nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2020‒01‒27
29 papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Media Bias and Tax Compliance: Experimental Evidence By Miloš Fišar; Tommaso Reggiani; Fabio Sabatini; Jiří Špalek
  2. Free Riding and Workplace Democracy – Heterogeneous Task Preferences and Sorting By Kenju Kamei; Thomas Markussen
  3. Endowment Effects and Loss Aversion in the Risky Investment Game By Holden, Stein T.; Tilahun, Mesfin
  4. (Im)patience by Proxy: Making Intertemporal Decisions for Others By Angela C.M. de Oliveira; Sarah Jacobson
  5. Randomization and Social Policy Evaluation Revisited By Heckman, James J.
  6. Communication, Observability and Cooperation: a Field Experiment on Collective Water Management in India By O'Garra, Tanya; Alfredo, Katherine A.
  7. The Dark Side of Monetary Bonuses : Theory and Experimental Evidence By Gonzalez-Jimenez, Victor; Dalton, Patricio; Noussair, Charles
  8. Vertical Integration as a Source of Hold-up: an Experiment By Allain, Marie-Laure; Chambolle, Claire; Rey, Patrick; Teyssier, Sabrina
  9. The Evolution of Morals under Indirect Reciprocity By Alexia Gaudeul; Claudia Keser; Stephan Müller
  10. Trust, Trustworthiness, and the Behavioral Foundations of Corporate Law By Blair, Margaret M; Stout, Lynn; Library, Cornell
  11. Attribution Bias by Gender: Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment By Fenske, James; Castagnetti, Alessandro; Sharma, Karmini
  12. Measuring preferences for competition with experimentally-validated survey questions By Francesco Fallucchi; Daniele Nosenzo; Ernesto Reuben
  13. The Surprising Capacity of the Company You Keep: Revealing Group Cohesion as a Powerful Factor of Team Production By Simon Gaechter; Chris Starmer; Fabio Tufano
  14. From Meaning to Money: Translating Injury into Dollars By Hans, Valerie P.; Helm, Rebecca K.; Library, Cornell; Reyna, Valerie
  15. Framed Payslips and People's Reactions to Labor Tax Changes By Ghesla, Claus; Sonntag, Axel
  16. Economic Growth and Public Debt: An Experimental Approach in Search of a Confidence Channel By Luigi Mittone; Matteo Tomaselli
  17. The Doors of Perception By Gary Charness; Alessandro Sontuoso
  18. Effectiveness and equity of Payments for Ecosystem Services: Real-effort experiments with Vietnamese land users By Loft, Lasse; Gehrig, Stefan; Le, Dung Ngoc; Rommel, Jens
  19. Don't Patronize Me! An Experiment on Preferences for Authorship By Lübbecke, Silvia; Schnedler, Wendelin
  20. Evaluating the replicability of social science experiments in Nature and Science between 2010 and 2015 By Camerer, Colin; Dreber, Anna; Holzmeister, Felix; Ho, Teck Hua; Huber, Juergen; Johannesson, Magnus; Kirchler, Michael; Nave, Gideon; Nosek, Brian A.; Pfeiffer, Thomas
  21. Exposure to Opposing Views can Increase Political Polarization: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment on Social Media By Bail, Christopher A.; Argyle, Lisa; Brown, Taylor; Bumpuss, John; Chen, Haohan; Hunzaker, M.B. Fallin; Lee, Jaemin; Mann, Marcus; Merhout, Friedolin; Volfovsky, Alexander
  22. Using simulations to explore sampling distributions: an antidote to hasty and extravagant inferences By Rousselet, Guillaume A
  23. Robust Bidding and Revenue in Descending Price Auctions By Sarah Auster; Christian Kellner
  24. Becoming Friends or Foes? How Competitive Environments Shape Social Preferences By Eugen Dimant; Kyle Hyndman
  25. The rise of the randomistas: on the experimental turn in international aid By Donovan, Kevin P.
  26. What do we learn from an equivalence study without statistical power? By Peyton, Kyle; Solnick, Rachel
  27. Cognitive Bias Mitigation: How to Make Decision-Making Rational? By Tomas Kucera
  28. Social Epistemology By Franz Dietrich; Kai Spiekermann
  29. Menstrual Health, Worker Productivity and Well-being among Female Bangladeshi Garment Workers By Kristina Czura; Andreas Menzel; Martina Miotto

  1. By: Miloš Fišar (Vienna University of Economics and Business & Masaryk University); Tommaso Reggiani (Cardiff University, Masaryk University & IZA); Fabio Sabatini (Sapienza University of Rome & IZA); Jiří Špalek (Masaryk University)
    Abstract: We study the impact of media bias on tax compliance. Through a framed laboratory experiment, we assess how the exposure to biased news about government action affects compliance in a repeated taxation game. Subjects treated with positive news are significantly more compliant than the control group. The exposure to negative news, instead, does not prompt any significant reaction in respect to the neutral condition, suggesting that participants perceive the media negativity bias in the selection and tonality of news as the norm rather than the exception. Overall, our results suggest that biased news act as a constant source of psychological priming and play a vital role in taxpayers' compliance decisions.
    Keywords: Tax compliance, media bias, taxation game, laboratory experiment.
    JEL: C91 D70 H26 H31
    Date: 2020–01–23
  2. By: Kenju Kamei (Durham University Business School); Thomas Markussen (University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: A novel laboratory experiment is used to show that mismatching between task preferences and task assignment undermines worker productivity and leads to free riding in teams. We elicit task preferences from all workers. Workers’ endogenous sorting into tasks significantly improves productivity under individual-based remuneration (performance pay). Under team-based remuneration (revenue sharing), free riding is significant, but almost exclusively among those working on undesired tasks. Task selection by majority voting in teams alleviates free riding, but only partly so, because some workers are still assigned to undesired tasks. Our findings have broad implications for research using real effort tasks.
    Keywords: free riding, team, workplace democracy, experiment, real effort
    JEL: C91 C92 H41 D82 J01
    Date: 2020–01
  3. By: Holden, Stein T. (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences); Tilahun, Mesfin (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)
    Abstract: The risky investment game of Gneezy and Potters (1997) has been a popular tool used to estimate risk tolerance and myopic loss aversion. We have assessed whether a simple one-shot version of this game that is attractive as a simple tool to elicit risk tolerance among respondents with limited education, can lead to biased estimates of risk aversion due to endowment effects. We use a field experiment with a pool of young business group members with limited education to test for the potential bias associated with the initial endowment allocation. We find a highly significant endowment effect which may explain low investment levels and exaggerated measures of risk aversion where this game has been used to estimate risk aversion. We develop and test a more balanced version of the risk investment game and demonstrate that it gives less bias due to endowment effects than the standard design and a full risk design that creates an endowment effect in the opposite direction, indicating that loss aversion may not be the primary cause of the endowment effect.
    Keywords: Endowment effect; loss aversion; gender difference; risky investment game; field experiment; Ethiopia.
    JEL: C93 D91
    Date: 2020–01–16
  4. By: Angela C.M. de Oliveira (University of Massachusetts-Amherst); Sarah Jacobson (Williams College)
    Abstract: Decisions with consequences that play out over time are ubiquitous in business, policy, and family relations, and frequently the agent making such a decision is not the one who bears the consequences. We use a lab experiment to examine whether individuals make different intertemporal decisions for others of varying social distance than for themselves. Subjects make a series of intertemporal work time allocation decisions for themselves and for another individual, either a friend or a stranger. We find that if they do not receive information about the decision recipient, people choose more impatiently (moving more disutility cost into the future) for others than for themselves. In other words, a decision made for you by an uninformed proxy is more impatient than a decision you would make for yourself and thus is probably suboptimal. This result contrasts with some of the literature, a divergence that may be because most of those studies are in the benefit domain while ours is in the cost domain and because (as we find in a separate survey) people perceive procrastination as qualitatively different from other discounting decisions. We provide evidence that this bias in proxy decisions exists because benevolent decision-makers believe their decision recipients to be more impatient than they actually are. First, survey evidence suggests that uninformed individuals believe that they are more patient than other subjects. Second, when the decision-maker sees information about how patient the recipient believes herself to be, this impatience bias disappears if the recipient is a friend. Taken together, our results show that given limited information, proxy decision-makers choose more impatiently than principals would prefer, but information can mitigate this suboptimal choice if social distance is low. Our results also suggest that intertemporal choice may not be behaviorally the same over time as over money.
    Keywords: proxy decision-making, intertemporal choice, laboratory experiment
    JEL: D03 D90 D64 C91
    Date: 2020–01–07
  5. By: Heckman, James J. (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 awed 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: 2020–01
  6. By: O'Garra, Tanya (Middlesex University); Alfredo, Katherine A.
    Abstract: This study is an empirical investigation of the potential for communication and observability interventions to increase cooperation around communal water treatment systems amongst villagers in rural India. Despite the dependence of many rural communities in India on communal water sources and treatment plants for safe drinking water, they often fail to collectively manage these resources, resulting in abandoned water points and treatment systems with consequent health and mortality impacts. Results of public goods games framed in terms of the management of communal water treatment systems suggest that observability (public disclosure of behaviour) had the very significant effect of decreasing contributions to the public good. Analysis suggests this was mainly due to conformity to frequently-observed free-riding. Only when participants were actively encouraged to negotiate agreements, did cooperation increase significantly - albeit intermittently. These results show that the success of institutional design principles devised to increase cooperation depends on existing social norms and practices in the community of interest. A failure to account for these informal rules and standards of behaviour may result in unintended consequences, such as a decline in collective action around the public good.
    Date: 2018–06–22
  7. By: Gonzalez-Jimenez, Victor; Dalton, Patricio (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research); Noussair, Charles
    Abstract: To incentivize workers and boost performance, firms often offer monetary bonuses for the achievement of production goals. Such bonuses appeal to two types of motivations of the worker. On the one hand, the existence of a goal, on its own, triggers an intrinsic motivation associated with the desire to not fall short of the goal. On the other hand, the money paid to achieve the goal constitutes an extrinsic motivation. This paper studies the possibility that these two effects are substitutes when workers set their own goals. We develop a theoretical model that predicts that if the worker is sufficiently loss averse and faces uncertainty about reaching a production goal, offering a monetary payment contingent on reaching such a goal is counterproductive. This is because under the presence of monetary bonuses, the loss averse worker prefers setting lower goals, which yield lower but more likely bonus payments. Lower goals, in turn, negatively affect subsequent performance. Results from a laboratory experiment corroborate this prediction. This paper highlights the limits of monetary bonuses as an effective incentive when workers are loss averse.
    Keywords: goal-setting; contracts; loss aversion; bonuses; experiment
    JEL: J41 D90 C91 D81
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Allain, Marie-Laure; Chambolle, Claire; Rey, Patrick; Teyssier, Sabrina
    Abstract: In a vertical chain in which two rivals invest before contracting with one of two competing suppliers, partial vertical integration may create hold-up problems for the rival. We develop an experiment to test this theoretical prediction in two setups, in which suppliers can either pre-commit ex ante to appropriating part of the joint profit, or degrade ex post the support they provide to their customer. Our experimental results confirm that vertical integration creates hold-up problems in both setups. However, we observe more departures from theory in the second one. Bounded rationality and social preferences provide a rationale for these departures.
    Keywords: Vertical Integration; Hold-up; Experimental Economics; Bounded Rationality; Social Preferences.
    JEL: C91 D90 L13 L41
    Date: 2020–01
  9. By: Alexia Gaudeul; Claudia Keser; Stephan Müller
    Abstract: We theoretically and experimentally study the evolution of strategies reflecting different moral judgments under indirect reciprocity. We fully characterize the evolutionary stable equilibria. In all cooperative equilibria multiple strategies coexist. This offers an explanation for the heterogeneity in moral judgments among humans. The prescribed behavior of the equilibrium strategies can rationalize the design of empirical examples of reputation systems, which are set up to resolve problems of moral hazard. In our laboratory experiment, we find that more than 75% of participants play strategies that belong to the predicted equilibrium set.
    Keywords: Indirect Reciprocity,Cooperation,Evolution,Experiment,
    JEL: C73 C91 D83
    Date: 2019–12–10
  10. By: Blair, Margaret M; Stout, Lynn; Library, Cornell
    Abstract: 149 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1735 (2001) Conventional legal and economic analysis assumes that opportunistic behavior is discouraged and that cooperation is encouraged within firms primarily through the use of legal and market incentives. This presumption is embedded in the modern view that the corporation is best described as a "nexus of contracts, " a collection of explicit and implicit agreements voluntarily negotiated among the rationally selfish parties who join in the corporate enterprise. In this Article we take a different approach. We start from the observation that, in many circumstances, legal and market sanctions provide, at best, imperfect means of regulating behavior within the firm. We consider an alternate hypothesis: that corporate participants often cooperate with each other not because of external constraints but because of internal ones. In particular, we argue that the behavioral phenomena of internalized trust and trustworthiness play important roles in encouraging cooperation within films. In support of this claim, we survey the extensive experimental evidence that has been produced over the past four decades on human behavior in "social dilemmas." This evidence demonstrates that internalized trust is a common phenomenon, that it is at least in part learned rather than innate, and that different individuals vary in their inclinations toward trust. Most importantly, the experimental evidence indicates that decisions whether or not to trust others are in large part determined by social context rather than external payoffs. By altering social con text-subjects' perceptions of others' beliefs, expectations, likely actions, and relationships to themselves-experimenters can reliably produce in subjects in social dilemmas everything from nearly universal trust to an almost complete absence of trust. In other words, most people behave as if they have two personalities or preference functions. One is competitive and self-regarding. The other is cooperative and other-regarding. Social framing is key in triggering when the cooperative personality emerges. These behavioral findings carry important implications for corporate law. For example, in this Article we demonstrate first that the phenomenon of trust offers insight into the substantive structure of corporate law and particularly into the nature and purpose of that elusive legal concept, fiduciary duty. Second, the experimental evidence on trust sheds light on how corporate law works, by suggesting that judicial opinions in corporate cases influence corporate office' and directors' behavior not only by altering their external incentives but also by changing their internalized preferences. This possibility helps explain the notoriously puzzling relationship between the duty of care and the business judgment rule. Third, trust highlights the limits of law by explaining how cooperative patterns of behavior can sometimes develop within firms even when external incentives, such as legal sanctions, are unavailable or ineffective. In the process, it underscores the dangers of the contractarian approach by suggesting that an excessive emphasis on external sanctions - including formal contract and even the rhetoric of contract - may be not only ineffective but counterproductive, serving to undermine trust and trustworthiness within the firm.
    Date: 2018–04–15
  11. By: Fenske, James (University of Warwick); Castagnetti, Alessandro (University of Warwick); Sharma, Karmini (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: In many settings, economic outcomes depend on the competence and effort of the agents involved, and also on luck. When principals assess agents’ performance they can suffer from attribution bias by gender: male agents may be assessed more favorably than female agents because males will be rewarded for good luck, while women are punished for bad luck. We conduct a laboratory experiment to test whether principals judge agents’ outcomes differently by gender. Agents perform tasks for the principals and the realized outcomes depend on both the agents’ performance and luck. Principals then assess agents’ performance and decide what to pay the agents. Our experimental results do not show evidence consistent with attribution bias by gender. While principals’ payments and beliefs about agent performance are heavily influenced by realized outcomes, they do not depend on the gender of the agent. We find suggestive evidence that the interaction between the gender of the principal and the agent plays a role. In particular, principals are more generous to agents of the opposite gender.
    Date: 2020
  12. By: Francesco Fallucchi (Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research); Daniele Nosenzo (Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER), and University of Nottingham); Ernesto Reuben (New York University Abu Dhabi and Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research)
    Abstract: We validate experimentally a new survey item to measure the preference for competition. The item, which measures participants' agreement with the statement "Competition brings the best out of me", predicts individuals' willingness to compete in the laboratory after controlling for their ability, beliefs, and risk attitude (Niederle and Vesterlund, 2007). We further validate the explanatory power of our survey item outside of the laboratory, by comparing responses across two samples with predicted differences in their preference for competition: professional athletes and non-athletes. As predicted, we find that athletes score higher on the item than non-athletes.
    Keywords: competition, survey question, experiment validation
    Date: 2019
  13. By: Simon Gaechter (University of Nottingham); Chris Starmer (University of Nottingham); Fabio Tufano (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We introduce the concept of “group cohesion†to study the economic consequences of social relationships in team production. We measure group cohesion, adapting the “oneness scale†from psychology to group level. A series of experiments, including a pre-registered replication, reveals that higher cohesion groups are more likely to achieve Pareto-superior outcomes in weak-link coordination games. Judged against benchmarks, the effects of cohesion are economically large. We identify beliefs rather than social preferences as a primary mechanism explaining the effects of cohesion. Our comprehensive evidence establishes group cohesion as a powerful production factor and a useful new tool of economic research.
    Keywords: Group Cohesion, Oneness
    Date: 2019
  14. By: Hans, Valerie P.; Helm, Rebecca K.; Library, Cornell; Reyna, Valerie
    Abstract: Legal systems often require the translation of qualitative assessments into quantitative judgments, yet the qualitative-to-quantitative conversion is a challenging, understudied process. We conducted an experimental test of predictions from a new theory of juror damage award decision making, examining how 154 lay people engaged in the translation process in recommending money damages for pain and suffering in a personal injury tort case. The experiment varied the presence, size, and meaningfulness of an anchor number to determine how these factors influenced monetary award judgments, perceived difficulty, and subjective meaningfulness of awards. As predicted, variability in awards was high, with awards participants considered to be “medium” (rather than “low” or “high”) having the most dispersion. The gist of awards as low, medium, or high fully mediated the relationship between perceived pain/suffering and award amount. Moreover, controlling for participants’ perceptions of plaintiffs and defendants, as well as their desire to punish and to take economic losses into account, meaningful anchors predicted unique variance in award judgments: A meaningful large anchor number drove awards up and a meaningful small anchor drove them down, whereas meaningless large and small anchors did not differ significantly. Numeracy did not predict award magnitudes or variability, but surprisingly, more numerate participants reported that it was more difficult to pick an exact figure to compensate the plaintiff for pain and suffering. The results support predictions of the theory about qualitative gist and meaningful anchors, and suggest that we can assist jurors to arrive at damage awards by providing meaningful numbers.
    Date: 2018–02–15
  15. By: Ghesla, Claus; Sonntag, Axel
    Abstract: Payslips are supposed to notify employees about wage-related information, enabling them to adjust their labor supply, when appropriate. However, payslips are often information-laden and complex to understand, casting doubt on whether they are adequately up to the task, potentially resulting in inefficient labor supply reactions. In a real-effort laboratory experiment we use a variety of information frames to potentially support a better understanding of wage related information. We find that participants strongly react to changes of incidental wage costs, yet the framing of payslips has no additional effect on people's labor supply. Nevertheless, including simple graphics increases comprehension and readability.
    Keywords: framing; labor taxes; incidental wage costs; experiment
    JEL: C91 H29 J22
    Date: 2019–12
  16. By: Luigi Mittone; Matteo Tomaselli
    Abstract: This paper aims at investigating the relationship between public debt and the consumption side of economic growth from an experimental macroeconomics point of view, by analysing whether consumers’ expectations about public debt are linked to tax compliance, consumption, and savings choices, that in turn affect GDP. To this end, we have implemented a laboratory experiment in which the participants earn an income to be allocated between consumption, savings, and voluntary taxation for an unknown number of rounds. Debt’s dynamics arises endogenously within a public good game with threshold: taxation is used to cover a given level of public expenditure, which is equally distributed to the participants at the beginning of each subsequent round. If the collected amount of taxes is lower than required, a deficit is generated, and it feeds public debt. Debt can then be unexpectedly reduced by the government through accessing subjects’ savings. To check for the role of beliefs, participants’ expectations about future debt reduction and perceived debt sustainability are elicited during the experiment. Results show that this experimental framework is characterized by relatively high and often increasing aggregate savings and relatively low and decreasing aggregate consumption. An increase in the debt-reduction expectations and a decrease in the perceived debt sustainability are also found to explain savings and consumption behaviours. These conclusions do not change if tax audits are introduced, but the average savings level lowers, thus increasing subjects’ exposure to the unexpected shocks.
    Keywords: experimental macroeconomics, public debt, economic growth, expectations, intertemporal choices, public-good games, fiscal audits
    Date: 2019
  17. By: Gary Charness (Department of Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara); Alessandro Sontuoso (Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy, Chapman University; Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: We investigate how a player’s strategic behavior is affected by the set of notions she uses in thinking about the game, i.e., the “frame”. To do so, we consider matching games where two players are presented with a set of objects, from which each player must privately choose one (with the goal of matching the counterpart’s choice). We propose a novel theory positing that different player types are aware of different attributes of the strategy options, hence different frames; we then rationalize why differences in players’ frames may lead to differences in choice behavior. Unlike previous theories of framing, our model features an epistemic structure allowing for the case in which an individual learns new frames, given some initial unawareness (of the fact that her perception of attributes may be incomplete). To test our model, we introduce an experimental design in which we bring about different frames by manipulating subjects’ awareness of various attributes. The experimental results provide strong support for our theory.
    Keywords: Frames; Unawareness; Focal Points; Coordination Games
    JEL: C72 C91
    Date: 2019
  18. By: Loft, Lasse; Gehrig, Stefan; Le, Dung Ngoc; Rommel, Jens
    Abstract: Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) are widespread in conservation policy. In PES, environmental effectiveness and social equity are often perceived as conflicting goals. Empirical studies on the relationship between popular design features, such as payment differentiation and payment conditionality, and effectiveness and equity are scarce. Further, they struggle with measuring and separating ecological and equity outcomes. In this study, we combine two incentivized lab-in-the-field experiments with 259 land users from eight villages in North-Western Vietnam to assess both individual conservation effort and community-level equity perceptions under four different PES designs. Effort is measured in a real-effort task with real-world environmental benefits; equity perceptions about payment designs in the real-effort task are measured in a coordination game. We demonstrate that payment design affects both effort and equity perceptions. Payments which are differentiated and are solely conditional on individuals’ contributions of effort are perceived as most equitable. They are also more effective in motivating conservation effort than other designs, although the differences are small and not significant for all comparisons. By working out the positive correlation of effectiveness and equity across the four payment schemes, we show that these objectives are not necessarily conflicting goals in incentive-based conservation policy. Further, we can show that women exert greater conservation efforts. We discuss how greater equity and effectiveness could be achieved with reforms towards more input-based distribution criteria in Vietnam’s PES legislation and the limitations and opportunities of the experimental paradigm for research on PES.
    Date: 2018–06–26
  19. By: Lübbecke, Silvia (University of Paderborn); Schnedler, Wendelin (University of Paderborn)
    Abstract: Do people only reject interference and keep control in order to affect the outcome? We find that 20% of subjects reject unrequired help and insist on their solution to a problem – although doing so is costly and does not change the result. We tease out the motives by varying the information available to the interfering party (paternalist). Subjects do not resist to show to the paternalist that they were able to find the correct solution. Instead, two motives seem to play a role. First, subjects prefer to have produced or 'authored' the solution themselves. Second, subjects desire to signal their authorship and hence their independence to the paternalist.
    Keywords: self-esteem, image concerns, autonomy, competence, paternalism, selfdetermination, preference for authorship
    JEL: C91 D82 D91
    Date: 2019–12
  20. By: Camerer, Colin; Dreber, Anna (Stockholm School of Economics); Holzmeister, Felix (University of Innsbruck); Ho, Teck Hua; Huber, Juergen; Johannesson, Magnus; Kirchler, Michael; Nave, Gideon; Nosek, Brian A. (University of Virginia); Pfeiffer, Thomas (Massey University Auckland)
    Abstract: Being able to replicate scientific findings is crucial for scientific progress. We replicate 21 systematically selected experimental studies in the social sciences published in Nature and Science between 2010 and 2015. The replications follow analysis plans reviewed by the original authors and pre-registered prior to the replications. The replications are high powered, with sample sizes on average about five times higher than in the original studies. We find a significant effect in the same direction as the original study for 13 (62%) studies, and the effect size of the replications is on average about 50% of the original effect size. Replicability varies between 12 (57%) and 14 (67%) studies for complementary replicability indicators. Consistent with these results, the estimated true positive rate is 67% in a Bayesian analysis. The relative effect size of true positives is estimated to be 71%, suggesting that both false positives and inflated effect sizes of true positives contribute to imperfect reproducibility. Furthermore, we find that peer beliefs of replicability are strongly related to replicability, suggesting that the research community could predict which results would replicate and that failures to replicate were not the result of chance alone.
    Date: 2018–08–27
  21. By: Bail, Christopher A.; Argyle, Lisa; Brown, Taylor; Bumpuss, John; Chen, Haohan; Hunzaker, M.B. Fallin (New York University); Lee, Jaemin; Mann, Marcus; Merhout, Friedolin; Volfovsky, Alexander
    Abstract: There is mounting concern that social media sites contribute to political polarization by creating "echo chambers" that insulate people from opposing views about current events. We surveyed a large sample of Democrats and Republicans who visit Twitter at least three times each week about a range of social policy issues. One week later, we randomly assigned respondents to a treatment condition in which they were offered financial incentives to follow a Twitter bot for one month that exposed them to messages produced by elected officials, organizations, and other opinion leaders with opposing political ideologies. Respondents were re-surveyed at the end of the month to measure the effect of this treatment, and at regular intervals throughout the study period to monitor treatment compliance. We find that Republicans who followed a liberal Twitter bot became substantially more conservative post-treatment, and Democrats who followed a conservative Twitter bot became slightly more liberal post-treatment. These findings have important implications for the interdisciplinary literature on political polarization as well as the emerging field of computational social science.
    Date: 2018–03–19
  22. By: Rousselet, Guillaume A
    Abstract: Most statistical inferences in psychology are based on frequentist statistics, which rely on sampling distributions: the long-run outcomes of multiple experiments, given a certain model. Yet, sampling distributions are poorly understood and rarely explicitly considered when making inferences. In this article, I demonstrate how to use simulations to illustrate sampling distributions to answer simple practical questions: for instance, if we could run thousands of experiments, what would the outcome look like? What do these simulations tell us about the results from a single experiment? Such simulations can be run a priori, given expected results, or a posteriori, using existing datasets. Both approaches can help make explicit the data generating process and the sources of variability; they also reveal the large variability in our experimental estimation and lead to the sobering realisation that, in most situations, we should not make a big deal out of results from a single experiment. Simulations can also help demonstrate how the selection of effect sizes conditional on some arbitrary cut-off (p≤0.05) leads to a literature crammed with false positives, a powerful illustration of the damage done in part by researchers’ over-confidence in their statistical tools. The article focuses on graphical descriptions and covers examples using correlation analyses, percent correct data and response latency data.
    Date: 2019–12–05
  23. By: Sarah Auster; Christian Kellner
    Abstract: We study the properties of Dutch auctions in an independent private value setting, where bidders face uncertainty over the type distribution of their opponents and evaluate their payoffs by the worst case from a set of probabilistic scenarios. In contrast to static auction formats, participants in the Dutch auction gradually learn about the valuations of other bidders. We show that the transmitted information can lead to changes in the worst-case distribution and thereby shift a bidder’s payoff maximizing exit price over time. We characterise the equilibrium bidding function in this environment and show that the arriving information leads bidders to exit earlier at higher prices. As a result, the Dutch auction systematically generates more revenue than the first-price auction.
    Keywords: Auctions, Ambiguity, Consistent Planning
    Date: 2020–01
  24. By: Eugen Dimant (University of Pennsylvania); Kyle Hyndman (University of Texas Dallas)
    Abstract: We study the interaction between competition and social proximity on altruism, trust, and reciprocity. We decompose the behavioral channels by utilizing variants of both the Trust Game and the Dictator Game in a design that systematically controls the transmission of relevant information. Our results suggest that competitive environments, and in particular the outcomes thereof when competitors are socially proximate, affect social preferences. Within the context of the Trust Game, we find that winning makes individuals more trusting, less reciprocal, and less altruistic. In order to decompose the underlying mechanism of decision-makers, we subsequently use the Dictator Game and find that knowledge about winning the competition decreases giving, especially with increased proximity between competitors. From this we can conclude that the observed increase in trust is guided by self-serving concerns to maximize the total pie rather than altruistic concerns to compensate the competitor who lost the competition. Our results provide helpful insights into the structure of incentives within institutions and companies, which is known to affect performance.
    Keywords: Altruism, Competition, Reciprocity, Social Proximity, Trust
    Date: 2019
  25. By: Donovan, Kevin P. (University of Michigan)
    Abstract: In recent years, the use of experimental methodologies has emerged as a central means of evaluating international aid interventions. Today, proponents of randomized control trials (so-called randomistas) are among the most influential of development experts. This article examines the growth of this thought collective, analysing how uncertainty has become a central concern of development institutions. It demonstrates that transformations within the aid industry – including the influence of evidence-based policy, the economization of development, and the retreat from macro-planning – created the conditions of possibility for experimentation. Within this field, the randomistas adeptly pursued a variety of rhetorical, affective, methodological, and organizational strategies that emphasized the lack of credible knowledge within aid and the ability of experiments to rectify the situation. Importantly, they have insisted on the moral worth of experimentation; indeed, the experimental ethic has been proposed as the way to change the spirit of development. Through causal certitude, they propose to reduce human suffering. The rise of experimentation has not, however, eliminated accusations of uncertainty; rather, it has redistributed the means through which knowledge about development is considered credible.
    Date: 2018–03–20
  26. By: Peyton, Kyle (Yale University); Solnick, Rachel
    Abstract: A recent randomized trial claims to provide evidence supporting the safety of omitting pelvic examinations for women with confirmed intrauterine pregnancies. In light of previous studies questioning the utility of the pelvic exam, this trial addresses a critical question for patients with threatened abortion. We identify methodological issues that raise questions about whether emergency clinicians can make reliable inferences from this study.
    Date: 2018–04–21
  27. By: Tomas Kucera (Czech National Bank, Na prikope 28, 115 03 Prague 1, Czech Republic)
    Abstract: Cognitive biases distort judgement and adversely impact decision-making, which results in economic inefficiencies. Initial attempts to mitigate these biases met with little success. However, recent studies which used computer games and educational videos to train people to avoid biases (Clegg et al., 2014; Morewedge et al., 2015) showed that this form of training reduced selected cognitive biases by 30 %. In this work I report results of an experiment which investigated the debiasing effects of training on confirmation bias. The debiasing training took the form of a short video which contained information about confirmation bias, its impact on judgement, and mitigation strategies. The results show that participants exhibited confirmation bias both in the selection and processing of information, and that debiasing training effectively decreased the level of confirmation bias by 33 % at the 5% significance level.
    Keywords: Behavioural economics, cognitive bias, confirmation bias, cognitive bias mitigation, confirmation bias mitigation, debiasing
    JEL: D03 D81 Y80
    Date: 2020–01
  28. By: Franz Dietrich (CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Kai Spiekermann (LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science)
    Abstract: Social epistemology studies knowledge in social contexts. Knowledge is 'social' when its holder communicates with or learns from others (Epistemology in groups), or when its holder is a group as a whole, literally or metaphorically (Epistemology of groups). Group knowledge can emerge explicitly, through aggregation procedures like voting, or implicitly, through institutions like deliberation or prediction markets. In the truth-tracking paradigm, group beliefs aim at truth, and group decisions at 'correctness', in virtue of external facts that are empirical or normative, real or constructed, universal or relativistic, etc. Procedures and institutions are evaluated by epistemic performance: Are they truth-conducive? Do groups become 'wiser' than their members? We review several procedures and institutions, discussing epistemic successes and failures. Jury theorems provide formal arguments for epistemic success. Some jury theorems misleadingly conclude that 'huge groups are infallible', an artifact of inappropriate premises. Others have defensible premises, and still conclude that groups outperform individuals, without being infallible.
    Date: 2020
  29. By: Kristina Czura; Andreas Menzel; Martina Miotto
    Abstract: We conducted a randomised controlled trial (RCT) on a sample of 1,000 female garment workers in three factories in Bangladesh, offering access to free sanitary pads at work to 500 of the workers. We cross-randomised participation in information sessions for hygienic menstrual health care implemented by an experienced local NGO, and we vary the salience of commonly perceived taboos in the pad collection process. We find effects of the free pads and information sessions on self-reported pad use, but not of the taboo variations. We find effects on absenteeism and adherence to traditional restrictive and health-adverse taboos surrounding menstruation, but not on worker turnover or self-reported well-being at work. PRELIMINARY VERSION: The trial is currently being repeated between September 2019 and April 2020, with an additional 1,000 workers to reach the final targeted sample size.literature.
    Keywords: menstrual health; taboos; productivity; export manufacturing;
    JEL: O14 O15 O35 M54 J32 J81
    Date: 2019–12

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