nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2019‒02‒18
thirty papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Peer Punishment in Repeated Isomorphic Give and Take Social Dilemmas By Abhijit Ramalingam; Antonio J. Morales; James M. Walker
  2. Promoting socially desirable behaviors: experimental comparison of the procedures of persuasion and commitment By Cécile Bazart; Mathieu Lefebvre; Julie Rosaz
  4. Inequality and Competitive Effort: The Roles of Asymmetric Resources, Opportunity and Outcomes By Francesco Fallucchi; Abhijit Ramalingam
  5. Does Information Break the Political Resource Curse? Experimental Evidence from Mozambique By Alex Armand; Alexander Coutts; Pedro C. Vicente; Ines Vilela
  6. Within-group inequality in inter-group competition By Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap; Abhijit Ramalingam; Brock K. Stoddard
  7. Are we more honest than others think we are? By Claire Mouminoux; Jean-Louis Rullière
  8. Cooperation and Endogenous Repetition in an Infinitely Repeated Social Dilemma: Experimental Evidence By Kamei, Kenju
  9. Putting social rewards and identity salience to the test: Evidence from a field experiment with teachers in Philadelphia By Syon Bhanot; Gordon Kraft-Todd; David Rand; Erez Yoeli
  10. Delegation And Coordination With Multiple Threshold Public Goods: Experimental Evidence By Luca Corazzini; Christopher Cotton; Tommaso Reggiani
  11. Playing with Money By Davis, Douglas; Korenok, Oleg; Norman, Peter; Sultanum, Bruno; Wright, Randall
  12. The Market for Talent: Competition for Resources and Self-Governance in Teams By Abhijit Ramalingam; Brock K. Stoddard; James M. Walker
  13. The digit ratio (2D:4D) and economic preferences: no robust associations in a sample of 330 women By Parslwo, Elle; Ranehill, Eva; Zethraeus, Niklas; Blomberg, Liselott; von Schoultz, Bo; Lindén Hirschberg, Angelica; Johannesson, Magnus; Dreber, Anna
  14. The effects of status mobility and group identity on trust By Rémi Suchon; Marie Claire Villeval
  15. Community matters: heterogenous impacts of a sanitation intervention By Laura Abramovsky; Britta Augsburg; Melanie Lührmann; Francisco Oteiza; Juan Pablo Rud
  16. No Substitute for the Real Thing: The Importance of In-Context Field Experiments In Fundraising By Indranil Goswami; Oleg Urminsky
  17. Rac(g)e Against the Machine? Social Incentives When Humans Meet Robots By Brice Corgnet; Roberto Hernán-González; Ricardo Mateo
  18. Information redundancy neglect versus overconfidence: a social learning experiment By Marco Angrisani; Antonio Guarino; Philippe Jehiel; Toru Kitagawa
  19. Individual Discount Rates: A Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence By Jindrich Matousek
  20. Robust Inference in First-Price Auctions : Experimental Findings as Identifying Restrictions By Serafin J. Grundl; Yu Zhu
  21. Non-Bayesian updating in a social learning experiment By Roberta De Filippis; Antonio Guarino; Philippe Jehiel; Toru Kitagawa
  22. Isolating the Effect of Injunctive Norms on Conservation Behavior: New Evidence from a Field Experiment in California By Syon Bhanot
  23. Workfare, wellbeing and consumption: Evidence from a field experiment with Kenya's urban poor. By Syon Bhanot; Jiyoung Han; Chaning Jang
  24. The Impact of a Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Households' Well-Being By Daniela Del Boca; Chiara Pronzato; Giuseppe Sorrenti
  25. Salience of Inherited Wealth and the Support for Inheritance Taxation By Spencer Bastani; Daniel Waldenström
  26. Are the poor so present-biased? By Rachel Cassidy
  27. Daycare Choice and Ethnic Diversity: Evidence from a Randomized Survey By Mongoljin; Mette Gørtz; John Kennes; Ran Sun Lyng; Daniel Monte; Norovsambuu Tumennasan
  28. Who Said or What Said? Estimating Ideological Bias in Views Among Economists By Javdani, Moshen; Chang, Ha-Joon
  29. Storable Votes and Quadratic Voting. An Experiment on Four California Propositions By Alessandra Casella; Luis Sanchez
  30. Does Simple Information Provision Lead to More Diverse Classrooms? Evidence from a Field Experiment on Undergraduate Economics By Amanda Bayer; Syon Bhanot; Fernando Lozano

  1. By: Abhijit Ramalingam; Antonio J. Morales; James M. Walker
    Abstract: This study brings together two strands of experimental literature, “Give and Take” versions of strategically and payoff isomorphic linear public goods games and the effectiveness of peer punishment in promoting cooperation in repeated fixed-group game settings. We find evidence of lower cooperation in the Take game setting, primarily due to a greater decrease in cooperation in later decision rounds. Importantly, we also find that peer punishment is able to overcome the decrease in cooperation in the Take game, leading to greater relative increases in cooperation and earnings. Overall, with punishment, we observe efficiency gains in the Take game, but not in the Give game. This result is linked to the fact that low contributors in their respective groups are targeted for punishment more frequently in the Take game than in the Give game. Key Words: isomorphic, social dilemma, experiment, cooperation, punishment, reciprocal preferences
    JEL: C72 C91 C92 D02 H41
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Cécile Bazart (CEEM, University of Montpellier, Avenue Raymond Dugrand - site Richter C.S. 79606, 34960 Montpellier, France); Mathieu Lefebvre (BETA, University of Strasbourg, 61 avenue de la Forêt Noire, 67085 Strasbourg, France); Julie Rosaz (Univ Lyon, Université Lumière Lyon 2, GATE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France)
    Abstract: In a series of experiments, we test the relative efficiency of persuasion and commitment schemes to increase and sustain contribution levels in a Voluntary Contribution Game. The design allows to compare a baseline consisting of a repeated public good game to, respectively, four manipulation treatments relying on: an information strategy, a low commitment strategy, a high commitment strategy and a promise strategy. We confirm the advantages of psychologically orientated policies as they increase the overall level of contribution and for some, that is commitment and promises, question the decreasing trend traditionally observed in long term contributions to public goods.
    Keywords: Experiment, Persuasion, Commitment, Voluntary Contribution Mechanism
    JEL: C91 D91 H41
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Zubair, Maria; Khanum, Ayesha; Nasir, Marjan
    Abstract: It is commonly believed that parents transfer their behavioral traits to their offspring. But where does one draw the line between nature and nurture? Most of us have received our first lessons in lying, trust, generosity and even selfishness from our parents. These non-cognitive skills, like patience, ambition, tenacity etc. are all thus malleable traits if we come to prove that they are transferred from parent to their child. A field experiment was conducted at a private school in Lahore, Pakistan. These experiments measured two key non-cognitive skills that literature believes are passed onto the offspring via their parents: patience and trust. To measure the correlation between parents and children, an ordered probit analysis was employed. Our findings show that there is a strong negative relationship between child’s patience to that of her parent. Child and parent trust display no significant relationship. However, a positive significant relationship was analyzed between child reciprocity and parent reciprocity.
    Keywords: behavioral games, trust, patience, intergenerational transfers
    JEL: D19
    Date: 2018–10–02
  4. By: Francesco Fallucchi; Abhijit Ramalingam
    Abstract: We investigate how individuals react to different types of asymmetries in experimental twoplayer Tullock contests where contestants expend resources to win a prize. We compare the effects of three different sources of asymmetry: resources, abilities and possible outcomes. We find that overall competitive effort is greater in the presence of asymmetric abilities than other inequalities. Unlike other forms, asymmetry in abilities elicits a very aggressive reaction from disadvantaged players relative to their advantaged opponents. Moreover, despite similar average efforts, contestants with an advantage in ability mostly play a ‘safe’ strategy that secures a higher likelihood of winning the contest, while other advantaged players strategically adapt their efforts to those of their opponents. The Quantal Response Equilibrium (QRE) suggests that financial incentives are less salient in the presence of a biased contest procedure. Key Words: rent seeking, contest, experiment, asymmetry, heuristics, QRE
    JEL: C91 C92 D31 D72
    Date: 2018
  5. By: Alex Armand (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Navarra (Spain)); Alexander Coutts (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Pedro C. Vicente (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Ines Vilela (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: The political resource curse is the idea that natural resources can lead to the deterioration of public policies through corruption and rent-seeking by those closest to political power. One prominent consequence is the emergence of conflict. This paper takes this theory to the data for the case of Mozambique, where a substantial discovery of natural gas recently took place. Focusing on the anticipation of a resource boom and the behavior of local political structures and communities, a large-scale field experiment was designed and implemented to follow the dissemination of information about the newly-discovered resources. Two types of treatments provided variation in the degree of dissemination: one with information targeting only local political leaders, the other with information and deliberation activities targeting communities at large. A wide variety of theory-driven outcomes is measured through surveys, behavioral activities, lab-in-the-field experiments, and georeferenced administrative data about local conflict. Information given only to leaders increases elite capture and rent-seeking, while information and deliberation targeted at citizens increases mobilization and accountability-related outcomes, and decreases violence. While the political resource curse is likely to be in play, the dissemination of information to communities at large has a countervailing effect.
    Date: 2019–01–22
  6. By: Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap; Abhijit Ramalingam; Brock K. Stoddard
    Abstract: In experiments, contributions to a team public good increase when the team is placed in a competition with another team for prize. This paper is concerned with whether this insight generalises to teams that are internally unequal. In the experiment we report, it does. Indeed, the boost to public goods contributions is bigger with unequal teams than equal ones. We also find that the boost to contributions is most significant among the ‘rich’ in the team. Hence, since the public good is shared equally, competition not only promotes efficiency, it also reduces inequality in our experiment. Key Words: public goods, experiment, team competition, inequality, within group, productivity
    JEL: C72 C91 C92 D31 D63 D72 H41
    Date: 2018
  7. By: Claire Mouminoux (SAF - Laboratoire de Sciences Actuarielle et Financière - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon); Jean-Louis Rullière (SAF - Laboratoire de Sciences Actuarielle et Financière - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon)
    Abstract: While the laws are justified on the basis of the efficiency they provide to society, policy makers and researchers focus on the reasons why people violate the law. Crimes and violations induce directly costs. But there is another indirect costs that is generally ignored : the fact that a person can violate the law (whether it does or not) can reduce trust in one's honesty. Thus, even if the economic agent is honest and respects the law, this loss of confidence, which could be unfounded, is also a source of inefficiency. We introduce in an experiment, a normative rule of "decision" in order to elicit both honesty and beliefs about honesty from subjects in the lab. There is no direct transfer of money between both part to avoid any inequality aversion or altruism aversion. The main question remains how individuals trust in the honesty of an anonymous group. Subjects are split into two groups : those who are subject to the temptation of (unverifiable) dishonesty and those who value the dishonesty of others. We inform each participant that we cannot identify defection. We find an important heterogeneity of trust in honesty through subjects. On average, subjects A suggests that participants B are more honest than they are. Moreover, we identify distortion of effective honesty and beliefs about other honesty when the environment of players A is unfavorable.
    Keywords: Behavioral economics,Trust measurement,Honesty,Experiment
    Date: 2019–01–30
  8. By: Kamei, Kenju
    Abstract: Exogenously imposed infinite repetition is known to mitigate people’s uncooperative behaviors in dilemma situations with partner matching through personal enforcement. One as yet unanswered question is whether people collectively choose to interact with each other under the partner matching condition when there exists an alternative possibility under random matching. In an indefinitely repeated public goods game framework, I let subjects democratically choose whether to (i) play with pre-assigned specific others for all rounds or to (ii) play with randomly matched counterparts in every round. The experimental results revealed that most groups collectively opt for the partner matching protocol. The data also indicated that groups achieve a higher level of cooperation when they democratically select the partner matching protocol by voting, relative to when the same option is exogenously imposed. These findings imply that people’s equilibrium selection may be affected by how the basic rules of games are introduced (endogenously or exogenously). The paper provides further evidence to suggest that the positive effect of democratic decision-making is stronger when the majority voting rule, rather than the unanimity rule, is applied.
    Keywords: experiment, public goods, cooperation, dilemma, social norms, endogenous choices
    JEL: C72 C73 C92 H41
    Date: 2019–02–09
  9. By: Syon Bhanot; Gordon Kraft-Todd; David Rand; Erez Yoeli
    Abstract: We partnered with the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) to run a randomized experiment testing interventions to increase teacher participation in an annual feedback survey, an uncompensated task that requires a teacher's time but helps the educational system overall. Our experiment varied the nature of the incentive scheme used, and the associated messaging. In the experiment, all 8,062 active teachers in the SDP were randomly assigned to receive one of four emails using a 2x2 experimental design; specifically, teachers received a lottery-based financial incentive to complete the survey that was either "personal" (a chance to win one of fifteen $100 gift cards for themselves) or "social" (a chance to win one of fifteen $100 gift cards for supplies for their students), and also received email messaging that either did or did not make salient their identity as an educator. Despite abundant statistical power, we find no discernible differences across our conditions on survey completion rates. One implication of these null results is that from a public administration perspective, social rewards may be preferable since funds used for this purpose by school districts go directly to students (through increased expenditure on student supplies), and do not seem less efficacious than personal financial incentives for teachers.
    Date: 2018
  10. By: Luca Corazzini (University of Venice “Ca’ Foscari”); Christopher Cotton (Queen’s University); Tommaso Reggiani (Masaryk University and IZA)
    Abstract: When multiple charities, social programs and community projects simultaneously vie for funding, donors risk miscoordinating their contributions leading to an inefficient distribution of funding across projects. Community chests and other intermediary organizations facilitate coordination among donors and reduce such risks. We explore such considerations by extending the threshold public goods framework to allow donors to contribute to an intermediary rather than directly to the public goods. We experimentally study the effects of the intermediary on contributions and successful public good funding. Results show that delegation increases overall contributions and public good success, but only when the intermediary is formally committed to direct funding received from donors to socially beneficial goods. Without such a restriction, the presence of an intermediary is detrimental, resulting in lower contributions, a higher probability of miscoordination, and lower payoffs.
    Keywords: delegation, threshold public goods, laboratory experiment, fundraising
    JEL: C91 C92 H40 H41 L31
    Date: 2019–02
  11. By: Davis, Douglas (Virginia Commonwealth University); Korenok, Oleg (Virginia Commonwealth University); Norman, Peter (University of North Carolina); Sultanum, Bruno (Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond); Wright, Randall (UW-Madison, FRB Minneapolis, FRB Chicago, NBER)
    Abstract: Experimental studies in monetary economics usually study infinite horizon models. Yet, the time constraints of the laboratory sessions in which these models are conducted create finite horizons that imply monetary equilibria cannot exist. Moreover, laboratory subjects do not treat the probabilistic termination rule typically used in a manner consistent with the discount factor that the rule is intended to replace. Thus, it is unclear whether these experiments evaluate subjects' use of money to ameliorate trading frictions as an equilibrium phenomenon, their inability to understand backward induction, or features of games that promote the use of money behaviorally, even when doing so is not an equilibrium strategy. To address this issue, we present a pair of finite-horizon games where monetary exchange is an equilibrium, and report an experiment that evaluates behavior in these games in light of a finitely repeated alternative where monetary exchange is not an equilibrium.
    Keywords: monetary economics; probabilistic termination rule; monetary theory
    Date: 2019–02–07
  12. By: Abhijit Ramalingam; Brock K. Stoddard; James M. Walker
    Abstract: In a laboratory setting, we investigate the effect of competition for the resources of team members with ‘divided loyalties’, and the role of such competition in overcoming the free-rider problem associated with the provision of team-level public goods. We find that competition alone creates ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. However, if groups have access to more information on the actions of team members, or are able to determine their membership through ostracism, they are more successful in attracting the ‘loyalties’ of team members. By eschewing the study of additional mechanisms that require external intervention or alterations of payoff functions, our work highlights the potential of implicit competition in promoting cooperation. Key Words: public goods, experiment, divided loyalties, competition, resources, endogenous membership
    JEL: C72 C91 C92 H41
    Date: 2018
  13. By: Parslwo, Elle (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Ranehill, Eva (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Zethraeus, Niklas (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Blomberg, Liselott (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); von Schoultz, Bo (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Lindén Hirschberg, Angelica (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Johannesson, Magnus (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Dreber, Anna (Department of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: Many studies report on the association between 2D:4D, a putative marker for prenatal testosterone exposure, and economic preferences. However, most of these studies have limited sample sizes and test multiple hypotheses (without preregistration). In this study we mainly replicate the common specifications found in the literature for the association between the 2D:4D ratio and risk taking, the willingness to compete, and dictator game giving separately. In a sample of 330 women we find no robust associations between any of these economic preferences and 2D:4D. We find no evidence of an effect for sixteen of the eighteen total regressions we run. The two regression specifications which are significant have not previously been reported and the associations are not in the expected direction, and therefore they are unlikely to represent a real effect.
    Keywords: economic preferences; experiment; testosterone
    JEL: C91 D03
    Date: 2019–02
  14. By: Rémi Suchon (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE L-SE UMR 5824, F-69131 Ecully, France); Marie Claire Villeval (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE L-SE UMR 5824, F-69131 Ecully, France)
    Abstract: In a laboratory experiment we test the interaction effects of status and group identity on interpersonal trust. Natural group identity is generated by school affiliation. Status (expert or agent) is awarded based on relative performance in a math quiz that is ex ante less favorable to the subjects from one group. We find that "promoted" trustors (individuals from the disadvantaged group that nevertheless achieve the status of expert) trust less both in-group and out-group trustees, compared to the other members of their group. Rather than playing against the effects of natural group identity, status promotion singles-out individuals. In contrast, trustworthiness is not affected by status and there is no evidence that interacting with promoted individuals impacts trust or trustworthiness.
    Keywords: Trust, status, group identity, social mobility, experiment
    JEL: C92 D91 J62
    Date: 2019
  15. By: Laura Abramovsky (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Britta Augsburg (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Melanie Lührmann (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Royal Holloway, University of London); Francisco Oteiza (Institute for Fiscal Studies and EDePo @ Institute for Fiscal Studies); Juan Pablo Rud (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Royal Holloway)
    Abstract: We study the effectiveness of a community-level information and mobilization intervention to reduce open defecation (OD) and increase sanitation investments in Nigeria. The results of a cluster-randomized control trial in 246 communities, conducted between 2014 and 2018, suggest that average impacts are exiguous. However, these results hide important community heterogeneity, as the intervention has strong and lasting effects on OD habits in poorer communities. This result is robust across several measures of community socio-economic characteristics, and is not driven by baseline differences in toilet coverage. In poor communities, OD rates decreased by 9pp from a baseline level of 75%, while we find no effect in richer communities. The reduction in OD is achieved mainly through increased toilet ownership (+8pp from a baseline level of 24%). In terms of channels, the intervention appears to have raised the social status attached to toilet ownership among the poorer treated communities, and not in rich communities. Finally, we use data from our study and five other trials of similar interventions and show that estimated impacts on OD are stronger in poorer contexts, rationalizing the wide range of estimates in the literature and providing plausible external validity.
    Keywords: External validity, Heterogeneous Treatment Effects, Sanitation, Information, Cluster- Randomized Control Trial.
    Date: 2018–11–06
  16. By: Indranil Goswami; Oleg Urminsky
    Abstract: We present a complete empirical case study of fundraising decisions that demonstrates the importance of in-context field experiments. We first design novel matching-based fundraising appeals. We derive theory-based predictions from the standard impure altruism model and solicit expert opinion about the potential performance of our interventions. Both theory-based predictions and descriptive advice suggest improved fundraising performance from a framing intervention that credited donors for the matched funds (compared to a typical match framing). However, results from a natural field experiment with prior donors of a non-profit showed significantly poorer performance of this framing compared to a regularly framed matching intervention. This surprising finding was confirmed in a second natural field experiment, to establish the ground truth. Theoretically, our results highlight the limitations of both impure altruism models and of expert opinion in prediction complex "warm glow" motivation. More practically, our results question the availability of useful guidance, and suggest the indispensability of field testing for interventions in fundraising.
    Date: 2018
  17. By: Brice Corgnet (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France); Roberto Hernán-González (Univ. Bourgogne Franche Comté, Burgundy School of Business-CEREN (EA 7477), 29 rue Sambin, 21000 Dijon, France); Ricardo Mateo (Universidad de Navarra, 31009 Pamplona)
    Abstract: Because work is most often performed in a social context, social incentives are key to understand incentive setting in firms. We assess the strength of social incentives, which critically depend on the extent of social preferences and social pressure at work, by assessing the difference in human performance when people complete a sequential task with either other humans or robots. We find evidence that, despite maintaining monetary incentives intact, humans who work with robots underperform those who work with other humans, especially under team pay. The lack of altruism toward robots and the lack of social pressure exerted by robots are key to explain this negative effect under team pay. Under piece rate, the lack of envy toward robots plays a crucial role. Regardless of the payment scheme, our findings show that social incentives are powerful. Accounting for the weakening of social incentives when assessing the cost-efficiency of replacing humans with robots is thus critical.
    Keywords: Incentives, social pressure, social preferences, personnel economics, organizational behavior, automation
    JEL: C92 D23 D91 M52
    Date: 2019
  18. By: Marco Angrisani (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Antonio Guarino (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Philippe Jehiel (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Toru Kitagawa (Institute for Fiscal Studies and cemmap and University College London)
    Abstract: We study social learning in a continuous action space experiment. Subjects, acting in sequence, state their belief about the value of a good, after observing their predecessors' statements and a private signal. We compare the behavior in the laboratory with the Perfect Bayesian Equilibrium prediction and the predictions of bounded rationality models of decision making: the redundancy of information neglect model and the overconfidence model. The results of our experiment are in line with the predictions of the overconfidence model and at odds with the others'.
    Date: 2018–11–07
  19. By: Jindrich Matousek (Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague, Smetanovo nabrezi 6, 111 01 Prague 1, Czech Republic)
    Abstract: We examine 434 estimates of the individual discount rate reported in 27 published studies. The estimates vary substantially across studies with reported mean at the value of 0.4. We detect presence of selective reporting in the discounting literature using a meta-analytical methods. Our results suggest that relevant discounting literature overestimates the discount rate approximately twofold. We apply Bayesian model averaging to explain heterogeneity in the estimates. Discount rate estimates are influenced mainly by the experimental design used for its elicitation. We confirm domain independence and the effect of time horizon presented within the discounting task. Our results support the external validity of experiments conducted on student samples and the utilisation of hypothetical rewards in experiments.
    Keywords: Discount rate, Discounting, Experiment, Publication bias, Meta-Analysis, Bayesian Model Averaging
    JEL: D01 C83 C90
    Date: 2018–12
  20. By: Serafin J. Grundl; Yu Zhu
    Abstract: In laboratory experiments bidding in first-price auctions is more aggressive than predicted by the risk-neutral Bayesian Nash Equilibrium (RNBNE) - a finding known as the overbidding puzzle. Several models have been proposed to explain the overbidding puzzle, but no canonical alternative to RNBNE has emerged, and RNBNE remains the basis of the structural auction literature. Instead of estimating a particular model of overbidding, we use the overbidding restriction itself for identification, which allows us to bound the valuation distribution, the seller's payoff function, and the optimal reserve price. These bounds are consistent with RNBNE and all models of overbidding and remain valid if different bidders employ different bidding strategies. We propose simple estimators and evaluate the validity of the bounds numerically and in experimental data.
    Keywords: Experimental findings ; First-price auction ; Partial identification ; Robust inference ; Structural estimation
    JEL: C14 D44
    Date: 2019–02–07
  21. By: Roberta De Filippis (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Antonio Guarino (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Philippe Jehiel (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Toru Kitagawa (Institute for Fiscal Studies and cemmap and University College London)
    Abstract: In our laboratory experiment, subjects, in sequence, have to predict the value of a good. We elicit the second subject?s belief twice: first (?first belief?), after he observes his predecessor?s action; second (?posterior belief?), after he observes his private signal. Our main result is that the second subjects weigh the private signal as a Bayesian agent would do when the signal confirms their first belief; they overweight the signal when it contradicts their first belief. This way of updating, incompatible with Bayesianism, can be explained by multiple priors on the predecessor?s rationality and a generalization of the Maximum Likelihood Updating rule. In another experiment, we directly test this theory and find support for it.
    Date: 2018–07–04
  22. By: Syon Bhanot
    Abstract: Social norms messaging campaigns are increasingly used to influence human behavior, with social science research generally finding that they have modest but meaningful effects. One aspect of these campaigns in practice has been the inclusion of injunctive norms messaging, designed to convey a social judgement about one's behaviors (often in the form of encouraging or discouraging language, or a visual smiley or frowny face). While some prominent research has provided support for the use of such messaging as a tool for positive behavior change, causal evidence on the effect of injunctive norms messaging as a motivator (as opposed to just one part of a multifaceted messaging campaign) is limited. This paper presents a field experiment on water conservation behavior conducted by an organization in California, involving over 40,000 households, which provides some of the most precise evidence to date regarding the effect of injunctive norms on decision making. I find that not only do injunctive norms encourage conservation behavior, there is also no evidence that they discourage individuals from further attending norms messaging-regardless of whether the social judgement conveyed is negative or positive. Taken together, this suggests that injunctive norms are a useful tool in "nudge"-style campaigns tackling behavior change.
    Date: 2019
  23. By: Syon Bhanot; Jiyoung Han; Chaning Jang
    Abstract: Restrictions like work requirements and constraints on voucher transfers are often used in social welfare systems, but little empirical evidence exists on their impact on wellbeing. We conducted a 10-day randomized experiment with 432 individuals living below the poverty line in the Kawangware settlement of Nairobi, kenya, testing two elements of social welfare design: workfare versus welfare and restricted versus unrestricted vouchers. Participants were randomly assigned to a "Work" condition, involving daily work for unrestricted vouchers, or one of two "Wait" conditions, involving daily waiting for vouchers that were either unrestricted or partially restricted to staple foods. We find that working improved psychological wellbeing relative to waiting, suggesting that means of implementing welfare programs may have important effects on individuals beyond the impact of monetary benefit alone. Furthermore, although restrictions were inframarginal, partially restricted vouchers crowded-in spending on staple foods, suggesting the existence of a "flypaper effect" in spending from restricted vouchers.
    Date: 2018
  24. By: Daniela Del Boca; Chiara Pronzato; Giuseppe Sorrenti
    Abstract: We evaluate the impact of a conditional cash transfer (CCT) program that we designed on family well-being among low-income families with young chil- dren. Although most CCTs have been implemented in low-income countries, our research is in the context of a high-income country, Italy, where the recent economic crises have worsened the conditions of families with children, especially among immigrants. Our objective is to evaluate the introduction of conditionality (attendance of courses) into a pre-existing unconditional cash transfer program. Using a randomized controlled trial, we find that CCT families search more ac- tively for work, and they work more hours and more regularity than the cash transfer and control groups. CCT families also are able to save more money and eat healthier foods. The CCT intervention appears to be more effective than cash transfer alone in changing households' behavior in several dimensions of well-being. Our findings add to the accumulating evidence on the impact of con- ditional cash transfers versus unconditional ones and to the literature concerning multidimensional incentive programs.
    Keywords: cash transfers, poverty, use of money, labor supply, parenting
    JEL: I10 I20 J24 I31
    Date: 2018
  25. By: Spencer Bastani; Daniel Waldenström
    Abstract: We study how attitudes to inheritance taxation are influenced by information about the role of inherited wealth in society. Using a randomized experiment in a register-linked Swedish survey, we find that informing individuals about the large aggregate importance of inherited wealth and its link to inequality of opportunity significantly increases the support for inheritance taxation. The effect is almost uniform across socio-economic groups and survives a battery of robustness tests. Changes in the perceived economic importance of inherited wealth and altered views on whether luck matters most for economic success appear to be the main driving factors behind the treatment effect. Our findings suggest that the low salience of inherited wealth could be one explanation behind the relatively marginalized role of inheritance taxation in developed economies.
    Keywords: capital taxation, tax attitudes, equality of opportunity, randomized experiment
    JEL: D31 H20 H31
    Date: 2019
  26. By: Rachel Cassidy (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: Estimates of "present-bias" among the poor may be exaggerated if poor individuals are credit-constrained and expect to have greater liquidity in the future. I conduct an experiment in rural Pakistan which provides causal evidence of this effect. I use windfalls to generate fully exogenous variation in subjects' liquidity constraints. I show that fluctuating liquidity has a signifi cant and sizeable effect on measures of time-inconsistency, which does not operate via cognitive functioning. Importantly, I establish that the causation runs from tighter liquidity constraints to appearing "present-biased" rather than truly present-biased individuals making choices which lead to tighter liquidity constraints.
    Date: 2018–10–17
  27. By: Mongoljin (Georgetown University, USA); Mette Gørtz (University of Copenhagen and Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI)); John Kennes (Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University, Denmark); Ran Sun Lyng (Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University, Denmark); Daniel Monte (Sao Paulo School of Economics- FGV, Brasil); Norovsambuu Tumennasan (Dalhousie University, Canada)
    Abstract: We study parental daycare choice using a randomized online survey of parents in Copenhagen. The survey respondents were asked to choose between two daycares — structured vs. free-play. In describing these hypothetical choices, the survey used testimonials from (fictive) parents whose child allegedly attended the institution, and we randomized the names of the testifying parents across the sample so that some had typical Danes names, while other names were associated with ethnic minorities. Our main findings point towards discrimination against ethnic minorities. This finding is most pronounced among parents who prefer the structured institution. Adding information about the profession of the testifiers did not significantly alter signs of lower preferences for daycares with ethnic minority names, (cautiously) suggesting that this discrimination is taste-based rather than statistical. Finally, we asked the respondents to report a willingness to travel a further distance to get to their preferred daycare (structured or free-play, respectively). Our results show that willingness to travel to the preferred daycare is higher for parents who prefer the structured daycare when there was an ethnic minority name associated with the free-play daycare.
    Keywords: School choice, Discrimination, Survey, Early childhood education, Randomized experiment
    JEL: I24 C83 J13
    Date: 2019–02–06
  28. By: Javdani, Moshen; Chang, Ha-Joon
    Abstract: There exists a long-standing debate about the influence of ideology in economics. Surprisingly, however, there is no concrete empirical evidence to examine this critical issue. Using an online randomized controlled experiment involving economists in 19 countries, we examine the effect of ideological bias on views among economists. Participants were asked to evaluate statements from prominent economists on different topics, while source attribution for each statement was randomized without participants’ knowledge. For each statement, participants either received a mainstream source, an ideologically different less-/non-mainstream source, or no source. We find that changing source attributions from mainstream to less-/non-mainstream, or removing them, significantly reduces economists’ reported agreement with statements. Using a model of Bayesian updating we examine two competing hypotheses as potential explanations for these results: unbiased Bayesian updating versus ideologically-biased Bayesian updating. While we find no evidence in support of unbiased updating, our results are consistent with biased Bayesian updating. More specifically, we find that changing/removing sources (1) has no impact on economists’ reported confidence with their evaluations; (2) similarly affects experts/non-experts in relevant areas; and (3) affects those at the far right of the political spectrum much more significantly than those at the far left. Finally, we find significant heterogeneity in our results by gender, country, PhD completion country, research area, and undergraduate major, with patterns consistent with the existence of ideological bias.
    Keywords: Ideology, ideological bias, authority bias, Bayesian updating, views among economists
    JEL: A11 A14 C93 D83
    Date: 2019–02–04
  29. By: Alessandra Casella; Luis Sanchez
    Abstract: Storable Votes and Quadratic Voting are voting systems designed to account for voters’ intensity of preferences. We test their performance in two samples of California residents using data on four initiatives prepared for the 2016 California ballot. We bootstrap the original samples and generate two sets of 10,000 multi-elections simulations. As per design, both systems induce minority victories and result in higher expected welfare relative to majority voting. In our parametrization, quadratic voting induces more minority victories and achieves higher average welfare, but causes more frequent inefficient minority victories. The results are robust to different plausible rules-of-thumb in casting votes.
    JEL: D02 D71 D72
    Date: 2019–01
  30. By: Amanda Bayer; Syon Bhanot; Fernando Lozano
    Date: 2019

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