarchal Societies By Asiedu, Edward; Ibanez, Marcela
  18. Who’s Favored by Evaluative Voting ? An Experiment Conducted During the 2012 French Presidential Election By Antoinette Baujard; Frédéric Gavrel; Herrade Igersheim; Jean-François Laslier; Isabelle Lebon
  19. Ready for boarding? The effects of a boarding school for disadvantaged students By Behaghel, Luc; de Chaisemartin, Clement; Gurgand, Marc
  20. Does Investors' Personality Influence their Portfolios? By Alessandro Bucciol; Luca Zarri
  21. The Persistence of Moral Suasion and Economic Incentives: Field Experimental Evidence from Energy Demand By Koichiro Ito; Takanori Ida; Makoto Tanaka
  22. Risk and Time Preference on Schooling:Experimental Evidence from a Low-Income Country By Yuki Tanaka; Takashi Yamano
  23. Spillovers of Prosocial Motivation: Evidence from an Intervention Study on Blood Donors By Bruhin, Adrian; Götte, Lorenz; Haenni, Simon; Jiang, Lingqing
  24. Just a few cents each day: can fixed regular deposits overcome savings constraints? By Anett John
  25. Understanding Ethnic Identity in Africa: Evidence from the Implicit Association Test (IAT) By Sara Lowes; Nathan Nunn; James A. Robinson; Jonathan Weigel
  26. Sophisticated Bidders In Beauty-Contest Auctions By Stefano Galavotti; Luigi Moretti; Paola Valbonesi
  27. Susceptibility and influence in social media word-of-mouth By Claussen, Jörg; Engelstätter, Benjamin; Ward, Michael R.
  28. The effects of prospective mate quality on investments in healthy body weight among single women By Harris, Matthew; Cronin, Christopher

  1. By: Asiedu, Edward; Ibanez, Marcela
    Abstract: To study the persistence of cultural norms that mandate respect towards the elder, we conducted an artefactual field experiment in two cities in Ghana. Using a public good game with third-party punishment, we find that punisher's age is an important determinant of cooperation. Our results indicate the elder are more efficient using punishment than youngsters.
    Keywords: Field experiment, status, age, punishment, public goods, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, Public Economics, H41, C92, C93,
    Date: 2014–07
  2. By: Banerjee, Debosree
    Abstract: We analyze gender difference in risk and ambiguity attitude of subjects across two different ethnicities that differ in the degree of female empowerment. Santal is a patriarchal tribe and Khasi is a matrilineal tribe with men and women being the social head in their respective societies. We compare subject’s willingness to take up risk and ambiguity for themselves and on behalf of others. Besides we analyze the differences in risk and ambiguity attitude of subjects from these societies. Our findings show that women in both societies are significantly more risk averse, but not ambiguity averse. Patriarchal male and female are more risk averse in group risk than in individual risk but matrilineal subjects are not. Therefore, higher risk aversion in group is an ethnic trait among Santals. Comparing the between ethnicity differences we find that matrilineal subjects are more risk averse than patriarchal subjects. Regarding attitudes towards ambiguity, we did not find any gender or ethnicity differences.
    Keywords: Risk and Ambiguity, Gender, Matrilineal and Patriarchal society, Field experiment, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, Risk and Uncertainty, C93, D81, J15, J16,
    Date: 2014–08
  3. By: Bertrand Koebel; André Schmitt; Sandrine Spaeter
    Abstract: How people develop beliefs about themselves (self-theories) plays an important role on motivation and achievement as shown by Carol Dweck’s life-long research. In this paper, we conduct a field experiment to investigate whether self-theories impact overconfidence and risk taking. Self-theories deal with how an individual perceives some of her attributes such as intelligence, personality or moral character. In this paper, we are interested by how people perceive their mindset (fixed or growth). All decisions taken by young Vietnamese executives were incentivized to identify their degree of overconfidence and risk taking. As in previous studies, we find that subjects exhibit significant overconfidence. We also find that fixed mindset subjects are less over-confident than growth mindset persons, the latter earning the highest incomes in our experiment. Finally, we find correlation between risk taking and overconfidence. However, contrary to the existing results in the literature on behavioral finance, in our experiment, the higher the degree of overconfidence, the lower the investment in risky lotteries. Gender does not seem to have any impact on neither overconfidence nor risk-taking behavior.
    Keywords: overconfidence, experiment; self-theories, mindset, risk-taking.
    JEL: C93 D81
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Kleine, Marco (Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition); Kube, Sebastian (University of Bonn)
    Abstract: We study how upward communication – from workers to managers – about individual efforts affects the effectiveness of gift exchange as a contract-enforcement device for work teams. Our findings suggest that the use of such self-assessments can be detrimental to workers' performance. In the controlled environment of a laboratory gift-exchange experiment, our workers regularly overstate their own contribution to the joint team output. Misreporting seems to spread distrust within the team of workers, as well as between managers and workers. This manifests itself in managers being less generous with workers' payments, and in workers being more sensitive to the perceived kindness of their relative wage payments. By varying the source and degree of information about individual efforts between treatments, we see that precise knowledge about workers' actual contributions to the team output is beneficial for the success of gift-exchange relationships. Yet, workers' self-assessments can be a problematic tool to gather this information.
    Keywords: communication, gift exchange, incomplete contracts, reciprocity, performance appraisal, self-assessment, work team, laboratory experiment
    JEL: C92 J33 M52
    Date: 2015–01
  5. By: Herber, Stefanie P.
    Abstract: If information asymmetries prevent talented students of non-academic backgrounds from applying for merit-based aid, the full potential of qualified youth will not be unfolded and social selectivity is likely to corroborate. This paper analyzes whether information asymmetries exist and decrease students' likelihood to apply for merit-based scholarships. In a randomized field experiment, I expose more than 5,000 German students either to general information on federally funded scholarships or additionally to tailored information on details of the application process, conveyed by a similar role model. Both treatments reduced information asymmetries significantly. The role model treatment did significantly increase non-academic and male students' application probabilities for federally funded merit-based scholarships. Providing only general information on the scholarship system triggered participants' own information search for alternative funding sources and increased application rates for other, not federally funded scholarships.
    Keywords: information asymmetries,student financial aid,merit scholarships,role model,field experiment
    JEL: I22 I24 D83
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Stephen Knowles; Maroš Servátka (University of Canterbury)
    Abstract: We conduct a laboratory experiment to study whether giving people more time to donate to charity reduces donations. People may intend to donate, but because of the transaction costs of doing so, postpone making the payment until they are less busy, and having postponed making the donation once, keep postponing. We conjecture that transaction costs will have a greater effect on donations if the solicitation is received when the opportunity cost of time is high. We find evidence of a transaction cost reducing donations, with the size of this effect depending on the opportunity cost of time, but no statistically significant evidence that giving people more time to donate increases procrastination and thus reduces donations.
    Keywords: charitable giving; dictator game; transaction costs; opportunity cost of time; procrastination, inattention
    JEL: C91 D64
    Date: 2015–01–21
  7. By: Robin M. Hogarth (Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, Ramon Trias Fargas, 25–27, 08005 Barcelona, Spain); Marie Claire Villeval (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69007, France ; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne,F-69130 Ecully, France)
    Abstract: When the assignment of incentives is uncertain, we study how the regularity and frequency of rewards and risk attitudes influence participation and effort. We contrast three incentive schemes in a real-effort experiment in which individuals decide when to quit : a continuous incentive scheme and two intermittent ones, fixed and random. In all treatments, we introduce a regime shift by withdrawing monetary rewards after the same unknown number of periods. In such an ambiguous environment, we show that less able and more risk averse players are less persistent in effort. Intermittent incentives lead to a greater persistence of effort, while continuous incentives entail exit as soon as payment stops. Randomness increases both earlier and later exiting. This selection effect in terms of ability and risk attitudes combined with the impact of intermittent rewards on persistence lead to an increase in mean performance after the regime shift when incentives are intermittent.
    Keywords: Incentives, intermittent reinforcement, randomness, effort, quitting, learning, experiment
    JEL: C92 D84 M54 J31
    Date: 2014
  8. By: W. David Bradford; Paul Dolan; Matteo M. Galizzi
    Abstract: Time discounting is at the heart of economic decision-making. We disentangle hyperbolic discounting from subjective time perception using experimental data from incentive-compatible tests to measure time preferences, and a set of experimental tasks to measure time perception. The two behavioural parameters may be related to two factors that affect how we look ahead to future events. The first is that some component of time preferences reflect hyperbolic discounting. The second factor is that non-constant discounting may also be a reflection of subjective time perception: if people’s perception of time follows a near logarithmic process (as all other physiological perceptions such as heat, sound, and light do) then all existing estimates of individual discounting will be mis-measured and incorrectly suggest “hyperbolic” discounting, even if discounting over subjective time is constant. To test these hypotheses, we empirically estimate the two distinct behavioural parameters using data collected from 178 participants to an experiment conducted at the London School of Economics Behavioural Research Lab. The results support the hypothesis that apparent non-constant discounting is largely a reflection of subjective time perception.
    Keywords: Time preferences; Time perception; Hyperbolic discounting
    JEL: D1 D10 D91
    Date: 2014–01
  9. By: Nikos Nikiforakis (Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia; CNRS, Groupe dAnalyse et de Théorie Economique, 93, Chemin des Mouilles, 69130 Ecully, France; Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Kurt Schumacher Strasse 10, 53113 Bonn, Germany); Jörg Oechssler (Department of Economics, University of Heidelberg, Bergheimer Str. 58, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany); Anwar Shah (School of Economics, Quaid-I-Azam University, 45320 Islamabad, Pakistan)
    Abstract: The power to coerce workers is important for the e¢ cient operation of hierarchically structured organizations. However, this power can also be used by managers to exploit their subordinates for their own benefit. We examine the relationship between the power to coerce and exploitation in a laboratory experiment where a senior and a junior player interact repeatedly for a finite number of periods. We find that senior players try repeatedly to use their power to exploit junior workers. These attempts are successful only when junior workers have incomplete information about how their e¤ort impacts on the earnings of senior players, but not when they have complete information. Evidence from an incentive-compatible questionnaire indicates that the social acceptability of exploitation depends on whether the junior worker can detect she is being exploited. We also show how a history of exploitation affects future interactions.
    Keywords: coercion, exploitation, disobedience, hierarchy, social norms
    JEL: C91 C72 D74
    Date: 2014
  10. By: Jan-Emmanuel De Neve; Cait Lamberton; Michael I. Norton
    Abstract: Two experiments show that eliciting taxpayer preferences on government spending—providing taxpayer agency--increases tax compliance. We first create an income and taxation environment in a laboratory setting to test for compliance with a lab tax. Allowing a treatment group to express nonbinding preferences over tax spending priorities, leads to a 16% increase in tax compliance. A followup online study tests this treatment with a simulation of paying US federal taxes. Allowing taxpayers to signal their preferences on the distribution of government spending, results in a 15% reduction in the stated take-up rate of a questionable tax loophole. Providing taxpayer agency recouples tax payments with the public services obtained in return, reduces general anti-tax sentiment, and holds satisfaction with tax payment stable despite increased compliance with tax dues. With tax noncompliance costing the US government $385billion annually, providing taxpayer agency could have meaningful economic impact. At the same time, giving taxpayers a voice may act as a two-way "nudge," transforming tax payment from a passive experience to a channel of communication between taxpayers and government.
    Keywords: Tax compliance; taxpayer agency; taxpayer satisfaction; government spending
    JEL: D00 H26 H30 H50 I31
    Date: 2014–05
  11. By: Alan Gelder (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University); Dan Kovenock (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)
    Abstract: In a dynamic contest where it is costly to compete, a player who is behind must decide whether to surrender or to keep fighting in the face of bleak odds. We experimentally examine the game theoretic prediction of last stand behavior in a multi-battle contest with a winning prize and losing penalty, as well as the contrasting prediction of surrendering in the corresponding contest with no penalty. We find varied evidence in support of these hypotheses in the aggregated data, but more conclusive evidence when scrutinizing individual player behavior. Players’ realized strategies tend to conform to one of several “types”. We develop a taxonomy to classify player types and study how these types interact and how their incidence varies across treatments. Contrary to the theoretical prediction, escalation is the predominant behavior, but last stand and surrendering behaviors also arise at rates responsive to the importance of losing penalties.
    Keywords: Dynamic Contest, Multi-Battle Contest, Player Type, Experiment, All-Pay Auction, Escalation, Last Stand, Maximin
    JEL: C73 C92 D44 D72 D74
    Date: 2015
  12. By: Tomala , Tristan; Gensbittel , Fabien
    Abstract: An ambiguous statistical experiment is a set of joint probability distributions over states and signals. This note compares ambiguous experiments from the point of view of an ambiguity averse decision maker and extends the Blackwell (1951, 1953) ordering to this setting.
    Keywords: experiments; value of information; multiple priors; maximin; rectangularity
    JEL: C72
    Date: 2015–01–05
  13. By: Jonathan Guryan; James S. Kim; Kyung Park
    Abstract: For whom and under what conditions do incentives work in education? In the context of a summer reading program called Project READS, we test whether responsiveness to incentives is positively or negatively related to the student’s baseline level of motivation to read. Elementary school students were mailed books weekly during the summer, mailed books and also offered an incentive to read, or assigned to a control group. We find that students who were more motivated to read at baseline were more responsive to incentives, suggesting that incentives may not effectively target the students whose behavior they are intended to change.
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2015–01
  14. By: Rebecca Tunstall; Anne Green; Ruth Lupton; Simon Watmough; Katie Bates
    Abstract: There are substantial variations in labour market outcomes between neighbourhoods. One potential partial explanation is that residents of some neighbourhoods face discrimination from employers. Although studies of deprived areas have recorded resident perceptions of discrimination by employers and negative employer perceptions of certain areas, until now there has been no direct evidence on whether employers treat job applicants differently by area of residence. This paper reports a unique experiment to test for a neighbourhood reputation effect involving 2001 applications to 667 real jobs by fictional candidates nominally resident in neighbourhoods with poor and bland reputations. The experiment found no statistically significant difference in employer treatment of applicants from these areas, indicating that people living in neighbourhoods with poor reputations did not face ‘postcode discrimination’ in the labour market, at the initial selection stage.
    JEL: R14 J01
    Date: 2014–03
  15. By: Xiaohua, Yu; Binjian, Yan; Zhifeng, Gao
    Abstract: Human behaviours are driven by two different types of motives: implicit and explicit motives. Psychologists have developed two main tools, namely time pressure and cognitive load, to disentangle the two motives. It implies that the values of willingness to pay (WTP) are sensitive to time pressure and cognitive load levels in practice. An experiment with 233 students is conducted in China to study the willingness to pay for organic food with consideration of different time pressures and cognitive load levels. Results show that (1) increasing cognitive load could significantly reduce consumers’ WTP for organic food; and (2) time pressure does not have significant impact on WTP values. Such results remind us of being particularly cautious about the cognitive load situations of respondents during a WTP survey. Otherwise, the WTP results are unstable and inconvincible.
    Keywords: Motives, Time Pressure, Cognitive Load, WTP, Organic Food, Experiments, Agribusiness, Consumer/Household Economics, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, Marketing, Research Methods/ Statistical Methods, C91, Q13,
    Date: 2014–05
  16. By: Rubin, Jared; Sheremeta, Roman
    Abstract: Using a gift exchange experiment, we show that the ability of reciprocity to overcome incentive problems inherent in principal-agent settings is greatly reduced when the agent’s effort is distorted by random shocks and transmitted imperfectly to the principal. Specifically, we find that gift exchange contracts without shocks encourage effort and wages well above standard predictions. However, the introduction of random shocks reduces wages and effort, regardless of whether the shocks can be observed by the principal. Moreover, the introduction of shocks significantly reduces the probability of fulfilling the contract by the agent, the payoff of the principal, and total welfare. Therefore, our findings demonstrate that random shocks place an important bound on the ability of gift exchange to overcome principal-agent problems.
    Keywords: gift exchange, principal-agent model, contract theory, reciprocity, effort, shocks, laboratory experiment
    JEL: C72 C91 D63 D81 H50
    Date: 2015–02–05
  17. By: Asiedu, Edward; Ibanez, Marcela
    Abstract: This paper investigates the hypothesis that women are underrepresented in leadership roles due to a lower ability to influence others. By comparing societies that differ in the inheritance rights of men and women, we trace the origins of such difference. The results of a public good game with third party punishment indicate that in patriarchal societies there are persistent gender differences in social influence while in matrilineal societies these differences are smaller. While in the patriarchal society sanctioning behavior is not different across genders, cooperation is lower in groups with a female monitor than a male monitor. In contrast, in the matrilineal society male monitors sanction more often than female monitors, though cooperation does not depend on the gender of the monitor.
    Keywords: Gender, norm enforcement, culture, inequality, collective action, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, International Development, Public Economics, C92, C93, D03, J14, J16,
    Date: 2014–04
  18. By: Antoinette Baujard; Frédéric Gavrel (CREM (UMR CNRS 6211), University of Caen Basse-Normandie, 14 000 Caen, France); Herrade Igersheim (CNRS and Beta (UMR CNRS 7522), University of Strasbourg, 67 085 Strasbourg, France); Jean-François Laslier (CNRS and PJSE (UMR CNRS 8545), 75014 Paris, France); Isabelle Lebon (CREM (UMR CNRS 6211), University of Caen Basse-Normandie, 14 000 Caen, France)
    Abstract: Under evaluative voting, the voter freely grades each candidate on a numerical scale, with the winning candidate being determined by the sum of the grades they receive. This paper compares evaluative voting with the two-round system, reporting on an experiment, conducted during the 2012 French presidential election, which attracted 2,340 participants. Here we show that the two-round system favors “exclusive” candidates, that is candidates who elicit strong feelings, while evaluative rules favor “inclusive” candidates, that is candidates who attract the support of a large span of the electorate. These differences are explained by two complementary reasons : the opportunity for the voter to support several candidates under evaluative voting rules, and the specific pattern of strategic voting under the two-round voting rule.
    Keywords: Voting, In Situ Experiment, Evaluative Voting, Approval Voting, Two-round system
    JEL: D72 C93
    Date: 2014
  19. By: Behaghel, Luc (Paris School of Economics - INRA); de Chaisemartin, Clement (Department of Economics, University of Warwick); Gurgand, Marc (Paris School of Economics - CNRS)
    Abstract: Boarding schools substitute school to home, but little is known on the effects this substitution produces on students. We present results of an experiment in which seats in a boarding school for disadvantaged students were randomly allocated. Boarders enjoy better studying conditions than control students. However, they start outperforming control students in mathematics only two years after admission, and this effect mostly comes from strong students. After one year, levels of well-being are lower among boarders, but in their second year, students adjust: well-being catches-up. This suggests that substituting school to home is disruptive: only strong students benefit from the boarding school, once they have managed to adapt to their new environment. JEL classification: I21 ; I28 ; J24 ; H52
    Keywords: boarding school ; cognitive skills ; non-cognitive skills ; randomized controlled trial ; heterogeneous effects
    Date: 2015
  20. By: Alessandro Bucciol (Department of Economics (University of Verona)); Luca Zarri (Department of Economics (University of Verona))
    Abstract: We present evidence that non-cognitive skills such as individual investors’ personality traits significantly impact their portfolio choices. Based on large-scale survey data from the 2006-2012 waves of the US Health and Retirement Study (HRS) we show that portfolio decisions are influenced by a variety of traits and facets traditionally investigated in the field of personality psychology. Two personality traits that taken together depict a self-centered personality profile appear to have the most significant impact on financial risk taking: lower Agreeableness and higher Cynical Hostility predict higher willingness to take risks. A number of robustness checks corroborate our results. We also show that the effects of Agreeableness seem to pass through the preferences – rather than the beliefs – channel. Our findings shed new light on the non-cognitive side of individuals’ risk taking and have implications for our understanding of the sources of heterogeneity in financial decisions.
    Keywords: Portfolio Choice, Personality Traits, Risk Taking, Behavioral Finance
    JEL: D03 D14 G11
    Date: 2015–01
  21. By: Koichiro Ito; Takanori Ida; Makoto Tanaka
    Abstract: Firms and governments often use moral suasion and economic incentives to influence intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for various economic activities. To investigate the persistence of such interventions, we randomly assigned households to moral suasion and dynamic pricing that stimulate energy conservation during peak demand hours. Using household-level consumption data for 30-minute intervals, we find significant short-run effects of moral suasion, but the effects diminished quickly after repeated interventions. Economic incentives produced larger and persistent effects, which induced habit formation after the final interventions. While each policy produces substantial welfare gains, economic incentives provide particularly large gains when we consider persistence.
    JEL: D12 L11 L94 L98 Q4 Q41 Q5 Q58
    Date: 2015–01
  22. By: Yuki Tanaka (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies); Takashi Yamano (International Rice Research Institute)
    Abstract: Educational investment involves risks and long-term commitment, and the degree of risk aversion or patience of parents could play a vital role in the schooling decision. Yet, there are few studies analyzing the impact of such preferences on educational investment. This paper utilizes a unique dataset with a large-scale field experiment of preferences and estimates the impacts of the patience and risk aversion of the parents on school attendance, delayed enrollment, and the education expenditure of their children in Uganda. Our results show that the risk aversion of the parent delays enrollment of young children, especially boys. This could be explained by parents’ security concerns for their young children. Girls of impatient parents have high attendance rates when they are young (6 – 9 years old) but have low attendance rates when they are older (10 – 13 years old). Boys aged 10 to 13 have low attendance rates if their parents have a high present bias. Finally, the patience of the parents increases the education expenditure.
  23. By: Bruhin, Adrian; Götte, Lorenz; Haenni, Simon; Jiang, Lingqing
    Abstract: Spillovers of prosocial motivation are crucial for the formation of social capital. They facilitate interactions among individuals and create social multipliers that amplify the effects of policy interventions. We conducted a large-scale intervention study among dyads of blood donors to investigate whether social ties lead to motivational spillovers in the decision to donate. The intervention is a randomized phone call making donors aware of a current shortage of their blood type and serving us as an instrument for identifying motivational spillovers. About 40% of a donor's motivation spills over to the other donor, creating a significant social multiplier of 1.78.
    Keywords: bivariate probit; blood donation; prosocial motivation; social interactions
    JEL: C31 C36 D03
    Date: 2015–01
  24. By: Anett John
    Abstract: Empirical evidence suggests that there is a high demand for informal savings mechanisms even though these often feature negative returns - such as deposit collectors, ROSCAs, microloans, and informal borrowing. This paper argues that individuals may face even higher negative returns to saving at home due to hyperbolic discounting and claims on savings by relatives. I outline a model that shows why hyperbolic discounters cannot reach their welfare-maximising level of savings, and why a commitment savings product with fixed period contributions can increase their achievable savings level. Using a novel dataset obtained from a small microfinance institution in Bangladesh, the paper then presents some first empirical evidence on the effects of a commitment savings product with fixed regular instalments. I find that the introduction of the regular saver product was associated with an increase in individuals’ savings contributions of 180 percent after a periods of five months. The paper concludes that the provision of commitment savings products with fixed contributions may reduce savings constraints and increase individuals’ welfare, providing a substitute for costly informal mechanisms. However, since the data originates from a field study with self-selection problems rather than a randomized controlled experiment, further studies are needed to confirm this effect.
    Keywords: commitment savings; hyperbolic discounting; Bangladesh
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2014–03
  25. By: Sara Lowes; Nathan Nunn; James A. Robinson; Jonathan Weigel
    Abstract: We use a variant of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to examine individuals’ implicit attitudes towards various ethnic groups. Using a population from the Democratic Republic of Congo, we find that the IAT measures show evidence of an implicit bias in favor of one’s own ethnicity. Individuals have implicit views of their own ethnic group that are more positive than their implicit views of other ethnic groups. We find this implicit bias to be quantitatively smaller than the (explicit) bias one finds when using self-reported attitudes about different ethnic groups.
    JEL: O1 O55
    Date: 2015–01
  26. By: Stefano Galavotti (University of Padova); Luigi Moretti (University of Padova); Paola Valbonesi (University of Padova)
    Abstract: In this paper, we study bidding behavior by firms in beauty-contest auctions, i.e. auctions in which the winning bid is the one which gets closest to some function (average) of all submitted bids. Using a dataset on public procurement beauty-contest auctions in Italy and exploiting a change in the auction format, we show that firmsÕ observed bidding behavior departs from equilibrium and can be predicted by an index of sophistication, which captures the firmsÕ accumulated capacity of bidding well (i.e., close to optimality) in the past. We show that our empirical evidence is consistent with a Cognitive Hierarchy model of biddersÕ behavior. We also investigate whether and how firms learn to think and bid strategically through experience.
    Keywords: cognitive hierarchy; auctions; beauty-contest; public procurement.
    JEL: C70 D03 D44 D83 H57
    Date: 2014–09
  27. By: Claussen, Jörg; Engelstätter, Benjamin; Ward, Michael R.
    Abstract: Peer influence through word-of-mouth (WOM) plays an important role in many information systems but identification of causal effects is challenging. We identify causal WOM effects in the empirical setting of game adoption in a social network for gamers by exploiting differences in individuals' networks. Friends of friends do not directly influence a focal user, so we use their characteristics to instrument for behavior of the focal user's friends. We go beyond demonstrating a large and highly significant WOM effect and also assess moderating factors of the strength of the effect on the sender and receiver side. We find that users with the most influence on others tend to be better gamers, have larger social networks, but spend less time playing. Interestingly, these are also the users who are least susceptible to WOM effects.
    Keywords: Word-of-Mouth,Peer Effects,Adoption,Social Networks,Video Games
    JEL: D85 L14 M31
    Date: 2014
  28. By: Harris, Matthew; Cronin, Christopher
    Abstract: This paper examines how a single female's investment in healthy body weight is affected by the quality of single males in her marriage market. A principle concern in estimation is the presence of market-level unobserved heterogeneity that may be correlated with changes in single male quality. To address this concern, we employ a differencing strategy that normalizes the exercise behaviors of single women to those of their married counterparts. Our main results suggest that when potential mate quality in a marriage market decreases, single black women invest less in healthy body weight. For example, we find that a ten percentage point increase in the proportion of low quality single black males leads to a 5% to 10% decrease in vigorous exercise taken by single black females. No significant response is found for single white women. These results highlight the relationship between male and female human capital acquisition that is driven by participation in the marriage market. Our results suggest that programs designed to improve the economic prospects of single males may yield positive externalities in the form of improved health behaviors, such as more exercise, particularly for single black females.
    Keywords: I14,I12,J12,J15
    JEL: I12 I14 J12 J15
    Date: 2014–10–29

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