nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2015‒06‒27
25 papers chosen by

  1. Decision confidence in the Ellsberg experiment By Duersch, Peter
  2. Does the gender mix among employers influence who gets hired? A labor market experiment By Alexia Gaudeul; Ayu Okvitawanli; Marian Panganiban
  3. Saving Face and Group Identity By Eriksson, Tor; Mao, Lei; Villeval, Marie Claire
  4. What do we learn from public good games about voluntary climate action? Evidence from an artefactual field experiment By Goeschl, Timo; Kettner, Sara Elisa; Lohse, Johannes; Schwieren, Christiane
  5. The effect of nonbinding agreements on cooperation among forest user groups in Nepal and Ethiopia By Dannenberg,Astrid; Martinsson,Peter
  6. Take your time to grow: A field experiment on the hiring of youths in Germany By Kübler, Dorothea; Schmid, Julia
  7. Does competition affect truth-telling? An experiment with rating agencies By Jean Paul Rabanal; Olga A. Rabanal
  8. Cooperative behavior and common pool resources : experimental evidence from community forest user groups in Nepal By Bluffstone,Randy; Dannenberg,Astrid; Martinsson,Peter; Jha,Prakash; Bista,Rjesh
  9. Time spent on New Songs: Word-of-Mouth and Price Effects on Teenager Consumption By Noémi Berlin; Anna Bernard; Guillaume Fürst
  10. Matching donations without crowding out? Some theoretical considerations and a field experiment By Adena, Maja; Huck, Steffen
  11. Information and Women's Intentions: Experimental Evidence about Child Care By Vincenzo Galasso; Paola Profeta; Chiara Pronzato; Francesco Billari
  12. A Case for Standard Theory? By Christoph Kuzmics; Daniel Rodenburger
  13. Knowing is trusting? An experimental test of the role of information in advisory By Caterina Cruciani; Gloria Gardenal; Anna Moretti
  14. Bounded awareness and anomalies in intertemporal choice: Google Earth as metaphor and model By Holden, Stein; Quiggin, John
  15. Can Employment Reduce Lawlessness and Rebellion? A Field Experiment with High-Risk Men in a Fragile State By Christopher Blattman; Jeannie Annan
  16. Can monetary valuation undermine nature conservation? Evidence from a decision experiment By Rode, Julian; Le Menestrel, Marc; Cornelissen, Gert
  17. Financial Incentives are Counterproductive in Non-Profit Sectors: Evidence from a Health Experiment By Elise Huillery; Juliette Seban
  18. Compassion or Cash: Evaluating Survey Response Incentives and Valuing Public Goods By V. Kerry Smith; Sharon L. Harlan; Michael McLaen; Jacob Fishman; Carlos Valcarcel; Marcia Nation
  19. Do improved biomass cookstoves reduce fuelwood consumption and carbon emissions ? evidence from rural Ethiopia using a randomized treatment trial with electronic monitoring By Beyene,Abebe; Bluffstone,Randy; Gebreegzhiaber,Zenebe; Martinsson,Peter; Mekonnen,Alemu; Vieider,Ferdinand
  20. The Evolution of "Kantian Trait": Inferring from the Dictator Game By Lorenzo Cerda Planas
  21. The Influence of Partners’ Views on Chinese Auditors’ Judgments Related to Professional Scepticism By Sammy Xiaoyan Ying; Chris Patel
  22. Using the Linear Probability Model to Estimate Impacts on Binary Outcomes in Randomized Controlled Trials By John Deke
  23. On the Effect of the Costs of Operating Formally: New Experimental Evidence By Sebastian Galiani; Marcela Meléndez; Camila Navajas
  24. Willing but Unable: Short-Term Experimental Evidence on Parent Empowerment and School Quality By Elizabeth Beasley; Elise Huillery
  25. The causal effect of East Asian 'mastery' teaching methods on English children's mathematics skills? By John Jerrim; Anna Vignoles

  1. By: Duersch, Peter
    Abstract: Subjects are asked to report their confidence in their own decisions regarding the Ellsberg three color urn. Subjective confidence is measured via a 5 point Likert scale. Surprisingly, subjects are more confident in their answer for the more complicated two color question, compared to the simple one color question. This is robust across a wide range of experimental contexts.
    Keywords: Ellsberg experiment; Confidence
    Date: 2015–06–18
  2. By: Alexia Gaudeul (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena); Ayu Okvitawanli (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena); Marian Panganiban (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena, and Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)
    Abstract: We consider in this paper whether the gender mix at the level of decision-makers in firms can influence gender representation at the employee level. We run a laboratory experiment whereby we present a pair of independent employers with applications from two potential employees. We consider whether the gender of the other employer will influence an employer's hiring decision. We find that the gender mix among employers plays a role in the individual hiring decisions of female members. Female employers when paired with a male employer are more likely to choose a female applicant over an equally competent male applicant. Results of an Implicit Association Test (IAT) and answers to a post-experimental questionnaire show that explicit beliefs about relative gender performance are significantly associated with the observed hiring bias, while implicit attitudes do not appear to play a role.
    Keywords: discrimination, hiring, IAT, implicit attitudes, gender quotas, labor markets, employment
    JEL: J71 J78 C91
    Date: 2015–06–18
  3. By: Eriksson, Tor (Aarhus School of Business); Mao, Lei (Central University of Finance and Economics); Villeval, Marie Claire (CNRS, GATE)
    Abstract: Are people willing to sacrifice resources to save one's and others' face? In a laboratory experiment, we study whether individuals forego resources to avoid the public exposure of the least performer in their group. We show that a majority of individuals are willing to pay to preserve not only their self- but also other group members' image. This behavior is frequent even in the absence of group identity. When group identity is more salient, individuals help regardless of whether the least performer is an in-group or an out-group. This suggests that saving others' face is a strong social norm.
    Keywords: pro-social behavior, social image, saving face, group identity, experiment
    JEL: C92 D03 M52 Z13
    Date: 2015–06
  4. By: Goeschl, Timo; Kettner, Sara Elisa; Lohse, Johannes; Schwieren, Christiane
    Abstract: Evidence from public good game experiments holds the promise of instructive and cost-effective insights to inform environmental policy-making, for example on climate change mitigation. To fulfill the promise, such evidence needs to demonstrate generalizability to the specific policy context. This paper examines whether and under which conditions such evidence generalizes to voluntary mitigation decisions. We observe each participant in two different decision tasks: a real giving task in which contributions are used to directly reduce CO2 emissions and a public good game. Through two treatment variations, we explore two potential shifters of generalizability in a within-subjects design: the structural resemblance of contribution incentives between the tasks and the role of the subject pool, students and non-students. Our findings suggest that cooperation in public good games is linked to voluntary mitigation behavior, albeit not in a uniform way. For a standard set of parameters, behavior in both tasks is uncorrelated. Greater structural resemblance of the public goods game leads to sizable correlations, especially for student subjects.
    Date: 2015–06–19
  5. By: Dannenberg,Astrid; Martinsson,Peter
    Abstract: This paper summarizes the results from public goods experiments investigating the effect of nonbinding agreements on cooperation. Unlike previous studies, this experimental study was conducted among members of forest user groups in Ethiopia and Nepal with long histories of social interdependence. These countries are also characterized by a high degree of collectivism. Overall, the results show a weak effectof nonbinding agreements on cooperation in the two locations. The main reason for this is that the cooperation level is relatively high even without an agreement and only a small proportion of subjects change their behavior when the agreement option is introduced. Nonetheless, the research indicates that the willingness to enter an agreement varies between subjects and strongly correlates with their cooperativeness.
    Keywords: Post Conflict Reconstruction,Rules of Origin,Economic Theory&Research,Public Sector Corruption&Anticorruption Measures,Literature&Folklore
    Date: 2015–06–22
  6. By: Kübler, Dorothea; Schmid, Julia
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of spells of no formal employment of young Germans on their chances of entering the labor market. We also study whether the potential negative effects of such spells can be mitigated by publicly provided training measures. In a field experiment, fictitious applications were sent to firms advertising an apprenticeship position for office manager. Our results show that applicants who have been out of school for two years are not less likely to be invited compared to applicants who apply during their last year of schooling. Among the two applicant types who have been out of school for two years, applicants who have taken part in a training course are significantly more likely to pass the first step in the recruitment process than those without supplementary schooling. Our findings can be explained with signaling and human capital theory while there is no evidence of stigma effects.
    Keywords: youth unemployment,hiring decisions,apprenticeships
    JEL: J64 C93
    Date: 2015
  7. By: Jean Paul Rabanal (Ball State University); Olga A. Rabanal (Ball State University)
    Abstract: We study the effect of competition on the conflicts of interest in an issuer-pay model. Our analysis complements the theoretical work of Bolton, Freixas and Shapiro (2012) by introducing an experimental approach that examines the effect of market structure –monopoly and competition– on the incidence of misreporting by rating agencies. In our game, agencies receive a signal regarding the type of asset that the seller holds. The seller does not know the asset type and therefore, asks the rating agency for a report which is either blue (good) or red (bad). The asset, along with the report (if any), is then presented to the buyer for purchase. We find that in the monopoly environment the likelihood of misreporting is almost three times as high as in the more competitive market.
    Keywords: Credit rating agencies, Conflicts of interest, Market structure, Laboratory experiment
    JEL: C91 D43 D82 G24 L15
    Date: 2015–06
  8. By: Bluffstone,Randy; Dannenberg,Astrid; Martinsson,Peter; Jha,Prakash; Bista,Rjesh
    Abstract: This paper examines whether cooperative behavior by respondents measured as contributions in a one-shot public goods game correlates with reported pro-forest collective action behaviors. All the outcomes analyzed are costly in terms of time, land, or money. The study finds significant evidence that more cooperative individuals (or those who believe their group members will cooperate) engage in collective action behaviors that support common forests, once the analysis is adjusted for demographic factors, wealth, and location. Those who contribute more in the public goods experiment are found to be more likely to have planted trees in community forests during the previous month and to have invested in biogas. They also have planted more trees on their own farms and spent more time monitoring community forests. As cooperation appears to be highly conditional on beliefs about others? cooperation, these results suggest that policies to support cooperation and strengthen local governance could be important for collective action and economic outcomes associated with forest resources. As forest management and quality in developing countries is particularly important for climate change policy, these results suggest that international efforts such as the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation should pay particular attention to supporting governance and cooperation at the local level.
    Keywords: Common Property Resource Development,Forestry Management,Wildlife Resources,Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases,Environmental Economics&Policies
    Date: 2015–06–22
  9. By: Noémi Berlin (University of Edinburgh - School of Economics - University of Edinburgh); Anna Bernard (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics); Guillaume Fürst (University of Geneva - Department of Psychology and Educational Sciences - University of Geneva)
    Abstract: The stardom system characterizes creative industries: the demand and revenues are concentrated on a few bestselling books, movies or music. In this paper, we study the demand structure between bestsellers and new artists' productions in the music industry. We set up an experiment where participants face real choices situations. We crate three treatments to isolate the effect of information and incentives on diversity. In a first treatment, music is consumed for free without information. In a second one, subjects receive a prior information on others' evaluation of songs to study the effect of word-of-mouth. Finally, in a third one, a real market is introduced and music is bought. Significant evidence shows that word-of-mouth lowers diversity, while price incentives tend to lift it. In both treatments, subjects also react to the information or incentives nature.
    Date: 2015–03
  10. By: Adena, Maja; Huck, Steffen
    Abstract: Is there a way of matching donations that avoids crowding out? And, more generally, what is the best way to utilize a bigger lead gift for raising smaller contribu-tions in a fundraising campaign? To answer these questions, we present a novel matching method, some simple theoretical considerations, and evidence from a large-scale natural field experiment on charitable giving. We compare a standard linear matching scheme with a novel matching scheme in which the matched amount is allocated towards a different project. Treatments with unconditional lead gifts serve as controls. Similar to findings from the previous literature, conventional matching for the same project results in partial crowding-out (increasing, however, the participation rate and the overall return per mail-out). The novel matching scheme that we propose also increases the response rate and, in addition, does avoid crowding out.
    Keywords: Charitable giving,Matched fundraising,Natural field experiment
    JEL: C93 D64 D12
    Date: 2015
  11. By: Vincenzo Galasso; Paola Profeta; Chiara Pronzato; Francesco Billari
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of providing information about the benefits to children of attending formal child care when women intend to use formal child care so they can work. We postulate that the reaction to the information differs across women according to their characteristics, specifically their level of education. We present a randomized experiment in which 700 Italian women of reproductive age with no children are exposed to positive information about formal child care through a text message or a video, while others are not. We find a positive effect on the intention to use formal child care, and a negative effect on the intention to work. This average result hides important heterogeneities: the positive effect on formal child care use is driven by better-educated women, while the negative effect on work intention is found only among less-educated women. These findings may be explained by women’s education reflecting their work-family orientation, and their ability to afford formal child care.
    Keywords: Female labour supply, education, gender roles.
  12. By: Christoph Kuzmics (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University); Daniel Rodenburger (University of Jena)
    Abstract: Using data from an experiment by Forsythe, Myerson, Rietz, and Weber (1993), designed for a different purpose, we test the "standard theory" that players have preferences only over their own mentary payoffs and that play will be in (evolutionary stable) equilibrium. In the experiment each subject is recurrently (24 times) randomly matched with ever changing opponents to play a 14 player game. We find that assuming risk-neutrality for all players leads to a predicted evolutionary stable equilibrium that, while it can be rejected at the 5% level of significance, is nevertheless remarkably close to "explaining" the data. Moreover, when we assume that players are risk-averse and we calibrate their risk-aversion in one treatment with a simple game, this theory cannot be rejected at the 5% level of significance for another treatment with a more complicated game, despite the fact that we have close to 400 data points.
    Keywords: opinion polls, elections, voting, testing, Nash equilibrium, attainable equilibrium, symmetries
    JEL: C72 D72
    Date: 2015–06
  13. By: Caterina Cruciani (Dept. of Management and Economics, University of Padua); Gloria Gardenal (Dept. of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venice); Anna Moretti (Dept. of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venice)
    Abstract: The recent economic crisis still lingering in Europe has deeply affected the way individuals look at the investment market. Understanding the trust processes underlying the decision to invest with financial intermediaries is of particular importance both at managerial (product development and advertisement) and at normative level (how intermediaries are regulated). Using an online experiment, this paper investigates whether discrepancies in the financial literacy of investors and brokers can be used to explain the decision to trust Ð thus, to invest in the financial market. The results show that trust is affected by the information disclosure in somewhat unexpected ways.
    Keywords: financial market, financial literacy, trust, advisory
    JEL: D12 D8 D91 G11
    Date: 2015–06
  14. By: Holden, Stein (School of Economics and Business, Norwegian University of Life Sciences); Quiggin, John (School of Economics, University of Queensland)
    Abstract: This paper draws on recent developments in the theory of choice under uncertainty to model anomalies in intertemporal choice. Cognitive limitations leading to hyperbolic discounting and magnitude effects in intertemporal choice may be described in terms of bounded awareness, and represented by phenomena familiar from visualization software such as Google Earth. Cognitive limits on visualization impose constraints on both the area being viewed and the level of detail of the view, with a trade-off between the two. Increasing detail at the expense of limiting the area viewed may be described as zooming. Data from a field experiment were used to assess the theory with an incentivecompatible multiple price list approach involving magnitude levels of 5x, 10x and 20x the basic magnitude level with time horizons of one, three, six and 12 months. Without zooming adjustments in base consumption, very strong hyperbolic and magnitude effects were found, and present bias could not explain the hyperbolic effects. The zooming model provides an explanation of what appear to be significant intertemporal anomalies in the data.
    Keywords: Intertemporal choice; hyperbolic discounting; magnitude effects; zooming; limited asset integration; field experiment; calibration test.
    JEL: C93 D03 D91
    Date: 2015–06–15
  15. By: Christopher Blattman; Jeannie Annan
    Abstract: States and aid agencies use employment programs to rehabilitate high-risk men in the belief that peaceful work opportunities will deter them from crime and violence. Rigorous evidence is rare. We experimentally evaluate a program of agricultural training, capital inputs, and counseling for Liberian ex-fighters who were illegally mining or occupying rubber plantations. 14 months after the program ended, men who accepted the program offer increased their farm employment and profits, and shifted work hours away from illicit activities. Men also reduced interest in mercenary work in a nearby war. Finally, some men did not receive their capital inputs but expected a future cash transfer instead, and they reduced illicit and mercenary activities most of all. The evidence suggests that illicit and mercenary labor supply responds to small changes in returns to peaceful work, especially future and ongoing incentives. But the impacts of training alone, without capital, appear to be low.
    JEL: C93 D74 J21 O12
    Date: 2015–06
  16. By: Rode, Julian; Le Menestrel, Marc; Cornelissen, Gert
    Abstract: Nature conservation scientists and practitioners have voiced the concern that a conservation discourse based on economic arguments and monetary valuation may undermine conservation efforts by eroding ("crowding out") the influence of other arguments for nature conservation. This paper presents the results of a decision experiment in which nature conservation is framed using an economic, a non-economic, or a combined discourse before participants take hypothetical decisions on the construction of hydropower dams in the Bolivian Amazon. We find that an economic discourse with monetary valuation framing leads to significantly fewer pro-conservation decisions, that is, decisions against dam construction. This is the case when a cost-benefit analysis inclusive of environmental costs reveals that the dam is economically viable (i.e., there remains a trade-off between economics and conservation), but also when such a costs-benefit analysis indicates that the dam is not viable (i.e., no trade-off). The results suggest that an economic discourse with monetary valuation framing can indeed undermine nature conservation efforts. They also suggest that the effect can be avoided, however, by presenting non-economic arguments side by side with an economic rationale.
    Keywords: nature conservation,policy discourse,framing,monetary valuation,crowding out
    JEL: D61 D63 D81 H41 O13 Q01 Q34 Q51 Q56 Q57
    Date: 2015
  17. By: Elise Huillery (Département d'économie); Juliette Seban (Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: Financial incentives for service providers are becoming a common strategy to improve service delivery. However, this strategy will only work if demand for the service responds as expected. Using a eld experiment in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we show that introducing a performance-based financing mechanism in the health sector has counterproductive effects because demand is non-standard: despite reduced prices and eased access, demand for health decreased, child health deteriorated, workers' revenue dropped. Ironically, expected perverse effects of incentives on worker behavior were not realized: incentives led to more effort from health workers on rewarded activities without deterring effort on non-rewarded activities, nor inducing significant score manipulation or free-riding. We also find a decline in worker motivation following the removal of the incentives, below what it would have been in the absence of exposure to the incentives. Management tools used in for-pro t sectors are thus inappropriate in non-pro t sectors such as health where user and worker rationalities are specific.
    JEL: H51 I18 O12
    Date: 2015–03
  18. By: V. Kerry Smith; Sharon L. Harlan; Michael McLaen; Jacob Fishman; Carlos Valcarcel; Marcia Nation
    Abstract: This paper reports the results of an experiment evaluating the effects of incentives on individuals' willingness to participate in a survey. By pairing the assessment with a natural field experiment, the analysis considers private versus public goods as incentives, and estimates respondents' willingness to support the oldest food bank in the U.S.
    JEL: C81 H44
    Date: 2015–06
  19. By: Beyene,Abebe; Bluffstone,Randy; Gebreegzhiaber,Zenebe; Martinsson,Peter; Mekonnen,Alemu; Vieider,Ferdinand
    Abstract: This paper uses a randomized experimental design with real-time electronic stove temperature measurements and controlled cooking tests to estimate the fuelwood and carbon dioxide savings from an improved cookstove program in the process of being implemented in rural Ethiopia. Knowing more about how households interact with improved cookstoves is important, because cooking uses a majority of the fuelwood in the country and therefore is an important determinant of greenhouse gas emissions and indoor air pollution. Creating local networks among stove users generally appears to increase fuelwood savings, and among monetary treatments the most robust positive effects come from free distribution. The paper estimates that on average one improved stove saves approximately 634 kilograms of fuelwood per year or about 0.94 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, which is about half of previous estimates. Using the May 2015 California auction price of $13.39/ton, the carbon sequestration from each stove deployed is worth about $12.59. Such carbon market offset revenues would be sufficient to cover the cost of the stove within one year.
    Keywords: Oil Refining&Gas Industry,Urban Environment,Energy Production and Transportation,Energy Conservation&Efficiency,Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases
    Date: 2015–06–22
  20. By: Lorenzo Cerda Planas (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is twofold. Starting from the population dynamics literature, which usually finds the resulting distribution of a trait in a population, according to some parents' preferences, I answer the inverted question: Which preference function would yield into a given trait distribution? I solve this using a continuous trait, instead of finite types of agents. Using this result, I connect this transmission theory of social traits with the well-known results of Dictator Game (DG) experiments. I use a specific definition of a Kantian trait applied to DG results, and determine the distribution of this trait that is commonly found in these experiments. With these two ingredients, I show that homo-œconomicus parents have a greater' dislike' or disutility of having offspring with different traits from them compared to their Kantian counterparts. This could be a result of myopic empathy being stronger in homo-œconomicus parents, driving this dislike of difference.
    Date: 2015–03
  21. By: Sammy Xiaoyan Ying (Macquarie University); Chris Patel (Macquarie University)
    Abstract: Professional scepticism remains one of the most important and controversial topics in auditing. This study examines the influence of partners’ views on auditors’ professional scepticism in China. This examination is important given the hierarchical structures of audit firms, and even more important in China given the strong cultural emphasis on subordination and obedience. Specifically, this study invokes social contingency theory to provide insights into partner influences on auditors from an accountability perspective. It is expected that auditors with knowledge of partners’ views are likely to be susceptible to pressure to align their judgments to the partners’ views, and such pressure influences auditors’ professional scepticism when exercising judgments. A between-subjects experiment was conducted with practicing auditors in China. The independent variable, partners’ views on professional scepticism, was manipulated across three groups: (1) a control group, in which there is no information about partners’ view, (2) a group in which partners’ known views reflect low emphasis on professional scepticism, or (3) a group in which partners’ known views reflect high emphasis on professional scepticism. The results provide evidence that when partners’ views on professional scepticism are known, auditors perceive considerable amount of pressure to follow the partners’ views. Further, the results show that when partners’ views reflect low emphasis on professional scepticism, auditors’ levels of professional scepticism are significantly lower compared to when partners’ views are unknown. However, when partners’ views reflect high emphasis on professional scepticism, auditors’ levels of PS do not significantly differ from when partners’ views are unknown. Furthermore, the results show that when auditors learn partners’ views, increased intensity of perceived pressure can strengthen the effects of partners’ influences on auditors’ professional scepticism. The findings of this study have important implications for auditing regulators, professionals, and audit firms.
    Keywords: Professional Scepticism, Auditing, China, Partner influences
    JEL: C93 M42 M40
    Date: 2015–06
  22. By: John Deke
    Abstract: In this brief we examine methodological criticisms of the Linear Probability Model (LPM) in general and conclude that these criticisms are not relevant to experimental impact analysis. We also point out that the LPM has advantages in terms of implementation and interpretation that make it an appealing option for researchers conducting experimental impact analysis. An important caveat on these conclusions is that outside of the context of impact analysis, there can be good reasons to avoid using the LPM for binary outcomes.
    Keywords: Linear Probability Model, Randomized Controlled Trials, TPP, Teenage Pregnancy Prevention, Technical Assistance
    JEL: I
    Date: 2014–12–30
  23. By: Sebastian Galiani; Marcela Meléndez; Camila Navajas
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of the elimination of the initial fixed costs of registration on the decision of informal firms to operate formally in Bogotá, Colombia. The Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá (CCB) conducts workshops for prospective formal-sector entrants and arranges personalized meetings for them with CCB agents. The CCB’s decision to significantly reduce the transaction costs of registration and the entry into force of Act No. 1429 of 2010, which eliminated the costs of the initial procedure for registering as a formal enterprise and provided exemptions from relevant taxes during the first years after formalization, provided us with an ideal experiment for studying how the elimination of the initial fixed costs of formalization would influence firms’ decision to operate formally or not. We obtained two important results. First, while a workshop treatment had no effect on firms’ formalization decisions, meetings at the firm with CCB agents raised the likelihood that a business would begin to operate formally by 5.5 percentage points for all the firms that were invited, at random, to participate in this arm of the intervention and by 32 percentage points for the firms that accepted the invitation. Second, the effect on the treatment firms did not persist over time. After a year of formal operation, it disappeared. These results indicate that substantial reductions in the fixed costs of operating formally are not effective in formalization choices, since such reductions had no lasting effect on formalization decisions.
    JEL: J21
    Date: 2015–06
  24. By: Elizabeth Beasley; Elise Huillery (Département d'économie)
    Abstract: Giving communities power over school management and spending decisions has been a favored strategy to increase school quality, but its effectiveness may be limited by weak capacity and low authority. We examine the short-term responses of a grant to school committees in a context such a context and find that overall, parents increased participation and responsibility, but these efforts did not improve quality. Enrollment at the lowest grades increased and school resources improved, but teacher absenteeism increased, and there was no impact on test scores. We examine heterogeneous impacts, and provide a model of school quality explaining the results and other results in the literature. The findings of this paper imply that strategies to improve quality by empowering parents should take levels of community authority and capacity into account: even when communities are willing to work to improve their schools, they may not be able to do so.
    Date: 2015–01
  25. By: John Jerrim (Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education, University College London); Anna Vignoles (Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge)
    Abstract: A small group of high-performing East Asian economies dominate the top of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings. Although there are many possible explanations for this, East Asian teaching methods and curriculum design are two factors to have particularly caught policymakers' attention. Yet there is currently little evidence as to whether any particular East Asian teaching method actually represents an improvement over the status quo in England, and whether such methods can be successfully introduced into Western education systems. This paper provides new evidence on this issue by presenting results from two clustered Randomised Controlled Trials (RCT's), where a Singaporean inspired 'mastery' approach to teaching mathematics was introduced into a selection of England's primary and secondary schools. We find evidence of a modest but positive treatment effect. Moreover, even under conservative assumptions, the programme has the potential to offer substantial economic returns.
    Keywords: Maths Mastery; Randomised Controlled Trial; Singapore; PISA.
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2015–06–18

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