nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2018‒04‒16
25 papers chosen by

  1. Friends or Strangers? Strategic Uncertainty and Coordination across Experimental Games of Strategic Complements and Substitutes By Gabriele Chierchia; Fabio Tufano; Giorgio Coricelli
  2. Self Confidence Spillovers and Motivated Beliefs By Ritwik Banerjee; Nabanita Datta Gupta; Marie Claire Villeval
  3. Giving in the face of risk By Cettolin, Elena; Riedl, Arno; Tran, Giang
  4. Experimentally Induced Empathy does not Affect Monetarily Incentivized Dictator Game Behavior By Lönnqvist, Jan-Erik; Walkowitz, Gari
  5. A Quantitative Easing Experiment By Adrian Penalver; Nobuyuki Hanaki; Eizo Akiyama; Yukihiko Funaki; Ryuichiro Ishikawa
  6. Does Ignorance of Economic Returns and Costs Explain the Educational Aspiration Gap? Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments By Lergetporer, Philipp; Werner, Katharina; Woessmann, Ludger
  7. Monopsony in Online Labor Markets By Arindrajit Dube; Jeff Jacobs; Suresh Naidu; Siddharth Suri
  8. Civility and Trust in Social Media By Antoci, Angelo; Bonelli, Laura; Paglieri, Fabio; Reggiani, Tommaso; Sabatini, Fabio
  9. Group Size Effect and Over-Punishment in the Case of Third Party Enforcement of Social Norms By Kamei, Kenju
  10. Exponential-growth bias and overconfidence By Levy, Matthew R.; Tasoff, Joshua
  11. Climate change : Behavioral responses from extreme events and delayed damages By Ghidoni, Riccardo; Calzolari, Giacomo; Casari, Marco
  12. Investment in Outside Options as Opportunistic Behavior: An Experimental Investigation By Morita, Hodaka; Servátka, Maroš
  13. How laboratory experiments could help disentangle the influences of production risk and risk preferences on input decisions By Bougherara, Douadia; Nauges, Céline
  14. Catch me if you can. Can human observers identify insiders in asset markets? By Thomas Stöckl; Stefan Palan
  15. Emergence of Cooperation in the thermodynamic limit By Shubhayan Sarkar; Colin Benjamin
  16. Sales impact of servicescape’s rational stimuli: a natural field experiment By Morone, Andrea; Nemore, Francesco; Schirone, Dario Antonio
  17. Imminent entry and the transition to multimarket rivalry in a laboratory setting By Mason, Charles F.; Phillips, Owen R.
  18. Long-Term Effects of Job-Search Assistance: Experimental Evidence Using Administrative Tax Data By Dayanand S. Manoli; Marios Michaelides; Ankur Patel
  19. Optimal Law Enforcement with Ordered Leniency By Landeo, Claudia; Spier, Kathryn
  20. Evaluating Hospital Case Cost Prediction Models Using Azure Machine Learning Studio By Alexei Botchkarev
  21. Interacting collective action problems in the commons By Nicolas Querou
  22. Considering the systems engineering leading indicators to improve project performance measurement By Li Zheng; Claude Baron; Philippe Esteban; Rui Xue; Qiang Zhang
  23. Observational and reinforcement pattern-learning: An exploratory study * By Nobuyuki Hanaki; Alan Kirman; Paul Pezanis-Christou
  24. Controlling Tuberculosis? Evidence from the Mother of all Community-Wide Health Experiments By Karen Clay; Peter Juul Egedes; Casper Worm Hansen; Peter Sandholt Jensen
  25. War and Social Attitudes By Travers Barclay Child; Elena Nikolova

  1. By: Gabriele Chierchia (Center for Mind/Brain Science, University of Trento, and Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences); Fabio Tufano (School of Economics, University of Nottingham); Giorgio Coricelli (Center for Mind/Brain Science, University of Trento, and Department of Economics, University of Southern California)
    Abstract: It is commonly assumed that friendship should generally benefit agents’ ability to tacitly coordinate with others. However, this has never been tested on two “opposite poles†of coordination, namely, games of strategic complements and substitutes. We present an experimental study in which participants interact with either a friend or a stranger in two classic games: the stag hunt game, which exhibits strategic complementarity, and the entry game, which exhibits strategic substitutability. Both games capture a frequent trade-off between a potentially high paying but uncertain action and a lower paying but safe alternative. We find that, relative to strangers, friends exhibit a propensity towards uncertainty in the stag hunt game, but an aversion to uncertainty in the entry game. Friends also “tremble†less than strangers, coordinate better and earn more in the stag hunt game but these advantages are largely decreased, and almost entirely lost in the entry game. Friendship thus appears to have a very different impact on coordination games involving strategic complements and substitutes. We further investigate the role of interpersonal similarities and friendship qualities in this differential impact.
    Keywords: coordination; entry game; friendship; strategic complementarity; strategic substitutability; stag hunt game; strategic uncertainty
    Date: 2018–01
  2. By: Ritwik Banerjee (Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, Bannerghatta Main Road, Sundar Ram Shetty Nagar, Bilekahalli, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560076 India); Nabanita Datta Gupta (Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University, Denmark, and IZA, Bonn. Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, Denmark); Marie Claire Villeval (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE L-SE UMR 5824, F-69131 Ecully, France; IZA, Bonn, Germany)
    Abstract: Is success in a task used strategically by individuals to motivate their beliefs prior to taking action in a subsequent, unrelated, task? Also, is the distortion of beliefs reinforced for individuals who have lower status in society? Conducting an artefactual field experiment in India, we show that success when competing in a task increases the performers’ self-confidence and competitiveness in the subsequent task. We also find that such spillovers affect the self-confidence of low-status individuals more than that of high-status individuals. Receiving good news under Affirmative Action, however, boosts confidence across tasks regardless of the caste status.
    Keywords: Motivated beliefs, spillovers, self-confidence, competitiveness, Affirmative Action, experiment
    JEL: C91 J15 M52
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Cettolin, Elena (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management); Riedl, Arno; Tran, Giang
    Abstract: Decisions about how to share resources with others often need to be taken under uncertainty regarding its allocational consequences. Although risk preferences are likely important, existing research is silent about how social and risk preferences interact in such situations. In this paper we provide experimental evidence on this question. In a first experiment givers are not exposed to risk while beneficiaries’ final earnings may be larger or smaller than the allocation itself, depending on the realized state of the world. In a second experiment, risk affects the earnings of givers but not of beneficiaries. We find that individuals’ risk preferences are predictive for giving in both experiments. Increased risk exposure of beneficiaries tends to decrease giving whereas increased risk exposure of givers has no effect. We propose a simple non-linear generalization of a model allowing for other-regarding preferences, ex-post and ex-ante fairness, and risk aversion. We find some support for it in our data when risk is on the beneficiaries’ side but less so when risk is on the givers’ side. Our results point to the importance of the further development of models of social preferences that also incorporate risk preferences.
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Lönnqvist, Jan-Erik; Walkowitz, Gari
    Abstract: In a monetarily incentivized Dictator Game we expected Dictators’ empathy towards the Recipients to cause more pro-social allocations. Empathy was experimentally induced via a commonly used perspective taking task. Dictators (N = 476) were instructed to split an endowment of 10€ between themselves and an unknown Recipient. They could split the money 8/2 (8€ for Dictator, 2€ for Recipient) or 5/5 (5€ each). Although the empathy manipulation successfully increased Dictators’ feelings of empathy towards the Recipients, Dictators’ decisions on how to split the money were not affected. We had ample statistical power (above .99) to detect a typical social psychology effect (corresponding to r around .20). Other possible determinants of generosity in the Dictator Game should be investigated.
    Keywords: Empathy, Dictator Game, Generosity, Altruism, Experimental Economics
    JEL: C72 C91 D03
    Date: 2018–03–13
  5. By: Adrian Penalver (Banque de France); Nobuyuki Hanaki (Université Côte d'Azur; CNRS, GREDEG; IUF); Eizo Akiyama (University of Tsukuba, Japan); Yukihiko Funaki (Waseda University, Japan); Ryuichiro Ishikawa (University of Tsukuba)
    Abstract: We experimentally investigate the effect of a central bank buying bonds for cash in a quantitative easing (QE) operation. In our experiment, the bonds are perfect substitute for cash, and have a constant fundamental value (FV) which is not affected by QE in the rational expectations equilibrium. We found that QE raised the bond prices beyond those in the benchmark treatment without QE and these differences became larger as subjects gained experience. While subjects in the benchmark treatment learned to trade the bonds at its FV, those in treatments with QE became more convinced that QE boosts bond prices.
    Keywords: Quantitative easing, experimental asset market, expectation dynamics JEL Code: C90, D84
    JEL: C90 D84
    Date: 2018–04
  6. By: Lergetporer, Philipp (ifo Munich); Werner, Katharina (ifo Munich); Woessmann, Ludger (ifo and LMU Munich)
    Abstract: The gap in university enrollment by parental education is large and persistent in many countries. In our representative survey, 74 percent of German university graduates, but only 36 percent of those without a university degree favor a university education for their children. The latter are more likely to underestimate returns and overestimate costs of university. Experimental provision of return and cost information significantly increases educational aspirations. However, it does not close the aspiration gap as university graduates respond even more strongly to the information treatment. Persistent effects in a follow-up survey indicate that participants indeed process and remember the information. Differences in economic preference parameters also cannot account for the educational aspiration gap. Our results cast doubt that ignorance of economic returns and costs explains educational inequality in Germany.
    Keywords: inequality; higher education; university; aspi ration; information; returns to education; survey experiment;
    JEL: D83 I24 J24 H75
    Date: 2018–04–11
  7. By: Arindrajit Dube; Jeff Jacobs; Suresh Naidu; Siddharth Suri
    Abstract: On-demand labor platforms make up a large part of the “gig economy.” We quantify the extent of monopsony power in one of the largest on-demand labor platforms, Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), by measuring the elasticity of labor supply facing the requester (employer) using both observational and experimental variation in wages. We isolate plausibly exogenous variation in rewards using a double-machine-learning estimator applied to a large dataset of scraped MTurk tasks. We also re-analyze data from 5 MTurk experiments that randomized payments to obtain corresponding experimental estimates. Both approaches yield uniformly low labor supply elasticities, around 0.1, with little heterogeneity.
    JEL: J01 J42
    Date: 2018–03
  8. By: Antoci, Angelo; Bonelli, Laura; Paglieri, Fabio; Reggiani, Tommaso; Sabatini, Fabio
    Abstract: Abstract Social media have been credited with the potential of reinvigorating trust by offering new opportunities for social and political participation. This view has been recently challenged by the rising phenomenon of online incivility, which has made the environment of social networking sites hostile to many users. We conduct a novel experiment in a Facebook setting to study how the effect of social media on trust varies depending on the civility or incivility of online interaction. We find that participants exposed to civil Facebook interaction are significantly more trusting. In contrast, when the use of Facebook is accompanied by the experience of online incivility, no significant changes occur in users' behavior. These results are robust to alternative configurations of the treatments.
    Keywords: social media, Facebook, online incivility, trust, social networks, cooperation, trust game
    JEL: C91 Z0 Z13
    Date: 2018–02–28
  9. By: Kamei, Kenju
    Abstract: One of the important topics in public choice is how people’s free-riding behavior could differ by group size in collective action dilemmas. This paper experimentally studies how the strength of third party punishment in a prisoner’s dilemma could differ by the number of third parties in a group. Our data indicate that as the number of third party punishers increases in a group, the average punishment intensity per third party punisher decreases. However, the decrease rate is very mild and therefore the size of total punishment in a group substantially increases with an increase in group size. As a result, third party punishment becomes a sufficient deterrent against a player selecting defection in the prisoner’s dilemma when the number of third party punishers is sufficiently large. Nevertheless, when there are too many third party punishers in a group, a defector’s expected payoff is far lower than that of a cooperator due to strong aggregate punishment, while some cooperators are even hurt through punishment. Therefore, the group incurs a huge efficiency loss. Such over-punishment results from third party punishers’ conditional punishment behaviors: their punishment intensity is positively correlated with their beliefs on the peers’ punitive actions. Some possible ways to coordinate punishment among peers even when group size is very large, thus enabling the efficiency loss to be mitigated, are also discussed in the paper.
    Keywords: experiment, cooperation, third party punishment, dilemma, group size effect
    JEL: C92 D72 H41
    Date: 2018–02–17
  10. By: Levy, Matthew R.; Tasoff, Joshua
    Abstract: There is increasing evidence that people underestimate the magnitude of compounding interest. However, if people were aware of their inability to make such calculations they should demand services to ameliorate the consequences of such deficiencies. In a laboratory experiment, we find that people exhibit substantial exponential-growth bias but, more importantly, that they are overconfident in their ability to answer questions that involve exponential growth. They also exhibit overconfidence in their ability to use a spreadsheet to answer these questions. This evidence explains why a market solution to exponential-growth bias has not been forthcoming. Biased individuals have suboptimally low demand for tools and services that could improve their financial decisions.
    Keywords: Exponential-growth bias; Overconfidence; Financial literacy; Overestimation; Overprecision
    JEL: D14 D18
    Date: 2017–02–01
  11. By: Ghidoni, Riccardo (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management); Calzolari, Giacomo; Casari, Marco
    Abstract: Understanding how to sustain cooperation in the climate change global dilemma is crucial to mitigate its harmful consequences. Damages from climate change typically occur after long delays and can take the form of more frequent realizations of extreme and random events. These features generate a decoupling between emissions and their damages, which we study through a laboratory experiment. We find that some decision-makers respond to global emissions, as expected, while others respond to realized damages also when emissions are observable. On balance, the presence of delayed/stochastic consequences did not impair cooperation. However, we observed a worrisome increasing trend of emissions when damages hit with delay.
    Date: 2017
  12. By: Morita, Hodaka; Servátka, Maroš
    Abstract: Ex-post opportunistic behavior, commonly present in bilateral trade relationships, is a key element of the transaction cost economics. Investment in outside options is a prime example of such opportunism and often leads to inefficiency, for example by exerting effort to search for alternative business partners even if it does not add trade value. We experimentally investigate a bilateral trade relationship in which standard theory assuming self-regarding preferences predicts that the seller will be better off by investing in the outside option to improve his bargaining position. The seller’s investment, however, might negatively affect the buyer’s other-regarding preferences if the investment is viewed as opportunistic. We find overall support for our hypotheses that arise from the link between other-regarding behavior and opportunism. Our findings suggest that when the transaction cost economics approach is applied to the design of a governance structure, other regarding preferences, if relevant, should be taken into account.
    Keywords: altruism, experiment, opportunistic behavior, other-regarding preferences, outside option, disagreement payoff, rent seeking, theory of the firm
    JEL: C91 L2
    Date: 2018–03–19
  13. By: Bougherara, Douadia; Nauges, Céline
    Abstract: The purpose of this article is to further our understanding of input choices (such as pesticides or fertilisers) when producers face production risk that depends on a random shock and on the quantity of input used. Using laboratory experiments, we study the role of risk preferences and public policies (here, a lump-sum subsidy and insurance) on producers’ input decisions in two situations: i) a risk-decreasing input; and ii) a risk-increasing input. Our findings raise questions on the sensitivity of optimal input choices to risk preferences and the relevance of the expected utility model to describe farmers’ decisions.
    Keywords: laboratory experiment; input choice; production risk; risk preferences; subsidy; insurance
    Date: 2018–03
  14. By: Thomas Stöckl (Department Business Administration Online, Management Center Innsbruck); Stefan Palan (Department of Banking and Finance, University of Graz)
    Abstract: Securities regulators around the globe face the challenge of identifying trades based on inside information. We study human observers' ability to identify informed traders and investigate which trading patterns are indicative of informed trading using experimental asset markets. We furthermore test how the behavioral response of informed traders to the threat of detection and punishment impacts observers' detection abilities. We find that market trading data carries information which correlates with informed trading activity. Observers partly succeed in recognizing and using this information to identify in-formed traders.
    Date: 2018–04–03
  15. By: Shubhayan Sarkar; Colin Benjamin
    Abstract: Predicting how cooperative behavior arises in the thermodynamic limit is one of the outstanding problems in evolutionary game theory. For two player games, cooperation is seldom the Nash equilibrium. However, in the thermodynamic limit cooperation is the natural recourse regardless of whether we are dealing with humans or animals. In this work, we use the analogy with the Ising model to predict how cooperation arises in the thermodynamic limit.
    Date: 2018–03
  16. By: Morone, Andrea; Nemore, Francesco; Schirone, Dario Antonio
    Abstract: Environmental psychologists suggest that people feelings and emotions determine what they do and how they do it. We used the stimulus organism respons model (SOR) as an inspiring theoretical basis for our empirical contribution. We conducted a natural field experiment in six stores, settled in six different Italian cities, of a Swedish-founded Dutch-based multinational group, that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances and home accessories. We provided empirical evidence about the effects of a rational-functional stimulus, i.e. the availability of a new tool for collecting items that is more comfortable and less cumbersome for consumers. Through both a non-parametric and parametric testing, we found a positive effect of the stimuli in terms of sales.
    Keywords: Servicescape; sensorial stimuli; functionality; shopping tool.
    JEL: C9 D2
    Date: 2018–01–01
  17. By: Mason, Charles F.; Phillips, Owen R.
    Abstract: In this paper we study the behavior of rivals when there is a known probability of imminent entry. Experimental markets are used to collect data on pre- and postentry production when there is an announced time of possible entry; some markets experience entry and other do not. In all preentry markets competition is more intense. Postentry behavior in all markets is more competitive compared to a baseline that had no threat. There is evidence that postentry multimarket contact raises outputs in those markets that did not experience entry, behavior we generally refer to as a conduit effect.
    Keywords: entry; rivalry; market experimentation
    JEL: C9 L1 L4
    Date: 2016–11–08
  18. By: Dayanand S. Manoli; Marios Michaelides; Ankur Patel
    Abstract: This paper uses administrative tax data to examine the long-term effects of an experimental job-search assistance program operating in Nevada in 2009. The program required randomly-selected unemployed workers who had just started collecting unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to undergo an eligibility review and receive personalized job-counseling services. The program led to substantial short-term reductions in UI receipt, and to persistent, long-term increases in employment and earnings. The program also affected participants’ family outcomes, including total income, tax filing, tax liability, and home ownership. These findings show that job-search assistance programs may produce substantial long-term effects for participants and their families.
    JEL: I38
    Date: 2018–03
  19. By: Landeo, Claudia (University of Alberta, Department of Economics); Spier, Kathryn (Harvard Law School)
    Abstract: This paper studies the design of enforcement policies to detect and deter harmful short-term activities committed by groups of injurers. With an ordered-leniency policy, the degree of leniency granted to an injurer who self reports depends on his or her position in the self-reporting queue. By creating a "race to the courthouse," ordered-leniency policies lead to faster detection and stronger deterrence of illegal activities. The socially optimal level of deterrence can be obtained at zero cost when the externalities associated with the harmful activities are not too high. Without leniency for self reporting, the enforcement cost is strictly positive and there is underdeterrence of harmful activities relative to the first-best level. Hence, ordered-leniency policies are welfare improving. Our findings for environments with groups of injurers complement Kaplow and Shavell's (1994) results for single-injurer environments. Experimental evidence provides support for our theory.
    Keywords: Law Enforcement; Leniency; Self-Reporting; Ordered Leniency; Harmful Externalities; White-Collar Crime; Securities Fraud; Insider Trading; Market Manipulation; Whistle-blowers; Non-Cooperative Games; Prisoners Dilemma; Coordination Games; Risk Dominance; Pareto Dominance; Experiments
    JEL: C72 C90 D86 K10 L23
    Date: 2018–04–11
  20. By: Alexei Botchkarev
    Abstract: Ability for accurate hospital case cost modelling and prediction is critical for efficient health care financial management and budgetary planning. A variety of regression machine learning algorithms are known to be effective for health care cost predictions. The purpose of this experiment was to build an Azure Machine Learning Studio tool for rapid assessment of multiple types of regression models. The tool offers environment for comparing 14 types of regression models in a unified experiment: linear regression, Bayesian linear regression, decision forest regression, boosted decision tree regression, neural network regression, Poisson regression, Gaussian processes for regression, gradient boosted machine, nonlinear least squares regression, projection pursuit regression, random forest regression, robust regression, robust regression with mm-type estimators, support vector regression. The tool presents assessment results arranged by model accuracy in a single table using five performance metrics. Evaluation of regression machine learning models for performing hospital case cost prediction demonstrated advantage of robust regression model, boosted decision tree regression and decision forest regression. The operational tool has been published to the web and openly available for experiments and extensions.
    Date: 2018–04
  21. By: Nicolas Querou
    Abstract: We consider a setting where agents are subject to two types of collective action problems, any group user’s individual extraction inducing an externality on others in the same group (intra-group problem), while aggregate extraction in one group induces an externality on each agent in other groups (intergroup problem). One illustrative example of such a setting corresponds to a case where a common-pool resource is jointly extracted in local areas, which are managed by separate groups of individuals extracting the resource in their respective location. The interplay between both types of externality is shown to affect the results obtained in classical models of common-pool resources. We show how the fundamentals affect the individual strategies and welfare compared to the benchmark commons problems. Finally, different initiatives (local cooperation, inter-area agreements) are analyzed to assess whether they may alleviate the problems, and to understand the conditions under which they do so
    Date: 2018–02
  22. By: Li Zheng (LAAS-ISI - Équipe Ingénierie Système et Intégration - LAAS - Laboratoire d'analyse et d'architecture des systèmes [Toulouse] - INP - Institut National Polytechnique [Toulouse] - INSA Toulouse - Institut National des Sciences Appliquées - Toulouse - UPS - Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse 3 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Claude Baron (LAAS-ISI - Équipe Ingénierie Système et Intégration - LAAS - Laboratoire d'analyse et d'architecture des systèmes [Toulouse] - INP - Institut National Polytechnique [Toulouse] - INSA Toulouse - Institut National des Sciences Appliquées - Toulouse - UPS - Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse 3 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Philippe Esteban (LAAS-ISI - Équipe Ingénierie Système et Intégration - LAAS - Laboratoire d'analyse et d'architecture des systèmes [Toulouse] - INP - Institut National Polytechnique [Toulouse] - INSA Toulouse - Institut National des Sciences Appliquées - Toulouse - UPS - Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse 3 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Rui Xue (LAAS-ISI - Équipe Ingénierie Système et Intégration - LAAS - Laboratoire d'analyse et d'architecture des systèmes [Toulouse] - INP - Institut National Polytechnique [Toulouse] - INSA Toulouse - Institut National des Sciences Appliquées - Toulouse - UPS - Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse 3 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Qiang Zhang (L2E - Laboratoire d'Electronique et Electromagnétisme - UPMC - Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris 6)
    Abstract: With a long history in project management practices, project performance measurement (PPM) offers a wide range of methods and good practices which help project managers to effectively monitor the project and evaluate project progress and results. However, several critical issues remain, such as an unbalanced development of KPIs types or a limited availability of leading Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). On the other hand, systems engineering measurement (SEM) is a more recent discipline, with practices and theories that appeared with the emergence of the systems engineering discipline. Moreover, SEM has been much more developed with some practical research results published in several standards and guides. In particular, SEM does not only use lagging indicators, used to track how things are going but defines methods to promote leading indicators, used as precursors to the direction where the engineering is going; indeed, 18 leading indicators (LIs) were recently proposed, validated, and finally engineered in a practical guidance. Our goal being to improve project performance and success rate, one mean is to improve the project performance measurement, on which decisions rely for project management. To achieve this goal, this paper proposes to extend the project performance measurement of indicators by considering how performance is measured in systems engineering.
    Keywords: performance measurement,leading indicators,lagging indicators,KPIs
    Date: 2017–07–14
  23. By: Nobuyuki Hanaki (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UNS - Université Nice Sophia Antipolis - UCA - Université Côte d'Azur - UCA - Université Côte d'Azur); Alan Kirman (National Centre of Scientific Research (CAMS-CERMESCNRS- EHESS), Paris, France); Paul Pezanis-Christou (BETA - Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - UNISTRA - Université de Strasbourg - UL - Université de Lorraine - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, University of Adelaide)
    Abstract: Understanding how individuals learn in an unknown environment is an important problem in economics. We model and examine experimentally behavior in a very simple multi-armed bandit framework in which participants do not know the inter-temporal payoff structure. We propose a baseline reinforcement learning model that allows for pattern-recognition and change in the strategy space. We also analyse three augmented versions that accommodate observational learning from the actions and/or payoffs of another player. The models successfully reproduce the distributional properties of observed discovery times and total payoffs. Our study further shows that when one of the pair discovers the hidden pattern, observing another's actions and/or payoffs improves discovery time compared to the baseline case.
    Keywords: multi-armed bandit,reinforcement learning,payoff patterns,observational learning
    Date: 2018–05
  24. By: Karen Clay (Carnegie Mellon University); Peter Juul Egedes (University of Southern Denmark); Casper Worm Hansen (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Peter Sandholt Jensen (University of Southern Denmark)
    Abstract: This paper studies the immediate and long-run mortality effects of the first communitybased health intervention in the world, which had a particular focus on controlling tuberculosis - the so-called Framingham Health and Tuberculosis Demonstration. Comparing death and TB-mortality rates between Framingham and seven (pre-selected) control towns during the Demonstration period between 1917 and 1923, the contemporary offcial evaluation committee concluded that the Demonstration was highly successful in controlling TB and reducing mortality The Framingham Demonstration subsequently became a health example for the world. The findings in our paper question this very positive assessment. We collected and digitized causes-of-death data for towns/cities in Massachusetts and the United States for the period 1901-1934, allowing us to extend the number of control towns (or cities) and study whether the Demonstration reduced mortality in the long run.Compared to the official seven controls towns, we find that TB mortality in Framingham was on average lower between 1917 and 1923. In the extended control samples, these immediate TB mortality differences are smaller and often more than reversed by 1934.However, we do find robust evidence that the Demonstration reduced infant mortality, and these improvements persisted even after the Demonstration ended.
    Keywords: Public Health; Health Demonstration; Tuberculosis Mortality; Infant Mortality
    JEL: I15 I18 N32
    Date: 2018–03–20
  25. By: Travers Barclay Child; Elena Nikolova (UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies)
    Abstract: We study the long-run effects of conflict on social attitudes, with World War II in Central and Eastern Europe as our setting. Much of earlier work has relied on self-reported measures of victimization, which are prone to endogenous misreporting. With our own survey-based measure, we replicate established findings linking victimization to political participation, civic engagement, optimism, and trust. Those findings are reversed, however, when tested instead with an objective measure of victimization based on historical reference material. Thus, we urge caution when interpreting survey-based results from this literature as causal.
    Keywords: conflict, social attitudes, World War II
    Date: 2017–11

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