nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2020‒01‒13
thirty-one papers chosen by

  1. The Economics of Color: A Null Result By Greiner, Ben; Stephanides, Marianne
  2. The behavioral economics of artificial intelligence: Lessons from experiments with computer players By March, Christoph
  3. Inference in Experiments with Matched Pairs By Azeem M. Shaikh; ; Joseph P. Romano
  4. Information defaults in repeated public good provision By Jia Liu; Axel Sonntag; Daniel John Zizzo
  5. Randomization and Social Policy Evaluation Revisited By James J. Heckman
  6. On pledging one's trustworthiness through gifts: an experimental inquiry By Giuseppe Danese; Luigi Mittone
  7. Information defaults in repeated public good provision By Liu, Jia; Sonntag, Axel; Zizzo, Daniel
  8. Overcoming Routine: A 21st Century Skill for a 21st Century Economy By Ulrich Gabriel Strunz; Christian Chlupsa
  9. Communicating Data Uncertainty: Experimental Evidence for U.K. GDP By Ana Beatriz Galvao; James Mitchell; Johnny Runge
  10. Optimal Data Collection for Randomized Control Trials By Pedro Carneiro; Sokbae (Simon) Lee; Daniel Wilhelm
  11. Embezzlement and guilt aversion By Giuseppe Attanasi; Claire Rimbaud; Marie Claire Villeval
  12. Theories of reasoning and focal point play with a non-student sample By Zhixin Dai; Jiwei Zheng; Daniel John Zizzo
  13. Intuitive Prosociality: Heterogeneous Treatment Effects or False Positive? By Strømland, Eirik; Torsvik, Gaute
  14. Frequent Job Changes Can Signal Poor Work Attitude and Reduce Employability By Alain Cohn; Michel André Maréchal; Frédéric Schneider; Roberto A. Weber
  15. Cognitive Uncertainty By Benjamin Enke; Thomas Graeber
  16. Monetary Payoff and Utility Function in Adaptive Learning Models By Erhao Xie
  17. A Review of Data Used in Education Research: Focus on Empirical Studies in Developing Countries By Phal Chea
  18. Computational optimization of associative learning experiments By Melinscak, Filip; Bach, Dominik R
  19. Fixing feedback revision rules in online markets By Bolton, Gary; Breuer, Kevin; Greiner, Ben; Ockenfels, Axel
  20. The perks of being in the smaller team: Incentives in overlapping contests By March, Christoph; Sahm, Marco
  21. The value of communication: Evidence from a field experiment with entrepreneurs in Togo By Dimitriadis, Stefan; Koning, Rembrand
  22. Individual differences in cortical processing speed predict cognitive abilities: A model-based cognitive neuroscience account By Schubert, Anna-Lena; Nunez, Michael D.; Hagemann, Dirk; Vandekerckhove, Joachim
  23. Addressing selective reporting of experiments – the case for predefined exclusion criteria By Neves, Kleber; Amaral, Olavo Bohrer
  24. Some Contributions of Economics to the Study of Personality By James J. Heckman; Tomas Jagelka; Tim Kautz
  25. Optimality of Winner-Take-All Contests: The Role of Attitudes toward Risk By Treich, Nicolas; Liu, Linqun
  26. General Game Playing B-to-B Price Negotiations By Michael, Friedrich; Ignatov, Dmitry I.
  27. Christmas lights in Berlin: New empirical evidence for the private provision of a public good By Jochimsen, Beate
  28. Comparing Meta-Analyses and Pre-Registered Multiple Labs Replication Projects By Kvarven, Amanda; Strømland, Eirik; Johannesson, Magnus
  29. Field experiments and the practice of economics By Banerjee, Abhijit
  30. Field experiments and the practice of policy By Duflo, Esther
  31. Experimentation, Innovation, and Economics By Kremer, Michael

  1. By: Greiner, Ben; Stephanides, Marianne
    Abstract: Color research has a long tradition in psychology, consumer behavior, and marketing research. The literature suggests that exposure to colors influences mood and emotions of humans as well as their attitudes towards products. This paper makes two contributions. First, we review the existing literature in science and psychology on the effects of environmental colors (red and blue) on physiological functions, mood, and consumer/economic decision-making, insofar it may be potentially relevant to experimental and behavioral economists. Second, we conduct a laboratory experiment with a typical experimental economics subject pool testing the effects of environmental colors red and blue on decision-making in an incentivized Ultimatum Game experiment. We find no statistically significant effect. However, we also cannot replicate previous results of exposure to colors red and blue on mood as measured by established questionnaire instruments. Our results suggest that experimental economists do not need to worry about the potential confound of colors in economic decision-making.
    Keywords: experiment, colors, bargaining
    Date: 2020–01
  2. By: March, Christoph
    Abstract: Artificial intelligence (AI) is starting to pervade the economic and social life rendering strategic interactions with artificial agents more and more common. At the same time, experimental economic research has increasingly employed computer players to advance our understanding of strategic interaction in general. What can this strand of research teach us about an AI-shaped future? I review 90 experimental studies using computer players. I find that, in a nutshell, humans act more selfishly and more rational in the presence of computer players, and they are often able to exploit these players. Still, many open questions prevail.
    Keywords: Experiment,Robots,Computer players,Survey
    JEL: C90 C92 O33
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Azeem M. Shaikh (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Chicago); (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Joseph P. Romano (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Stanford University)
    Abstract: This paper studies inference for the average treatment effect in randomized controlled trials where treatment status is determined according to a "matched pairs" design. By a "matched pairs" design, we mean that units are sampled i.i.d. from the population of interest, paired according to observed, baseline covariates and fi nally, within each pair, one unit is selected at random for treatment. This type of design is used routinely throughout the sciences, but results about its implications for inference about the average treatment effect are not available. The main requirement underlying our analysis is that pairs are formed so that units within pairs are suitably "close" in terms of the baseline covariates, and we develop novel results to ensure that pairs are formed in a way that satis es this condition. Under this assumption, we show that, for the problem of testing the null hypothesis that the average treatment effect equals a pre-speci ed value in such settings, the commonly used two-sample t-test and "matched pairs" t-test are conservative in the sense that these tests have limiting rejection probability under the null hypothesis no greater than and typically strictly less than the nominal level. We show, however, that a simple adjustment to the standard errors of these tests leads to a test that is asymptotically exact in the sense that its limiting rejection probability under the null hypothesis equals the nominal level. We also study the behavior of randomization tests that arise naturally in these types of settings. When implemented appropriately, we show that this approach also leads to a test that is asymptotically exact in the sense described previously, but additionally has fi nite-sample rejection probability no greater than the nominal level for certain distributions satisfying the null hypothesis. A simulation study con rms the practical relevance of our theoretical results.
    Keywords: Experiment, matched pairs, matched pairs t-test, permutation test, randomized controlled trial, treatment assignment, two-sample t-test
    Date: 2019–04–25
  4. By: Jia Liu (Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Halam University); Axel Sonntag (Vienna Center for Experimental Economics, University of Vienna, and Insight Austria, Institute for Advanced Studies); Daniel John Zizzo (School of Economics, University of Queensland)
    Abstract: We present an experiment that models a repeated public good provision setting where the policymaker or manager does not have perfect control over information flows. Rather, information seeking can be affected by changing the information default as well as the price of information. The default is one either with or without information about others’ contributions, and having information comes with a positive, zero or negative financial incentive. When information comes without a financial incentive or even is financially beneficial, almost all subjects choose to have the information, but around a third have the information even when this is costly. Moreover, a default of not having information about the others’ contributions leads to a slower unravelling of cooperation, independent of the financial incentives of having information. This slower unravelling is explained by the beliefs about others’ contributions in these treatments. A secondary informational default effect appears to take place. When the default is no information, subjects do not seek information more often but, conditional on financial incentives, they tend to believe that more other subjects seek information.
    Keywords: noinformation defaults, public good, value of information.
    JEL: C91 D83 H41
    Date: 2019–12–18
  5. By: James J. Heckman (The University of Chicago)
    Abstract: This paper examines the case for randomized controlled trials in economics. I revisit my previous paper "Randomization and Social Policy Evaluation" and update its message. I present a brief summary of the history of randomization in economics. I identify two waves of enthusiasm for the method as "Two Awakenings" because of the near-religious zeal associated with each wave. The First Wave substantially contributed to the development of microeconometrics because of the flawed nature of the experimental evidence. The Second Wave has improved experimental designs to avoid some of the technical statistical issues identified by econometricians in the wake of the First Wave. However, the deep conceptual issues about parameters estimated, and the economic interpretation and the policy relevance of the experimental results have not been addressed in the Second Wave.
    Keywords: field experiments, randomized control trials
    JEL: C93
    Date: 2019–12
  6. By: Giuseppe Danese; Luigi Mittone
    Abstract: The anthropological literature provides many instances of tokens donated in the form of a gift to woo potential trade partners, or to strengthen ties to existing partners. We study the role of gifts, as pledges of one’s trustworthiness, through an experiment modeled on the trust game. We vary whether the trustee can send a token before the trustor decides whether to transfer money; whether one of the tokens is socially positioned; and whether the participants interact repeatedly or are randomly re-matched in each round. Participants in a fixed matching achieve comparable levels of trust and trustworthiness in the studies with and without tokens. In the studies with a token, trustors send significantly more points when the trustee has sent a token. A token is used more sparingly after it is socially positioned. We conclude that for institutional design, the time horizon of the relationship might be at least as important as the ability to make pledges.
    Keywords: Pledges, Gifts, Marcel Mauss, Trust Game, Tokens
    JEL: Z13 B52 C92
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Liu, Jia; Sonntag, Axel; Zizzo, Daniel
    Abstract: We present an experiment that models a repeated public good provision setting where the policy maker or manager does not have perfect control over information flows. Rather, information seeking can be affected by changing the information default as well as the price of information. The default is one either with or without information about others' contributions, and having information comes with a positive, zero or negative financial incentive. When information comes without a financial incentive or even is financially beneficial, almost all subjects choose to have the information, but around a third have the information even when this is costly. Moreover, a default of not having information about the others' contributions leads to a slower unravelling of cooperation, independent of the financial incentives of having information. This slower unravelling is explained by the beliefs about others' contributions in these treatments. A secondary informational default effect appears to take place. When the default is no information, subjects do not seek information more often but, conditional on financial incentives, they tend to believe that more other subjects seek information.
    Keywords: information defaults; public good; value of information
    JEL: C91 D83 H41
    Date: 2019–12
  8. By: Ulrich Gabriel Strunz (UCAM Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia); Christian Chlupsa (FOM University of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: Economic decision making is governed by complex problems. During complex problem solving, not all relevant information will be available to the decision-maker at first sight. Knowledge is derived from generally incomplete information and is accompanied by uncertainty. This can lead to falsely confirming one?s understanding of the true rules governing a complex problem. Bad choices can then lead to good outcomes, further strengthening a wrong mental model, eventually leading to inefficient strategies. The decision-maker can then either rely on old strategies or begin to gather new information, perform counterintuitive actions to override former rule knowledge and thus engage in non-routine problem solving. Curiosity might favor such behavior, as it is the recognition, pursuit and desire to explore uncertain and ambiguous events. To analyze the decision patterns of participants who are more successful in overcoming routine and to find possible correlations with curiosity, two hundred sixty-two US-American Mturks completed both a curiosity questionnaire and an experiment in the form of a cognitive puzzle game. High values in ?Joyous Exploration? were not associated with larger numbers of experimental decisions, while about 10 % of the participants who succeeded in obtaining true rule knowledge performed less experimental decisions, reported higher response times, but solved the experiment more efficiently. As shown, overcoming routine is an essential ?21st Century skill? in economic decision making that requires learning from unexpected feedback, benefits from reflection time and is shown to be a serious mental challenge.
    Keywords: complex problem solving, dynamic decision making, response time, decision bias, mental model, cognitive reflection, overcoming routine, non-routine task, curiosity, emotion
    JEL: D81 D83 D91
    Date: 2019–10
  9. By: Ana Beatriz Galvao; James Mitchell; Johnny Runge
    Abstract: Many economic statistics are subject to data revisions. But initial estimates of GDP growth are commonly published without any direct quantitative indication of their uncertainty. To assess if and how the public and experts interpret and understand UK GDP data uncertainty, we conduct both a randomised controlled experiment and a targeted expert survey. The surveys are designed to assess: (1) perceptions of the uncertainty in singlevalued GDP growth numbers; (2) the public's interpretation and understanding of uncertainty information communicated in different formats; and (3) how communicating uncertainty affects trust in the data and the producer of these data. We find that the majority of the public understand that there is uncertainty inherent in GDP numbers, but communicating uncertainty information improves the public’s understanding of why data revisions happen. It encourages them not to take GDP point estimates at face-value but does not decrease trust in the data. We find that it is especially helpful to communicate uncertainty information quantitatively using intervals, density strips and bell curves.
    Keywords: Data Uncertainty, Uncertainty Communication, Data Revisions, Fan Chart
    JEL: C82 E01 D80
    Date: 2019–12
  10. By: Pedro Carneiro (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Sokbae (Simon) Lee (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Columbia University and IFS); Daniel Wilhelm (Institute for Fiscal Studies and cemmap and UCL)
    Abstract: In a randomized control trial, the precision of an average treatment e?ect estimator and the power of the corresponding t-test can be improved either by collecting data on additional individuals, or by collecting additional covariates that predict the outcome variable. To design the experiment, a researcher needs to solve this tradeo? subject to her budget constraint. We show that this optimization problem is equivalent to optimally predicting outcomes by the covariates, which in turn can be solved using existing machine learning techniques using pre-experimental data such as other similar studies, a census, or a household survey. In two empirical applications, we show that our procedure can lead to reductions of up to 58% in the costs of data collection, or improvements of the same magnitude in the precision of the treatment e?ect estimator.
    Date: 2019–05–02
  11. By: Giuseppe Attanasi; Claire Rimbaud (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Marie Claire Villeval (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Psychological game theory can contribute to renew the analysis of unethical behavior by providing insights on the nature of the moral costs of dishonesty. We investigate the moral costs of embezzlement in situations where donors need intermediaries to transfer their donations to recipients and where donations can be embezzled before they reach the recipients. We design a novel three-player Embezzlement Mini-Game to study whether intermediaries in the laboratory suffer from guilt aversion and whether guilt aversion affects the decision to embezzle. We show that the proportion of guilt-averse intermediaries is the same irrespective of the direction of guilt and guilt aversion reduces embezzlement. Structural estimates indicate no difference in the effect of guilt aversion toward the donor and toward the recipient on intermediaries' behavior. This is striking as embezzlement affects the earnings of the recipient but not those of the donor. It shows that guilt aversion matters even when decisions have no direct monetary consequences. JEL code: C91
    Keywords: Embezzlement,dishonesty,guilt aversion,psychological game theory,experiment
    Date: 2019
  12. By: Zhixin Dai (China Financial Policy Research Center, School of Finance, Renmin University of China); Jiwei Zheng (School of Economics and Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science, University of East Anglia); Daniel John Zizzo (School of Economics, University of Queensland)
    Abstract: We present a coordination game experiment testing the robustness of the predictive power of level-k reasoning and team reasoning in a sample of Chinese tax administrators. We show how the incidence of coordination game play is virtually identical between Chinese tax administrators and university students, which in turn is comparable with that found in research with a Western university student sample. However, relatively to non-students, students are comparatively more attracted by the focal point under team reasoning when this has equal payoffs and the other outcomes do not.
    Keywords: non-student subjects, focal points, team reasoning, level-k, coordination games
    JEL: C72 C78 C91
    Date: 2019–12–12
  13. By: Strømland, Eirik; Torsvik, Gaute
    Abstract: Heterogenous treatment effects make it difficult to extrapolate from one research setting to another. However, what appears to be differences in effects across subpopulations may simply be false positives. This paper uses a representative sample of the Norwegian population (N = 1390) to systematically test for several proposed sources of heterogeneity in the literature on intuitive prosociality – a literature with large variation in results, which some researchers claim results from heterogeneity in the underlying effect. We use time pressure to induce intuitive decision making, and exogenously vary participants’ experience with the game. We find no overall effect of time constraints on dictator game for inexperienced subjects, and there is no evidence for an interaction effect between subject experience and the effect of time pressure. As a more general test of treatment effect heterogeneity, we consider the full distribution of treatment effects conditional on various proposed moderators in the literature. The distribution of conditional effects is consistent with no causal effect of time pressure on giving and no systematic heterogeneity in the underlying effect across subpopulations.
    Date: 2019–03–24
  14. By: Alain Cohn; Michel André Maréchal; Frédéric Schneider; Roberto A. Weber
    Abstract: We study whether employment history provides information about a worker’s “work attitude,” i.e., the tendency to act cooperatively and reliably in the workplace. We conjecture that, holding all else equal, frequent job changes can indicate poor work attitude and that this information is transmitted through employment histories. We find support for this hypothesis across three studies that employ complementary lab, field, and survey experiments, as well as in labor market panel data. First, a tightly controlled laboratory labor market experiment demonstrates that prior employment information allows employers to screen for reliable and cooperative workers and that these workers obtain better employment outcomes. Second, we conduct a field experiment that varies the frequency of job changes in applicants’ resumes and find that those with fewer job changes receive substantially more callbacks from prospective employers. Third, a survey experiment with Human Resources professionals confirms that the resume manipulations in the field study create different perceptions of work attitude and that these largely account for the callback differences. Finally, we find evidence consistent with our hypothesized relationships in empirical labor market data. Our work highlights the potential importance of job history as a signal of work attitude in labor markets, and points to a potential cost of frequent job changes.
    JEL: C90 C93 J01 E24
    Date: 2019
  15. By: Benjamin Enke; Thomas Graeber
    Abstract: This paper introduces a formal definition and an experimental measurement of the concept of cognitive uncertainty: people’s subjective uncertainty about what the optimal action is. This concept allows us to bring together and partially explain a set of behavioral anomalies identified across four distinct domains of decision-making: choice under risk, choice under ambiguity, belief updating, and survey expectations about economic variables. In each of these domains, behavior in experiments and surveys tends to be insensitive to variation in probabilities, as in the classical probability weighting function. Building on existing models of noisy Bayesian cognition, we formally propose that cognitive uncertainty generates these patterns by inducing people to compress probabilities towards a mental default of 50:50. We document experimentally that the responses of individuals with higher cognitive uncertainty indeed exhibit stronger compression of probabilities in choice under risk and ambiguity, belief updating, and survey expectations. Our framework makes predictions that we test using exogenous manipulations of both cognitive uncertainty and the location of the mental default. The results provide causal evidence for the role of cognitive uncertainty in belief formation and choice, which we quantify through structural estimations.
    Keywords: cognitive uncertainty, beliefs, bounded rationality
    Date: 2019
  16. By: Erhao Xie
    Abstract: When players repeatedly face an identical or similar game (e.g., coordination game, technology adoption game, or product choice game), they may learn through experience to perform better in the future. This learning behaviour has important economic implications. It determines which economic outcome a game will reach and how fast it will get there. Given the importance of players’ learning behaviours, economists have proposed various adaptive models to study them. These models are usually estimated and tested using experimental data. Moreover, economists usually assume that individuals’ preference—their utility—is equal to the monetary reward they obtain. However, such an assumption can be wrong since players are not necessarily risk neutral. They could be risk averse or risk loving. I study the consequences of this false assumption and propose a method to deal with it. I then apply the method to an existing experimental dataset. The estimation results show that utility does not necessarily equal monetary reward. Imposing such a false assumption leads researchers to draw incorrect conclusions about players’ learning behaviours. For instance, we may incorrectly estimate the speed of learning and wrongly predict the final outcome of a game. In contrast, the method I propose in this paper allows researchers to achieve more accurate estimates.
    Keywords: Econometric and statistical methods; Economic models
    JEL: C57 C72 C92
    Date: 2019–12
  17. By: Phal Chea (Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration, Kobe University)
    Abstract: This paper intends to review education-related datasets, including data from household surveys, learning assessments and field experiments, publicly available for researchers and students interested in conducting education research. It also presents ideas on how those data can be used in empirical studies and identifies some major potential sources of those datasets. Issues in education have shifted from access to quality learning and at the same time, randomized control trial (RCT) has become the gold standard in measuring the impacts of education programs. The paper also notices the emerging field of educational data mining employed to predict student performance or to identify at-risk students.
    Keywords: Education data, Household survey, Learning assessment, Field experiment, Educational data mining
    JEL: A20 C80 I21 I25
    Date: 2019–12
  18. By: Melinscak, Filip; Bach, Dominik R
    Abstract: With computational biology striving to provide more accurate theoretical accounts of biological systems, use of increasingly complex computational models seems inevitable. However, this trend engenders a challenge of optimal experimental design: due to the flexibility of complex models, it is difficult to intuitively design experiments that will efficiently expose differences between candidate models or allow accurate estimation of their parameters. This challenge is well exemplified in associative learning research. Associative learning theory has a rich tradition of computational modeling, resulting in a growing space of increasingly complex models, which in turn renders manual design of informative experiments difficult. Here we propose a novel method for computational optimization of associative learning experiments. We first formalize associative learning experiments using a low number of tunable design variables, to make optimization tractable. Next, we combine simulation-based Bayesian experimental design with Bayesian optimization to arrive at a flexible method of tuning design variables. Finally, we validate the proposed method through extensive simulations covering both the objectives of accurate parameter estimation and model selection. The validation results show that computationally optimized experimental designs have the potential to substantially improve upon manual designs drawn from the literature, even when prior information guiding the optimization is scarce. Computational optimization of experiments may help address recent concerns over reproducibility by increasing the expected utility of studies, and it may even incentivize practices such as study pre-registration, since optimization requires a pre-specified analysis plan. Moreover, design optimization has the potential not only to improve basic research in domains such as associative learning, but also to play an important role in translational research. For example, design of behavioral and physiological diagnostic tests in the nascent field of computational psychiatry could benefit from an optimization-based approach, similar to the one presented here.
    Date: 2019–02–20
  19. By: Bolton, Gary; Breuer, Kevin; Greiner, Ben; Ockenfels, Axel
    Abstract: Feedback withdrawal mechanisms in online markets aim to facilitate the resolution of conflicts during transactions. Yet, frequently used online feedback withdrawal rules are flawed and may backfire by inviting strategic transaction and feedback behavior. Our laboratory experiment shows how a small change in the design of feedback withdrawal rules, allowing unilateral rather than mutual withdrawal, can both reduce incentives for strategic gaming and improve coordination of expectations. This leads to less trading risk, more cooperation, and higher market efficiency.
    Keywords: dispute resolution system, market design, reputation, trust
    Date: 2020–01
  20. By: March, Christoph; Sahm, Marco
    Abstract: We investigate overlapping contests in multi-divisional organizations in which an individual's effort simultaneously determines the outcome of several contests on different hierarchical levels. We show that individuals in smaller units are advantaged in the grand (organization-wide) contest for two reasons: First, the incentive to free-ride is smaller in inter-divisional contests. Second, competition in the intradivisional contest is less fierce. Both effects induce a higher marginal utility of effort provision. We test the model in a laboratory experiment and confirm its main predictions. Our results have important consequences for the provision of incentives in organizations and the design of sports competitions.
    Keywords: Contest,Rent-seeking,Hierarchy,Teams,Experiment
    JEL: C72 C92 D72
    Date: 2019
  21. By: Dimitriadis, Stefan; Koning, Rembrand (Harvard Business School)
    Abstract: Why do some entrepreneurs benefit from their portfolio of peer advisers while others do not? In this study, we argue that communication practices are an important but overlooked factor in the formation of useful advice relationships between entrepreneurs, particularly in the context of developing economies. We hypothesize that improving entrepreneurs’ communication practices will affect the relationships they form and have implications for their business performance. To test our theory, we conducted a field experiment in Togo with 301 entrepreneurs who were randomized into a communication practices intervention that was embedded in a business training program. We found that entrepreneurs who were exposed to better communication practices perceived interactions more cooperatively and exchanged more information during those interactions. Moreover, improving communication practices also led to a 50 percent increase in the number of relationships entrepreneurs formed with peers. These relationships exhibited more matching based on skill and were more ethnically diverse. Finally, communication practices training also substantially increased entrepreneurs’ business performance. Our findings highlight how communication practices play a central role in entrepreneurs’ ability to form portfolios of relationships and perform in challenging business environments.
    Date: 2019–09–26
  22. By: Schubert, Anna-Lena; Nunez, Michael D. (University of California, Irvine); Hagemann, Dirk; Vandekerckhove, Joachim
    Abstract: Previous research has shown that individuals with greater cognitive abilities display a greater speed of higher-order cognitive processing. These results suggest that speeded neural information processing may facilitate evidence accumulation during decision making and memory updating and thus yield advantages in general cognitive abilities. We used a hierarchical Bayesian cognitive modeling approach to test the hypothesis that individual differences in the velocity of evidence accumulation mediate the relationship between neural processing speed and cognitive abilities. We found that a higher neural speed predicted both the velocity of evidence accumulation across behavioral tasks and cognitive ability test scores. However, only a negligible part of the association between neural processing speed and cognitive abilities was mediated by individual differences in the velocity of evidence accumulation. The model demonstrated impressive forecasting abilities by predicting 36% of individual variation in cognitive ability test scores in an entirely new sample solely based on their electrophysiological and behavioral data. Our results suggest that individual differences in neural processing speed might affect a plethora of higher-order cognitive processes, that only in concert explain the large association between neural processing speed and cognitive abilities, instead of the effect being entirely explained by differences in evidence accumulation speeds.
    Date: 2018–12–18
  23. By: Neves, Kleber; Amaral, Olavo Bohrer
    Abstract: Articles describing experimental data in the life sciences are meant to tell a clear story to the reader. This means that not every experimental attempt ends up published, as failed experiments and uninformative data are typically filtered out by researchers. Freedom to exclude data from an article, however, can lead to reporting bias when exclusion decisions are made after results are in. We discuss how to balance clarity and thoroughness in biomedical research reporting, and suggest that predefined criteria for experimental validity might help in solving this conflict.
    Date: 2019–12–18
  24. By: James J. Heckman (The University of Chicago); Tomas Jagelka; Tim Kautz (Mathematica)
    Abstract: This paper synthesizes recent research in economics and psychology on the measurement and empirical importance of personality skills and preferences. They predict and cause important life outcomes such as wages, health, and longevity. Skills develop over the life cycle and can be enhanced by education, parenting, and environmental influences to different degrees at different ages. Economic analysis clarifies psychological studies by establishing that personality is measured by performance on tasks which depends on incentives and multiple skills. Identification of any single skill therefore requires isolation of confounding factors, accounting for measurement error using rich data and application of appropriate statistical techniques. Skills can be inferred not only by questionnaires and experiments but also from observed behavior. Economists advance the analysis of human differences by providing anchored measures of economic preferences and studying their links to personality and cognitive skills. Connecting the research from the two disciplines promotes understanding of the number and nature of skills and preferences required to characterize essential differences.
    Keywords: preferences, psychology, behavioral economics, human diversity
    JEL: C91 C93 D12 D91
    Date: 2019–12
  25. By: Treich, Nicolas; Liu, Linqun
    Abstract: It has been established in the literature that, under the assumption of risk-neutral contestants, it is usually optimal for an effort-maximizing contest organizer with a fixed prize budget to award everything to a single winner. This paper studies the role of risk attitudes – risk aversion and prudence in particular – in determining the optimality of winner-take-all contests. We compare the typical single-winner lottery contest with two alternative ways of spreading the rewards to more players: through holding multiple prize-giving lottery competitions or through guaranteeing a bottom prize for the losers. In the first comparison, we found that the multiple-competition contest is as effective as the winner-take-all contest when the contestants are risk neutral, but the former induces more effort than the latter when the contestants are both risk averse and prudent. In the second comparison, we found that the contest with a bottom prize is always dominated by the winner-take-all contest when the contestants are risk neutral, but the former could have an advantage over the latter when the contestants are both risk averse and prudent, and it is more likely so as the contestants become more prudent.
    Keywords: contests; winner take all; multiple prizes; risk aversion; prudence
    JEL: C72 D72 D81
    Date: 2019–12
  26. By: Michael, Friedrich; Ignatov, Dmitry I.
    Abstract: This papers discusses the scientific and practical perspectives of using general game playing in business-to-business price negotiations as a part of Procurement 4.0 revolution. The status quo of digital price negotiations software,which emerged from intuitive solutions to business goals and refereed to as electronic auctions in industry, is summarized in scientific context. Description of such aspects as auctioneers’ interventions, asymmetry among players and time-depended features reveals the nature of nowadays electronic auctions to be rather termed as price games. This paper strongly suggests general game playing as the crucial technology for automation of human rule setting in those games. Game theory, genetic programming, experimental economics and AI human player simulation are also discussed as satellite topics. SIDL-type game descriptions languages and their formal game theoretic foundations are presented.
    Keywords: Procurement 4.0; Artificial Intelligence; General Game Playing; Game Theory; Mechanism Design; Experimental Economics; Behavioral Eco-nomics; z-Tree; Cognitive Modeling; e-Auctions; barter double auction; B-to-B Price Negotiations; English Auction; Dutch auction; Sealed-Bid Auction; Industry 4.0
    JEL: C63 C72 C90 D04 D44
    Date: 2019–09–23
  27. By: Jochimsen, Beate
    Abstract: The phenomenon of private contributions to public goods is broadly discussed in the literature. However, the possibility to verify theoretical results empirically is often limited because sufficient data on donors is lacking. Christmas lights in Berlin have been completely financed with private contributions. As sufficient information on donors is available, this setting offers the rare possibility to explore their characteristics. On a theoretical fundament, two questions are addressed: First, which characteristics are responsible for the decision to donate at all, and second, what determines the size of the donation. Using a Heckman selection model we show, first, that traditional public finance theory can be confirmed. Economically stronger potential contributors are more like to donate and donate higher amounts. Second, status drives the decision to donate, too. Third, profit maximization is a further motive to donate and influences the donated amount. The results are robust to various controls. They offer the opportunity to address potential donors more specifically and, hence, should be of interest for future attempts to raise private donations.
    Keywords: private Provision of a public good,charitable contributions,motivation of donors Private Bereitstellung eines öffentlichen Gutes,wohltätige Spenden,Motivation der Spendenden
    JEL: H41 D01 D64 C12
    Date: 2019
  28. By: Kvarven, Amanda; Strømland, Eirik; Johannesson, Magnus
    Abstract: Many researchers rely on meta-analysis to summarize research evidence. However, recent replication projects in the behavioral sciences suggest that effect sizes of original studies are overestimated, and this overestimation is typically attributed to publication bias and selective reporting of scientific results. As the validity of meta-analyses depends on the primary studies, there is a concern that systematic overestimation of effect sizes may translate into biased meta-analytic effect sizes. We compare the results of meta-analyses to large-scale pre-registered replications in psychology carried out at multiple labs. The multiple labs replications provide relatively precisely estimated effect sizes, which do not suffer from publication bias or selective reporting. Searching the literature, 17 meta-analyses – spanning more than 1,200 effect sizes and more than 370,000 participants - on the same topics as multiple labs replications are identified. We find that the meta-analytic effect sizes are significantly different from the replication effect sizes for 12 out of the 17 meta-replication pairs. These differences are systematic and on average meta-analytic effect sizes are about three times as large as the replication effect sizes.
    Date: 2019–03–09
  29. By: Banerjee, Abhijit (MIT)
    Abstract: Abhijit Banerjee delivered his Prize Lecture on Sunday 8 December 2019, at the Aula Magna, Stockholm University.
    Keywords: poverty; field experiments;
    JEL: C90 I30
    Date: 2019–12–08
  30. By: Duflo, Esther (MIT)
    Abstract: Esther Duflo delivered her Prize Lecture on Sunday 8 December 2019, at the Aula Magna, Stockholm University.
    Keywords: poverty; field experiments;
    JEL: C90 I30
    Date: 2019–12–08
  31. By: Kremer, Michael (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Michael Kremer delivered his Prize Lecture on Sunday 8 December 2019, at the Aula Magna, Stockholm University.
    Keywords: poverty; field experiments;
    JEL: C90 I30
    Date: 2019–12–08

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