nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2015‒11‒07
thirty-one papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Moral Incentives: Experimental Evidence from Repayments of an Islamic Credit Card By Leonardo Bursztyn; Stefano Fiorin; Daniel Gottlieb; Martin Kanz
  2. Default or reactance? Identity priming effects on overconfidence in Germany and Japan By Duttle, Kai; Shichijo, Tatsuhiro
  3. Incentives and Social Preferences: Experimental Evidence from a Seemingly Inefficienct Traditional Labor Contract By Goto, Jun; Sawada, Yasuyuki; Aida, Takeshi; Aoyagi, Keitaro
  4. Compliance Behavior in Networks: Evidence from a Field Experiment By Drago, Francesco; Mengel, Friederike; Traxler, Christian
  5. Certain and Uncertain Utility and Insurance Demand: Results From a Framed Field Experiment in Burkina Faso By Serfilippi, Elena; Carter, Michael; Guirkinger, Catherine
  6. Increasing anti-malaria bednets uptake using information and distribution strategies By BONAN Jacopo; LEMAY-BOUCHER Philippe; SCOTT Douglas; TENIKUE Michel
  7. Is It Harder for Older Workers to Find Jobs? New and Improved Evidence from a Field Experiment By David Neumark; Ian Burn; Patrick Button
  8. Using Elicitation Mechanisms to Estimate the Demand for Nutritious Maize: Evidence from Experiments in Rural Ghana By Banerji, Abhijit; Chowdhury, Shyamal; Groote, Hugo; Meenakshi, J.V.; Haleegoah, Joyce; Ewool, Manfred
  9. Long-term Direct and Spillover Effects of Job Training: Experimental Evidence from Colombia By Adriana Kugler; Maurice Kugler; Juan Saavedra; Luis Omar Herrera Prada
  10. Using Behavioral Insights to Increase Parental Engagement: The Parents and Children Together (PACT) Intervention By Susan E. Mayer; Ariel Kalil; Philip Oreopoulos; Sebastian Gallegos
  11. Gender priming and altruism in a random sample By Boschini, Anne; Dreber, Anna; von Essen, Emma; Muren, Astri; Ranehill, Eva
  12. Competing theories of risk preferences and the demand for crop insurance: Experimental evidence from Peru By Petraud, Jean; Boucher, Stephen; Carter, Michael
  13. Water quality information, WATSAN-agriculture hygiene messages and water testing with school students: Experimental evidence for behavioral changes in Bangladesh By Malek, Mohammad Abdul; Saha, Ratnajit; Chowdhury, Priyanka; Khan, Tahsina; Mohammad, Ikhtiar
  14. Advancing Evidence-Based Decision Making: A Toolkit on Recognizing and Conducting Opportunistic Experiments in the Family Self-Sufficiency and Stability Policy Area By Alicia Meckstroth; Alexandra Resch; Jonathan McCay; Michelle Derr; Jillian Berk; Lauren Akers
  15. Peer Effects in Computer Assisted Learning: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment By Fafchamps, Marcel; Mo, Di
  16. Intended College Attendance: Evidence from an Experiment on College Returns and Cost By Bleemer, Zachary; Zafar, Basit
  17. Racial Discrimination in Local Public Services: A Field Experiment in the US By Corrado Giulietti; Mirco Tonin; Michael Vlassopoulos
  18. Formal and informal insurance: experimental evidence from Ethiopia By Berhane, Guush; Dercon, Stefan; Hill, Ruth; Taffesse, Alemayehu
  19. Expert Information and Majority Decisions By Kohei Kawamura; Vasileios Vlaseros
  20. Movies, Margins and Marketing: Encouraging the Adoption of Iron-Fortified Salt By Abhijit Banerjee; Sharon Barnhardt; Esther Duflo
  21. Consumer acceptance of an iron bean variety in Northwest Guatemala: The role of information and repeated messaging By Perez, Salomon; Aparinde, Adewale; Birol, Ekin; Gonzalez, Carolina; Zeller, Manfred
  22. Lies, Discrimination, and Internalized Racism: Findings from the lab. By David, Wozniak; Tim, MacNeill
  23. Learning What Works: A Guide to Opportunistic Experiments for Human Services Agencies By Jonathan McCay; Alicia Meckstroth; Lauren Akers; Alexandra Resch; Michelle Derr; Jillian Berk
  24. When Evidence is Not Enough: Findings from a Randomized Evaluation of Evidence-Based Literacy Instruction (EBLI) By Brian Jacob
  25. Leadership and persistency in spontaneuous dishonesty By Susanne Braun; Lars Hornuf
  26. Consumer Acceptance of Biofortified Iron Beans in Rural Rwanda: Experimental Evidence By Oparinde, Adewale; Birol, Ekin; Murekezi, Abdoul; Katsvairo, Lister; Diressie, Michael; Nkundimana, Jean; Butare, Louis
  27. Trading Votes for Votes. A Decentralized Matching Algorithm By Alessandra Casella; Thomas Palfrey
  28. Extension Services, Production and Welfare: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Ethiopia By Jacopo, Bonan; Stefano, Pareglio; Valentina, Rotondi
  29. Understanding Peer Effects: On the Nature, Estimation and Channels of Peer Effects By Feld, Jan; Zölitz, Ulf
  30. The Welfare Effects of Nudges: A Case Study of Energy Use Social Comparisons By Hunt Allcott; Judd B. Kessler
  31. Do Students Know Best? Choice, Classroom Time, and Academic Performance By Theodore J. Joyce; Sean Crockett; David A. Jaeger; Onur Altindag; Stephen D. O'Connell; Dahlia K. Remler

  1. By: Leonardo Bursztyn; Stefano Fiorin; Daniel Gottlieb; Martin Kanz
    Abstract: We study the role of morality in the decision to repay debts. Using a field experiment with a large Islamic bank in Indonesia, we find that moral appeals strongly increase credit card repayments. In our setting, all of the bank’s late-paying credit card customers receive a basic reminder to repay their debt one day after they miss the payment due date. In addition, two days before the end of a ten-day grace period, clients in a treatment group also receive a text message that quotes an Islamic religious text stating that “non-repayment of debts by someone who is able to repay is an injustice.” This message increases the share of customers meeting their minimum payments by nearly 20%. By contrast, sending either a simple reminder or an Islamic quote that is unrelated to debt repayment has no effect on the share of customers making the minimum payment. Clients also respond more strongly to this moral appeal than to substantial financial incentives: receiving the religious message increases repayments by more than offering a cash rebate equivalent to 50% of the minimum repayment. Finally, we find that removing religious aspects from the quote does not change its effectiveness, suggesting that the moral appeal of the message does not necessarily rely on its religious connotation.
    JEL: D14 G02 G21 Z10 Z12
    Date: 2015–10
  2. By: Duttle, Kai; Shichijo, Tatsuhiro
    Abstract: This experimental study measures three types of overconfidence in the decision behavior of participants from Germany and Japan. In the first stage of the experiment subjects completed a Raven Progressive Matrices test and subsequently assessed their test performance in absolute and relative terms. During the second stage subjects provided probability forecasts by confidence intervals to artificially generated price paths. Furthermore subjects´ better-than-average bias was assessed during a post-experimental questionnaire. We find that monetary incentives as a reason to honestly self-evaluate reduce cultural differences in overplacement and in overestimation of own performance. Over-precision in probability judgment accuracy on the other hand significantly differed across ethnical groups. To analyze national identity priming effects on overconfidence, a pre-experimental questionnaire made this identity salient to a randomly selected treatment group. Previous studies found that primes of certain identities can trigger behavior that is consistent with the stereotypes associated with that identity, but can also cause psychological reactance leading to counter-stereotypical behavior. We find that in a setting where there are no incentives to provide honest performance self-evaluations the identity prime reinforces behavior consistent with a default strategy which helps adapting to social norms. In incentivized decisions on the other hand the prime causes counter-stereotypical self-perception. Reasons for this phenomenon are discussed.
    Keywords: overconfidence,interval estimates,identity priming,culture,stereotype effect
    JEL: C91 G02 F00
    Date: 2015
  3. By: Goto, Jun; Sawada, Yasuyuki; Aida, Takeshi; Aoyagi, Keitaro
    Abstract: This paper investigates the interplay between economic incentives and social norms in formulating rice planting contracts in the Philippines. In our study area, despite the potential for pervasive opportunistic behaviors by workers, a fixed-wage (FW) contract has been dominant for rice planting. To account for the use of this seemingly inefficient contractual arrangement, we adopt a hybrid experimental method of framed field experiments by randomized controlled trials (RCT), in which we randomly assign three distinct labor contracts—FW, individual piece rate (IPR), and group piece rate (GPR)—and artefactual field experiments to elicit social preference parameters. Through analyses of individual workers’ performance data from framed field experiments and data on social preferences elicited by artefactual field experiments, three main empirical findings emerge. First, our basic results show the positive incentive effects in IPR and, equivalently, moral hazard problems in FW, which are consistent with standard theoretical implications. Second, non-monetary incentives seem to play a significant role under FW: while social preferences such as altruism and guilt aversion play an important role in stimulating incentives under FW, introducing monetary incentives crowds out such intrinsic motivations, and other non-monetary factors such as positive peer effects significantly enhance incentives under a FW contract. Finally, as alternative hypotheses, our empirical results are not necessarily consistent with the hypothesis of the interlinked contract of labor and credit transactions in mitigating moral hazard problems, the optimality of FW contract under large effort measurement errors, and the intertemporal incentives arising from performance-based contract renewal probabilities. Hence, considering the interplay of intrinsic motivations and monetary incentives as well as the monetary costs of mitigating moral hazard and free-riding problems through IPR, we may conclude that seemingly perverse traditional contractual arrangements might be socially efficient.
    Keywords: Randomized controlled trials, incentives, social preferences, peer effect, labor contract, field experiments, Labor and Human Capital, D03, C93, D22, C91,
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Drago, Francesco (University of Naples Federico II); Mengel, Friederike (University of Essex); Traxler, Christian (Hertie School of Governance)
    Abstract: This paper studies the spread of compliance behavior in neighborhood networks involving over 500,000 households in Austria. We exploit random variation from a field experiment which varied the content of mailings sent to potential evaders of TV license fees. Our data reveal a strong treatment spillover: 'untreated' households, who were not part of the experimental sample, are more likely to switch from evasion to compliance in response to the mailings received by their network neighbors. We analyze the spillover within a model of communication in networks based on DeGroot (1974). Consistent with the model, we find that (i) the spillover increases with the treated households' eigenvector centrality and that (ii) local concentration of equally treated households produces a lower spillover. These findings carry important implications for enforcement policies.
    Keywords: neighborhood networks, social learning, spillover, evasion, field experiment
    JEL: D8 H26 Z13
    Date: 2015–10
  5. By: Serfilippi, Elena; Carter, Michael; Guirkinger, Catherine
    Abstract: In this paper, we argue that discontinuous preference over certain and uncertain outcomes (as in Andreoni and Sprenger, 2009; 2012) have a dampening effect on the demand for insurance. The intuition is that if agents exhibit a disproportionate preference for certain outcomes, they would undervalue uncertain insurance indemnity payments compared to certain premium cost and exhibit lower demand for insurance compared to a classic expected utility maximizer. Inspired by the seminal work of Andreoni and Sprenger, we design games to identify agents with a disproportionate preference for certain outcomes and play them with 571 cotton farmers in Western Burkina-Faso. We then provide experimental evidence that this is a powerful framework to understand demand for micro-insurance. Specifically we show that agents with discontinuous preference respond positively to an alternative presentation of a classic insurance contract: they are willing to pay more for a given contract if the premium cost is artificially made uncertain by being directly deducted from indemnity payments. We also explore alternative behavioral arguments such as loss aversion but argue that they offer less appealing framework to understand the full set of our results. Our results have practical implications for the design of insurance contracts.
    Keywords: Index Insurance, Risk and Uncertainty, Discontinuity of preferences, Field Experiments, Crop Production/Industries, Q12, D03,
    Date: 2015
  6. By: BONAN Jacopo; LEMAY-BOUCHER Philippe; SCOTT Douglas; TENIKUE Michel
    Abstract: Abstract This paper studies the effect of information on malaria and of distribution strategies on the demand for anti-malaria bednets. We use a randomized experiment in the city of Thies in Senegal. We offer two orthogonal treatments to a random sample of households. The first is a sale treatment and consists of (1) an offer to purchase on the spot a bednet at a subsidized price or (2) an offer to purchase a bednet at the same subsidized price with a voucher valid for 7 days. The second is an information treatment that consists of a ten-minute information session on malaria related issues. We find that information has no significant effect on the demand of bednets and that, receiving a voucher increases purchasing by 20%. Our results suggest that selling bednets at a subsidized prize allowing for some flexibility with a short period of seven days increases purchase compared to the on-the-spot sale approach.
    Keywords: bednet; information; malaria; prevention
    Date: 2015–10
  7. By: David Neumark; Ian Burn; Patrick Button
    Abstract: We design and implement a large-scale field experiment – a resume correspondence study – to address a number of potential limitations of existing field experiments testing for age discrimination, which may bias their results. One limitation that may bias these studies towards finding discrimination is the practice of giving older and younger applicants similar experience in the job to which they are applying, to make them “otherwise comparable.” The second limitation arises because greater unobserved differences in human capital investment of older applicants may bias existing field experiments against finding age discrimination. We also study ages closer to retirement than in past studies, and use a richer set of job profiles for older workers to test for differences associated with transitions to less demanding jobs (“bridge jobs”) at older ages. Based on evidence from over 40,000 job applications, we find robust evidence of age discrimination in hiring against older women. But we find that there is considerably less evidence of age discrimination against men after correcting for the potential biases this study addresses.
    JEL: J14 J26 J7 K31
    Date: 2015–10
  8. By: Banerji, Abhijit; Chowdhury, Shyamal; Groote, Hugo; Meenakshi, J.V.; Haleegoah, Joyce; Ewool, Manfred
    Abstract: We conduct a field experiment in Ghana to assess (a) consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for a provitamin A maize variety, (b) the performance of three elicitation mechanisms (Becker-DeGroot-Marschak [BDM] mechanism, kth price auction, and choice experiment) in eliciting WTP, (c) the effect of participation fees on WTP and (d) the effect of nutrition information on WTP. WTP results are similar in magnitude across the three elicitation mechanisms. Variation in participation fee has no effect on estimated WTP in the two mechanisms that varied participation fee, suggesting that people did not have a higher propensity to spend out of windfall income. In the absence of information on the nutrient density of the provitamin A maize variety, consumers are willing to pay less for it than the existing varieties; however, nutrition information transforms this discount into a substantial premium.
    Keywords: biofortification, provitamin A maize, Becker-DeGroot-Marschak mechanism, kth price auction, choice experiment, participation fee, Crop Production/Industries, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, C35, C93, D12, D83, Q18,
    Date: 2015
  9. By: Adriana Kugler; Maurice Kugler; Juan Saavedra; Luis Omar Herrera Prada
    Abstract: We use administrative data to examine medium and long-term formal education and labor market impacts among participants and family members of a randomized vocational training program for disadvantaged youth in Colombia. In the Colombian program, vocational training and formal education are complementary investments: relative to non-participants, randomly selected participants are more likely to complete secondary school and to attend and persist in tertiary education eight years after random assignment. Complementarity is strongest among applicants with high baseline educational attainment. Training also has educational spillover effects on participants’ family members, who are more likely to enroll in tertiary education. Between three and eight years after randomization, participants are more likely to enter and remain in formal employment, and have formal sector earnings that are at least 11 percent higher than those of non-participants.
    JEL: J24 J38 J6 O17 O54
    Date: 2015–10
  10. By: Susan E. Mayer; Ariel Kalil; Philip Oreopoulos; Sebastian Gallegos
    Abstract: Parent engagement with their children plays an important role in children’s eventual economic success and numerous studies have documented large gaps in parent engagement between low- and higher-income families. While we know remarkably little about what motivates parents to engage in their children’s development, recent research suggests that ignoring or discounting the future may inhibit parental investment, while certain behavioral tools may help offset this tendency. This paper reports results from a randomized field experiment designed to increase the time that parents of children in subsidized preschool programs spend reading to their children using an electronic reading application that audio and video records parents as they read. The treatment included three behavioral tools (text reminders, goal-setting, and social rewards) as well as information about the importance of reading to children. The treatment increased usage of the reading application by one standard deviation after the six-week intervention. Our evidence suggests that the large effect size is not accounted for by the information component of the intervention and that the treatment impact was much greater for parents who are more present-oriented than for parents who are less present-oriented.
    JEL: D03 I20 I28 J24
    Date: 2015–10
  11. By: Boschini, Anne (SOFI); Dreber, Anna (Stockholm School of Economics); von Essen, Emma (Aarhus University); Muren, Astri (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University); Ranehill, Eva (University of Zurich)
    Abstract: We study gender differences in altruism in a large random sample of the Swedish population using a standard dictator game. In our data, a gender gap in altruism emerges when we increase the salience of gender by priming participants with their gender and placing them in a gender-mixed context. In this case women give more than in the baseline, and men give less, thereby creating a significant gender difference in altruism. Our findings provide insight into the conditions under which individuals’ gender identity is made salient.
    Keywords: Gender differences; Random sample; Dictator games; Gender context; Priming; Experiment
    JEL: C91 C93 J16
    Date: 2015–10–23
  12. By: Petraud, Jean; Boucher, Stephen; Carter, Michael
    Abstract: Low demand for index insurance in several recent pilot programs has created a puzzle for development economists and policy makers concerned with enhancing farmers risk management capacity in low-income economies. This paper contributes to the resolution of this puzzle by providing empirical evidence on the relative effectiveness of two primary frameworks for modeling decision-making under uncertainty. Specifically, we test whether features of Cumulative Prospect Theory (CPT), or Expected Utility Theory (EUT), better predict farmers' demand for crop insurance. Whereas in EUT, risk preferences can be represented by a single risk aversion parameter, in CPT they are determined by at least four components: probability weighting, the curvature of a utility function, a reference income and loss aversion. The data come from a series of unframed and framed lotteries played with 480 small-holder cotton farmers in southern Peru. The unframed risk games allow us to measure individual-specific preference parameters, for both theories. We use these parameters to generate predictions of farmers' choices in two framed insurance games in which farmers choose to purchase one of two available insurance contracts or to purchase no insurance. In the first game, farmers' earnings are framed as gross revenues and are always positive, i.e., this game is played over gains. In the second game, earnings are framed as net revenues and may be either positive or negative so that this is a game played over mixed prospects. We test the relative performance of the two theories by comparing the predictions of farmers' choices versus their actual choices in the insurance games. An important finding with respect to marketing of insurance contracts is that framing incomes as net revenues instead of gross revenues increases the CPT predicted demand by 24%. In the actual insurance games however, only 8% more farmers chose insurance in the net revenues frame. We find that neither theory is a particularly strong predictor of insurance choices, although EUT fares better than CPT for better educated farmers.
    Keywords: Crop Production/Industries,
    Date: 2015
  13. By: Malek, Mohammad Abdul; Saha, Ratnajit; Chowdhury, Priyanka; Khan, Tahsina; Mohammad, Ikhtiar
    Abstract: This paper attempts to reveal the effectiveness of the package of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions with the school students’ network “student brigades” in terms of their impacts on water and sanitation (or WATSAN) behavior of household members both in household and farm level and on their health and productivity outcomes. We conduct Randomized Control Trial (RCT) with students’ brigades in six WATSAN hotspots (sub-districts) of Bangladesh in several phases: a water quality census, baseline survey, treatment implementation at treatment areas and end line survey. Our treatment consists of three actions: informing the households about the prior water testing results, delivering hygiene messages through a poster and equipping the student brigades with water testing toolkits and letting them test water at different points and communicate the results back to their households. Impression from the implemented treatments indicates that the suggested intervention package can be an effective strategy to motivate households and communities, particularly by using school students as the agents of change.
    Keywords: Water quality information/testing, WATSAN-agriculture hygiene messages, school students, randomized control trial, behavioral changes, Bangladesh, Environmental Economics and Policy, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, C9, I15, Q11, Q15.,
    Date: 2015
  14. By: Alicia Meckstroth; Alexandra Resch; Jonathan McCay; Michelle Derr; Jillian Berk; Lauren Akers
    Abstract: This report describes in detail how researchers, policymakers, and program administrators can recognize opportunities for experiments and carry them out. Specifically, the report focuses on opportunistic experiments, defined as randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that study the effects of initiatives, program changes, or policy actions that agencies or programs plan or intend to implement – as opposed to studying an intervention or policy action that is developed and implemented specifically for a research study.
    Keywords: Opportunistic experiment, human services, randomized controlled trial, RCT, random assignment
    JEL: I
    Date: 2015–10–30
  15. By: Fafchamps, Marcel; Mo, Di
    Abstract: We conduct a large scale RCT to investigate peer e↵ects in computer assisted learning (CAL). Identification of peer e↵ects relies on three levels of randomization. It is already known that CAL improves math test scores in Chinese rural schools. We find that paired treatment improves the beneficial e↵ects of treatment for poor performers when they are paired with high performers. We test whether CAL treatment reduces the dispersion in math scores relative to controls, and we find statistically significant evidence that it does. We also demonstrate that the beneficial e↵ects of CAL could potentially be strengthened, both in terms of average e↵ect and in terms of reduced dispersion, if weak students are systematically paired with strong students during treatment. To our knowledge, this is the first time that a school intervention has been identified in which peer e↵ects unambiguously help weak students catch up with the rest of the class without imposing any learning cost on other students.
    Keywords: Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession,
    Date: 2015
  16. By: Bleemer, Zachary (University of California, Berkeley); Zafar, Basit (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)
    Abstract: Despite a robust college premium, college attendance rates in the US have remained stagnant and exhibit a substantial socioeconomic gradient. We focus on information gaps – specifically, incomplete information about college benefits and costs – as a potential explanation for these patterns. For this purpose, we conduct an information experiment about college returns and costs embedded within a representative survey of US household heads. We show that, at the baseline, perceptions of college costs and benefits are severely and systematically biased: 75 percent of our respondents underestimate college returns (defined as average earnings of a college graduate relative to a non-college worker in the population), while 61 percent report net public college costs that exceed actual net costs. There is also substantial heterogeneity in beliefs, with evidence of larger biases among lower-income and non-college households. We also elicit respondents' intended likelihood of their pre-college age child attending college, and the likelihood of them recommending college for a friend's child, the two main behavioral outcomes of interest. Respondents are then randomly exposed to one of two information treatments, which respectively provide objective information about "college returns" and "college costs". We find a significant impact on intended college attendance for individuals in the returns experiment: intended college attendance expectations increase by about 0.2 of the standard deviation in the baseline likelihood. Importantly, as a result of the college returns information intervention, gaps in intended college attendance by household income or parents' education persist but decline by 20-30 percent. Notably, the effect of information persists in the medium-term, two months after the intervention. We, however, find no impact of the cost information treatment on college attendance expectations.
    Keywords: college enrollment, college returns and costs, information, subjective expectations
    JEL: D81 D83 D84 I21 I24 I28
    Date: 2015–10
  17. By: Corrado Giulietti (Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)); Mirco Tonin (Free University of Bolzano‐Bozen, Faculty of Economics and Management); Michael Vlassopoulos (University of Southampton)
    Abstract: Discrimination in access to public services can act as a major obstacle towards addressing racial inequality. We examine whether racial discrimination exists in access to a wide spectrum of public services in the US. We carry out an email correspondence study in which we pose simple queries to more than 19,000 local public service providers. We find that emails are less likely to receive a response if signed by a black-sounding name compared to a white-sounding name. Given a response rate of 72% for white senders, emails from putatively black senders are almost 4 percentage points less likely to receive an answer. We also find that responses to queries coming from black names are less likely to have a cordial tone. Further tests suggest that the differential in the likelihood of answering is due to animus towards blacks rather than inferring socioeconomic status from race.
    Keywords: discrimination, public services provision, school districts, libraries, sheriffs, field experiment, correspondence study
    JEL: D73 H41 J15
    Date: 2015–10
  18. By: Berhane, Guush; Dercon, Stefan; Hill, Ruth; Taffesse, Alemayehu
    Abstract: We examine the impact of formal insurance and informal risk-sharing institutions on welfare, and the complementarity between these forms of formal and informal insurance. As in a number of other studies, formal rainfall index insurance was offered to farmers. However in this study support to local risk sharing institutions—iddirs—was also provided to strengthen the extent to which they were able to insure members against idiosyncratic shocks. Access to insurance and support to iddirs was randomized across villages during two agricultural seasons. Results show that formal insurance has a significant impact on encouraging productive investments, particularly investments in fertilizer, replicating the results found in Ghana in Karlan et al (2013). Strengthening risk-sharing through iddirs increases formal insurance demand (consistent with the results in Dercon et al 2013) and some welfare outcomes, but does not cause insurance to have any additional effect on productive outcomes. There is also some evidence that strengthening risk-sharing through local institutions reduces individual bilateral transfers.
    Keywords: index insurance, risk sharing institutions, impact, International Development, Risk and Uncertainty,
    Date: 2015
  19. By: Kohei Kawamura; Vasileios Vlaseros
    Abstract: This paper shows theoretically and experimentally that hearing expert opinions can be a double-edged sword for collective decision making. We present a majoritarian voting game of common interest where committee members receive not only private information, but also expert information that is more accurate than private information and observed by all members. In theory, there are Bayesian Nash equilibria where the committee members’ voting strategy incorporates both types of information and access to expert information enhances the efficiency of the majority decision. However, there is also a class of potentially inefficient equilibria where a supermajority always follow expert information and the majority decision does not aggregate private information. In the laboratory, the majority decisions and the subjects’ voting behaviour were largely consistent with those in the class of inefficient equilibria. We found a large efficiency loss due to the presence of expert information especially when the committee size was large. We suggest that it may be desirable for expert information to be revealed only to a subset of committee members.
    Keywords: committee decision making, voting experiment, expert information, strategic voting
    JEL: C92 D72 D82
    Date: 2015–09–23
  20. By: Abhijit Banerjee; Sharon Barnhardt; Esther Duflo
    Abstract: A set of randomized experiments shed light on how markets and information influence household decisions to adopt nutritional innovations. Of 400 Indian villages, we randomly assigned half to an intervention where all shopkeepers were offered the option to sell a new salt, fortified with both iron and iodine (and not just iodine) at 50% discount. Within treatment villages, we conducted additional interventions: an increase in retailer margin (for one or several shopkeepers), the screening of an “edutainment” movie on the benefits of double-fortified salt, a flyer informing households of the product’s availability, and free distribution to a subset of households. We find that two interventions – showing the short film and offering an incentive to all shopkeepers – significantly increased usage: both by 5.5 percentage points, or over 50%, over take up without intervention, three years after launch. For comparison, only about half of households given the salt for free actually consumed it.
    JEL: I12 I15
    Date: 2015–10
  21. By: Perez, Salomon; Aparinde, Adewale; Birol, Ekin; Gonzalez, Carolina; Zeller, Manfred
    Abstract: We implement a field experiment in Guatemala to (i) evaluate consumer acceptance of organoleptic characteristics of an iron bean variety; (ii) measure consumer willingness to pay (WTP), for this iron bean variety;, (iii) investigate the role of nutrition information on consumer acceptance of the iron bean variety, and (iv) shed light on to the impact of repetition of information on consumer acceptance. We implement Home Use Testing and Becker – DeGroot-Marshak methods. Results indicate that consumers like both varieties equally, with a few differences in certain organoleptic characteristic. Although the WTP for the iron variety is higher, the difference is not statistically significant. Information plays a positive role in consumer acceptance of the iron variety but repetition of information does not have a significant impact on acceptance. These results are informative for the development and delivery of iron bean varieties for Guatemalan consumers.
    Keywords: biofortification, iron bean, Becker-DeGroot-Marschak mechanism, Crop Production/Industries, C35, C93, D12, D83, Q18,
    Date: 2015
  22. By: David, Wozniak; Tim, MacNeill
    Abstract: We simulate a job application/hiring market in the lab to examine racial discrimination. We find little evidence of ability differences based on race but we find taste-based racism between groups and statistical racism within groups. When candidates are given the opportunity to lie about their abilities, all groups discriminate against Blacks, suggesting statistical discrimination. But Whites continue to discriminate against Blacks when actual abilities of the candidate are known, suggesting taste-based discrimination. In contrast to the bulk of studies that attempt to establish racism in general as either a taste-based or statistical, our design allows us to show that the type of discrimination can depend on the personal characteristics of the discriminating individual along with the contextual information available.
    Keywords: Discrimination, Experiment, Racism, Signalling, Screening
    JEL: C9 C90 D0 J71
    Date: 2015–10–25
  23. By: Jonathan McCay; Alicia Meckstroth; Lauren Akers; Alexandra Resch; Michelle Derr; Jillian Berk
    Abstract: This report introduces human services program operators to randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and provides guidance on how to conduct them. The guide explains the benefits of using random assignment, answers common questions and concerns about RCTs, and provides practical, step-by-step guidance on how to conduct an RCT.
    Keywords: opportunistic experiment, human services, randomized controlled trial, RTC, random assignment
    JEL: I
    Date: 2015–10–30
  24. By: Brian Jacob
    Abstract: This paper reports the results of an experimental evaluation of Evidence Based Literacy Instruction (EBLI). Developed over 15 years ago, EBLI aims to provide teachers with instructional strategies to improve reading accuracy, fluency and comprehension. Sixty-three teachers in grades 2-5 in seven Michigan charter schools were randomly assigned within school-grade blocks to receive EBLI training or a business-as-usual control condition. Comparing students in treatment and control classrooms during the 2014-15 school year, we find no significant impact on reading performance. Teacher survey responses and interviews with program staff suggest that several implementation challenges may have played a role in the null findings.
    JEL: I0 I20 I21 I28
    Date: 2015–10
  25. By: Susanne Braun (, Durham University,Business School); Lars Hornuf (Institute for Industrial Relations and Labour Law in the European Union,)
    Abstract: Extensive evidence shows that when given the opportunity, people cheat for monetary rewards, but only to the extent that they can keep a positive self-concept. In this study, we investigate various factors that may influence the degree to which people can keep their positive self-concept while cheating for monetary gains. We find that authentic leadership, gender, cheating norm, experience of cheating, and expectations of others’ cheating behavior have no effect on participants’ spontaneous dishonestyon an abstract task. Therefore, reducing people’s cheating behavior might be a long-term project for the management of fraudulent organizations and more difficult than might be expected.
    Keywords: Cheating, Dishonest behavior, Authentic leadership, self-concept maintenance
    JEL: C92 J53 M5
    Date: 2015–10
  26. By: Oparinde, Adewale; Birol, Ekin; Murekezi, Abdoul; Katsvairo, Lister; Diressie, Michael; Nkundimana, Jean; Butare, Louis
    Abstract: We examine consumer acceptance of two iron bean varieties in Rwanda: red iron bean (RIB) and white iron bean (WIB). Using the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak mechanism, we investigate the effect of (1) nutrition information; (2) information frame (information emphasizing negative consequences of not having enough iron in diets versus information emphasizing benefits), and (3) the frequency of providing the information, on consumer willingness to pay (WTP) for iron bean varieties. Results indicate that in the absence of information about their nutritional benefits, consumers are willing to pay a large premium for RIB, but not for WIB, relative to the local variety. Nutrition information has a positive effect on the premium for each of the iron bean varieties. We find that the way in which the information is framed has no significant effect on this premium, whereas provision of the information three times versus once significantly increases WTP for WIB.
    Keywords: biofortification, iron beans, Becker-DeGroot-Marschak mechanism, Environmental Economics and Policy, C35, C93, D12, D83, Q18,
    Date: 2015
  27. By: Alessandra Casella; Thomas Palfrey
    Abstract: Vote-trading is common practice in committees and group decision-making. Yet we know very little about its properties. Inspired by the similarity between the logic of sequential rounds of pairwise vote-trading and matching algorithms, we explore three central questions that have parallels in the matching literature: (1) Does a stable allocation of votes always exists? (2) Is it reachable through a decentralized algorithm? (3) What welfare properties does it possess? We prove that a stable allocation exists and is always reached in a finite number of trades, for any number of voters and issues, for any separable preferences, and for any rule on how trades are prioritized. Its welfare properties however are guaranteed to be desirable only under specific conditions. A laboratory experiment confirms that stability has predictive power on the vote allocation achieved via sequential pairwise trades, but lends only weak support to the dynamic algorithm itself.
    JEL: C92 D7 D72
    Date: 2015–10
  28. By: Jacopo, Bonan; Stefano, Pareglio; Valentina, Rotondi
    Abstract: The paper assesses the impact of a small-scale agricultural extension project implemented in rural Ethiopia and aimed at introducing the culti- vation of horticultural gardens along with some innovative techniques, products and inputs. Our main outcome of interest is the level of adoption of new horticultural products. We also assess the consequent impacts on the level of revenues from sale and diet diversification. We use a mixed impact evaluation design combining across-villages comparisons, through difference-in-differences estimations, with a within village randomized control trial. To this aim, we make use of micro-data collected through surveys administered to 602 households in two time periods (2013 and 2014). We find that the project contributes to production diversification as the number of house- holds growing vegetables increases by about 30%. Overall, such changes do not seem to in uence in a relevant way the total revenues from sales of agricultural products and do not consequently affect household welfare. We do not find significant changes in the consumption of vegetables and only marginal increase in fruit uptake. This leads to an overall irrelevant impact on diet diversification.
    Keywords: Rural Development, Extension Services, Home Gardening, Food Security, Nutrition
    JEL: D04 O13 Q16
    Date: 2015–10–30
  29. By: Feld, Jan; Zölitz, Ulf
    Abstract: This paper estimates peer effects in a university context where students are randomly assigned to sections. While students benefit from better peers on average, low-achieving students are harmed by high-achieving peers. Analyzing students’ course evaluations suggests that peer effects are driven by improved group interaction rather than adjustments in teachers’ behavior or students’effort. We further show, building on Angrist (2014), that classical measurement error in a setting where group assignment is systematic can lead to substantial overestimation of peer effects. With random assignment, as is the case in our setting, estimates are only attenuated.
    Keywords: Peer effects, Higher education, Measurement error, Estimation bias,
    Date: 2015
  30. By: Hunt Allcott; Judd B. Kessler
    Abstract: "Nudge"-style interventions are typically evaluated on the basis of their effects on behavior, not social welfare. We use a field experiment to measure the welfare effects of one especially policy-relevant intervention, home energy conservation reports. We measure consumer welfare by sending introductory reports and using an incentive-compatible multiple price list to determine willingness-to-pay to continue the program. We combine this with estimates of implementation costs and externality reductions to carry out a comprehensive welfare evaluation. We find that this nudge increases social welfare, although traditional program evaluation approaches overstate welfare gains by a factor of five. To exploit significant individual-level heterogeneity in welfare gains, we develop a simple machine learning algorithm to optimally target the nudge; this would more than double the welfare gains. Our results highlight that nudges, even those that are highly effective at changing behavior, need to be evaluated based on their welfare implications.
    JEL: C44 C53 D12 L94 Q41 Q48
    Date: 2015–10
  31. By: Theodore J. Joyce; Sean Crockett; David A. Jaeger; Onur Altindag; Stephen D. O'Connell; Dahlia K. Remler
    Abstract: We compare student academic performance in traditional twice-a-week and compressed once-a-week lecture formats in introductory microeconomics between one semester in which students were randomly assigned into the formats and another semester when students were allowed to choose their format. In each semester we offered the same course with the sections taught at the same times in the same classrooms by the same professors using the same book, software and lecture slides. Our study design is modeled after a doubly randomized preference trial (DRPT), which provides insights regarding external validity beyond what is possible from a single randomized study. Our goal is to assess whether having a choice modifies the treatment effect of format. Students in the compressed format of the randomized arm of the study scored -0.19 standard deviations less on the combined midterm and final (p<.01) and -0.14 standard deviation less in choice arm (p<.01). There was little evidence of selection bias in choice of format. Future analyses of online learning formats employing randomization should consider DRPT designs to enhance the generalizability of results.
    JEL: I20 I23
    Date: 2015–10

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