nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2020‒02‒10
24 papers chosen by

  1. How the auction design influences procurement prices: An experiment By Ehrhart, Karl-Martin; Ott, Marion
  2. Complementarities in Behavioral Interventions: Evidence from a Field Experiment on Energy Conservation By Ximeng Fang; Lorenz Goette; Bettina Rockenbach; Matthias Sutter; Verena Tiefenbeck; Samuel Schoeb; Thorsten Staake
  3. Student Performance and Loss Aversion By Heiko Karle; Dirk Engelmann; Martin Peitz
  4. Property is Dummy Proof: An Experiment By Oren Bar-Gill; Christoph Engel
  5. Know Your Neighbor: The Impact of Social Context on Fairness Behavior By Sircar, Neelanjan; Turley, Ty; van der Windt, Peter Cornelis; Voors, Maarten
  6. Behavioral Biases and Legal Compliance: A Field Experiment By Emanuel, Natalia; Ho, Helen
  7. Do Learning Communities Increase First Year College Retention? Testing Sample Selection and External Validity of Randomized Control Trials By Tarek Azzam; Michael Bates; David Fairris
  8. Fast then slow: A choice process explanation for the attraction effect By Alexia Gaudeul; Paolo Crosetto
  9. The challenges of universal health insurance in developing countries: Evidence from a large-scale randomized experiment in Indonesia By Banerjee, Abhijit; Finkelstein, Amy; Hanna, Rema; Olken, Benjamin; Rema Hanna,; Ornaghi, Arianna
  10. Field Experiments and Humanitarian Assistance By Quattrochi, John; Aker, Jenny; van der Windt, Peter Cornelis; Voors, Maarten
  11. Learning to deal with repeated shocks under strategic complementarity: An experiment By Muhammed Bulutay; Camille Cornand; Adam Zylbersztejn
  12. Tax Compliance in the RentalHousing Market: Evidence from aField Experiment By Essi Eerola; Tuomas Kosonen; Kaisa Kotakorpi; Teemu Lyytikäinen
  13. Commitment in first-price auctions By Gillen, Philippe
  14. Workplace Knowledge Flows By Jason Sandvik; Richard Saouma; Nathan Seegert; Christopher T. Stanton
  15. Do women ask for lower salaries? The supply side of the gender pay gap By Martín González Rozada; Eduardo Levy Yeyati
  16. Gender Quotas in Development Programming: Null Results from a Field Experiment in Congo By van der Windt, Peter Cornelis; Humphreys, Macartan; de la Sierra, Raul Sanchez
  17. The Editor vs. the Algorithm: Returns to Data and Externalities in Online News By Jörg Claussen; Christian Peukert; Ananya Sen
  18. A Comparison of Individual and Group Behavior in a Competition with Cheating Opportunities By Astrid Dannenberg; Elina Khachatryan
  19. On Strategic Transmission of Gradually Arriving Information By Alexander Frug
  20. Associative Memory and Belief Formation By Benjamin Enke; Frederik Schwerter; Florian Zimmermann
  21. Do Foster Care Agencies Discriminate Against Gay Couples? Evidence from a Correspondence Study By Mattie Mackenzie-Liu; David J. Schwegman; Leonard M. Lopoo
  22. The effect of reporting institutions on tax evasion:Evidence from the lab By Kaisa Kotakorpi; Satu Metsälampi; Topi Miettinen; Tuomas Nurminen
  23. Agricultural Transformation and Farmers' Expectations: Experimental Evidence from Uganda By Jacopo Bonan; Harounan Kazianga; Mariapia Mendola
  24. Can Development Aid Empower Women? Evidence from a Field Experiment in the Congo By van der Windt, Peter Cornelis

  1. By: Ehrhart, Karl-Martin; Ott, Marion
    Abstract: The targeted design of auctions has to take behavioral regularities into account. This paper explores whether procurement auction formats can take advantage of bidders' willingness-to-pay-willingness-to-accept disparity. In a laboratory experiment, we compare four different second-price auction formats for procuring a good. The four formats are a sealed-bid auction and three di erent descending-clock auctions. We assume that a bidder's willingness-to-accept exceeds his willingness-to-pay and that, depending on the auction format, a bidder's reference-state shifts such that the bidder's perspective moves from a willingness-to-accept perspective towards a willingness-to-pay perspective, thus inducing aggressive bids. In line with the prediction, auction prices decline across the four formats. In particular, we observe the lowest prices in those two clock auction formats that, at every auction stage, select a bidder as the current leading bidder. We conclude that mechanisms influence the reference state and that auctions that foster reference-state shifts lead to lower payments for the buyer. These results support and generalize findings on sales auctions. However, not all of our findings on procurement auctions mirror findings on sales auctions. Bidders overbid in sealed-bid procurement auctions, which does not mirror the commonly observed overbidding in sealed-bid sales auctions.
    Keywords: procurement auction,experiment,WTP-WTA disparity,reference-dependence
    JEL: D44 H57 D91 C92
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Ximeng Fang; Lorenz Goette; Bettina Rockenbach; Matthias Sutter; Verena Tiefenbeck; Samuel Schoeb; Thorsten Staake
    Abstract: Behavioral policy often aims at overcoming barriers like imperfect information and limited attention that contribute to suboptimal consumer decisions. When multiple barriers are present, a single intervention that does not overcome all barriers simultaneously may fail to unfold its full potential. We conduct a three-month randomized field experiment on energy conservation in a resource-intensive everyday activity, using two different interventions. Home energy reports fail to reduce energy use despite achieving significant knowledge gains; real-time feedback induces considerable conservation effects. Strikingly, combining both interventions boosts these effects by over 50%. This showcases how barrier multiplicity can generate complementarities in behavioral interventions.
    Keywords: behavioral interventions, energy conservation, inattention, real-time feedback, home energy reports, policy interactions, randomized controlled trials
    JEL: D12 D83 Q41
    Date: 2020–01
  3. By: Heiko Karle; Dirk Engelmann; Martin Peitz
    Abstract: In this paper, we match data on student performance in a multiple-choice exam with data on student risk preferences that are extracted from a classroom experiment. We find that more-loss-averse students leave more questions unanswered and perform worse in the multiple-choice exam when giving an incorrect answer is penalized compared to not answering. We provide evidence that loss aversion parameters extracted from lottery choices in a controlled experiment have predictive power in a field environment of decision making under uncertainty. Furthermore, the degree of loss aversion appears to be persistent over time, as the experiment was conducted three months prior to the exam. We also find important differences across genders; they are partly explained by differences in loss aversion.
    Keywords: loss aversion, decision making under uncertainty, multiple choice
    JEL: C91 D01 D11 D83
    Date: 2020–01
  4. By: Oren Bar-Gill (Harvard Law School); Christoph Engel (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)
    Abstract: Law is for humans. Humans suffer from cognitive limitations. Legal institutions can help humans by making these limitations irrelevant. This experiment shows that strong property rights serve this function. In theory, efficient outcomes obtain even without strong property rights. In a hypothetical world where cognitive ability is perfect, individuals would not engage in wasteful taking wars. A party would not take another’s good, if she expects that the good will ultimately be taken back. By contrast, the large majority of experimental subjects takes a token good when interacting with a computer they know to maximize profit, and that has a symmetric ability to take the good back. Experience mitigates the inefficiency, but does not eliminate it; and in the real world relevant experience is often lacking. We show that cognitive limitations prevent weak property rights – imperfectly enforced property rules and liability rules with low damages – from securing efficient outcomes. Strong property rights should be preferred, because they are dummy proof.
    Keywords: Property, Liability, Cost of Appropriation, Cognitive Limitations, Sophistication, Descriptive and Normative Beliefs
    JEL: C91 D02 D47 D61 K11
    Date: 2020–01
  5. By: Sircar, Neelanjan; Turley, Ty; van der Windt, Peter Cornelis; Voors, Maarten (Wageningen University)
    Abstract: Laboratory experiments offer an opportunity to isolate human behaviors with a level of precision that is often difficult to obtain using other (survey-based) methods. Yet, experimental tasks are often stripped of any social context, implying that inferences may not directly map to real world contexts. We randomly allocate 632 individuals (grouped randomly into 316 dyads) from small villages in Sierra Leone to four versions of the ultimatum game. In addition to the classic ultimatum game, where both the sender and receiver are anonymous, we reveal the identity of the sender, the receiver or both. This design allows us to explore how fairness behavior is affected by social context in a natural setting where players are drawn from populations that are well-acquainted. We find that average offers increase when the receiver's identity is revealed, suggesting that anonymous ultimatum games underestimate expected fair offers. This study suggest that researchers wishing to relate laboratory behavior to contexts in which the participants are well-acquainted should consider revealing the identities of the players during game play.
    Date: 2020–01–14
  6. By: Emanuel, Natalia; Ho, Helen
    Abstract: Many defendants fail to appear (FTA) for court despite the prospect of legal consequences. In a field experiment, we compare the effectiveness of text message reminders to an intervention that combines reminders with personalized assistance. The treatments are equally effective, reducing FTA by 8 percentage points from a 21 percent baseline rate. However, personalized assistance facilitates greater take-up of court accommodations such as rescheduling and payment plans. For more serious cases, the treatments reduce arrests by two percentage points, implying FTAs have a large effect on arrests. For the least serious cases, an FTA has small effects on fines.
    Date: 2020–01–20
  7. By: Tarek Azzam (UCSB); Michael Bates (Department of Economics, University of California Riverside); David Fairris (UCR)
    Abstract: Voluntary selection into experimental samples is ubiquitous and leads researchers to question the external validity of experimental findings. We introduce tests for sample selection on unobserved variables to discern the generalizability of randomized control trials. We estimate the impact of a learning community on first-year college retention using an RCT, and employ our tests in this setting. We compare observational and experimental estimates, considering the internal and external validity of both approaches. Intent-to-treat and local-average-treatment-effect estimates reveal no discernable programmatic effects, whereas observational estimates are significantly positive. The experimental sample is positively selected on unobserved characteristics suggesting limited external validity.
    Keywords: External validity, college retention, selection on unobserved variables
    JEL: C93 I23
    Date: 2019–09
  8. By: Alexia Gaudeul (Georg-August-University [Göttingen]); Paolo Crosetto (GAEL - Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquée de Grenoble - Grenoble INP - Institut polytechnique de Grenoble - Grenoble Institute of Technology - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UGA - Université Grenoble Alpes)
    Abstract: In this paper we provide choice-process experimental evidence that the attraction effect is a short-term phenomenon, that disappears when individuals are given time and incentives to revise their choices.The attraction (or decoy) effect is the most prominent example of context effects, and it appears when adding a dominated option to a choice set increases the choice share of the now dominant option at the expense of other options. While widely replicated, the attraction effect is usually tested in hypothetical or payoff-irrelevant situations and without following the choice process. We run a laboratory experiment where we incentivize choice, vary the difference in utility between options and track which option participants consider best over time. We find that the effect is a transitory phenomenon that emerges only in the early stages of the choice process to later disappear. Participants are fast then slow: they first choose the dominant option to avoid the dominated decoy and then progressively revise their choices until choice shares come to correspond to price differences only. We expand our analysis by considering differences in utility among options and differences in the presentation of options (numerical or graphical). We also consider differences in the choice processes followed by individuals (intuitive vs. deliberative). This allows us to ascribe more precisely the role of fast and slow cognitive process in the emergence and disappearance of the attraction effect.
    Keywords: asymmetric dominance,attraction effect,induced preferences,choice process,time constraint,rationality,context effects,JEL codes : C91,D12,D83
    Date: 2019–12–09
  9. By: Banerjee, Abhijit (MIT); Finkelstein, Amy (MIT); Hanna, Rema (Harvard University); Olken, Benjamin (MIT); Rema Hanna,; Ornaghi, Arianna (University of Warwick Sudarno Sumarto, TNP2K and SMERU)
    Abstract: To assess ways to achieve widespread health insurance coverage with financial solvency in developing countries, we designed a randomized experiment involving almost 6,000 households in Indonesia who are subject to a nationally mandated government health insurance program. We assessed several interventions that simple theory and prior evidence suggest could increase coverage and reduce adverse selection: substantial temporary price subsidies (which had to be activated within a limited time window and lasted for only a year), assisted registration, and information. Both temporary subsidies and assisted registration increased initial enrollment. Temporary subsidies attracted lowercost enrollees, in part by eliminating the practice observed in the no subsidy group of strategically timing coverage for a few months during health emergencies. As a result, while subsidies were in effect, they increased coverage more than eightfold, at no higher unit cost; even after the subsidies ended, coverage remained twice as high, again at no higher unit cost. However, the most intensive (and effective) intervention – assisted registration and a full one-year subsidy – resulted in only a 30 percent initial enrollment rate, underscoring the challenges to achieving widespread coverage.
    Date: 2020
  10. By: Quattrochi, John; Aker, Jenny; van der Windt, Peter Cornelis; Voors, Maarten (Wageningen University)
    Abstract: The work of Nobel Laureates Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer has centered around the use of randomized control trials to help solve development problems. To date, however, few field experiments have been undertaken to evaluate the effects of humanitarian assistance. The reasons may lie in challenges related to logistics, fragility, security and ethics that often loom large in humanitarian settings. Yet every year, billions of dollars are spent on humanitarian aid, and policymakers are in need of rigorous evidence. In this paper, we reflect on the opportunities and risks of running experiments in humanitarian settings, and provide, as illustration, insights from our experiences with recent field experiments of large-scale humanitarian aid programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
    Date: 2020–01–14
  11. By: Muhammed Bulutay (Technische Universität Berlin, Strasse des 17. Juni 135, 10623 Berlin, Germany); Camille Cornand (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France); Adam Zylbersztejn (Univ Lyon, Université Lumière Lyon 2, GATE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France)
    Abstract: Experimental evidence shows that the rational expectations hypothesis fails to characterize the path to equilibrium after an exogenous shock when actions are strategic complements. Under identical shocks, however, repetition allows adaptive learning, so that inertia in adjustment should fade away with experience. If this finding proves to be robust, inertia in adjustment may be irrelevant among experienced agents. The conjecture in the literature is that inertia would still persist, perhaps indefinitely, in the presence of real-world complications such as nonidentical shocks. Herein, we empirically test the conjecture that the inertia in adjustment is more persistent if the shocks are nonidentical. For both identical and nonidentical shocks, we find persistent inertia and similar patterns of adjustment that can be explained by backward-looking expectation rules. A reformulation of naïve expectations with similarity-based learning approach is found to have a higher predictive power than rational and trend-following rules.
    Keywords: Strategic complementarities, expectations, adjustment speed, similarity-based learning, guessing games, heuristics switching
    JEL: C72 C73 D83 D84 D91
    Date: 2020
  12. By: Essi Eerola (VATT Institute for Economic Research and CESifo); Tuomas Kosonen (Labour Institute for Economic Research and CESifo); Kaisa Kotakorpi (VATT, University of Turku and CESifo); Teemu Lyytikäinen (VATT)
    Abstract: We study rental income tax compliance using a large-scale randomizedfield experiment and register data with third-party information on theownership of apartments. We analyze the responses of potential land-lords to treatment letters notifying them of stricter tax enforcement. Wealso study spillover effects of tax enforcement within the household andbetween landlords within local rental markets. We find an increase inreported income after an enforcement letter is sent to landlords. We alsofind positive reporting spillovers between spouses, as well as betweenlandlords in a subgroup of more likely evaders.
    Keywords: tax compliance, tax enforcement, field experiment, rental housing markets
    JEL: H26 H83 R31
    Date: 2019–05
  13. By: Gillen, Philippe
    Abstract: We study the role of commitment in a first-price auction environment. We devise a simple two-stage model in which bidders first submit an initial offer that the auctioneer can observe and then make a counteroffer. There is no commitment on the auctioneer's side to accept an offer as is or even to choose the lowest bidder. We compare this setting to a standard first-price auction both theoretically and experimentally. While theory suggests that the offers and the auctioneer's revenue should be higher in a standard first-price auction compared to the first-price auction with renegotiation, we cannot confirm these hypotheses in the experiment.
    Keywords: Auctions,Experiment
    JEL: D44 D47
    Date: 2019
  14. By: Jason Sandvik; Richard Saouma; Nathan Seegert; Christopher T. Stanton
    Abstract: What prevents the spread of information among coworkers, and which management practices facilitate workplace knowledge flows? We conducted a field experiment in a sales company, addressing these questions with three active treatments. (1) Encouraging workers to talk about their sales techniques with a randomly chosen partner during short meetings substantially lifted average sales revenue during and after the experiment. The largest gains occurred for those matched with high-performing coworkers. (2) Worker-pairs given incentives to increase joint output increased sales during the experiment but not afterward. (3) Worker-pairs given both treatments had little improvement above the meetings treatment alone. Managerial interventions providing structured opportunities for workers to initiate conversations with peers resulted in knowledge exchange; incentives based on joint output gains were neither necessary nor sufficient for knowledge transmission.
    JEL: J24 L23 M12 M5 M52 M53 M54
    Date: 2020–01
  15. By: Martín González Rozada; Eduardo Levy Yeyati
    Abstract: The gender gap usually denotes observable differences between men and women that are influenced by the social environment. In the workplace, it refers to systematic differences in job opportunities and salaries (controlling for the characteristics of the job and the employee). Statistics have shown that men often earn more for the same work than women, a difference that may reflect that men work more hours (an aspect compounded by the fact that they work highly-paid overtime) or tend to work relatively more in high-pay activities (horizontal gap), to prevail in top positions within a company (vertical gap), or to be offered lower pay for the same work. Most of these analyses are based on outcomes (actual wages being paid), as it is usually assumed that the gap is driven by a demand bias: for a number or reasons, a male society is willing to pay less for a woman than for a man doing the same task. But is it not possible that the gender gap is already embedded in the labor supply? To what extent the gender pay gap reflects an “ask gap”? More specifically: do women ask for less, for the same exact job? Many factors can determine gender-driven differences in labor supply. For starters, men and women may exhibit gender differences in preferences or self-assessments regarding specific occupational choices. Cortes & Pan (2017) based on features described in the BLS’s Occupational Information Network (or O*NET), document that the female-to-male-ratio (FMR) increases for occupations in a softer competitive environment, exhibiting a larger social contribution, or enjoying greater flexibility and a lower intensity in physical effort; and that more competitive and inflexible environments are associated with a larger gender gap. Kleinjans, Krassel & Dukes (2017) argue that women display a preference for jobs with “occupational prestige” and high social standing (at the expense of a lower wage). Finally, Correll (2001) reports that occupational choices are gender determined: males are perceived (by males and females) as better equipped for math (despite weak supporting empirical evidence in this regard), which in turn may determine performance self-assessment and, ultimately, occupational choices. In addition, it has been pointed out that women prefer to work in female-friendly environments. For example, Lordan and Pischke (2016) find a strong positive relationship between female satisfaction and the female-to-male-ratio, both in the occupation and in the firm, while males either like or are indifferent to the share of males in an occupation. Barbulescu and Bidwell (2013) find that women prefer jobs with better anticipated work-life balance and lower identification with stereotypically masculine jobs, which results in lower expectations of job offer success in male dominated jobs. Another aspect highlighted by the literature relates to women´s relative propensity to wage bargain. On this front, the evidence is mixed. Early studies find that women are less likely than men to initiate negotiations (Babcock & Laschever 2003; Babcock et al 2007), and experimental research has shown that women choose competitive pay-offs to a lesser extent than men (as Datta Gupta et al, 2006 suggests, because of higher risk aversion; see also Niederle & Vesterlund, 2005). However, Artz, Goodhall & Oswald (2016) finds no evidence that women are less prone to requesting wage raises than men, while Kaschner, Kugler, Reif & Brodbeck (2013), based on a meta-analysis of 24 studies that explore gender differences related to wage negotiations, conclude that women have a lower, albeit minor, propensity to negotiate, and Freund, Hüffmeier, Mazei & Stuhlmacher (2014), in another meta-analysis of 51 studies of negotiation outcomes, find that men tend to reach better economic outcomes than women but the difference narrows for women with negotiation experience, or when negotiation ranges are explicitly communicated (a result also reported by Leibbrandt & List (2012). Existing studies on the supply-side determinants of the gender gap based quantitative data on actual asked wages are relatively scarce and yield mixed results. Based on survey where recent social science graduates in Sweden are asked to report their respective bids “for the initial job they got in their field of major”, Save-Soderbergh (2007) finds that women “consistently submit lower wage bids than men do” (due to “lack of incentives to safe promote”). Alternatively, Galperin, Cruces and Greppi (2017), based on a field experiment where 2800 frelancers were asked to apply for a job using an online platform for short-term contracts in Spain (Nubelo), find that “women don´t ask for less”.
    Date: 2018–07
  16. By: van der Windt, Peter Cornelis; Humphreys, Macartan; de la Sierra, Raul Sanchez
    Abstract: We examine whether gender quotas introduced by development agencies empower women. As part of a development program, an international organization created community management committees in 661 villages to oversee village level program expenditures. In a randomly selected half of these villages the organization required the committees to have gender parity. Using data on project choice from all participating villages, data on decision making in a later development project (105 villages), and data on citizen attitudes (200 villages), we find no evidence that gender parity requirements empower women. We discuss potential reasons for the null result, including weakness of these social interventions in terms of the engagement they generate, their time horizon, and the weak delegation of responsibilities.
    Date: 2020–01–14
  17. By: Jörg Claussen; Christian Peukert; Ananya Sen
    Abstract: We run a field experiment to quantify the economic returns to data and informational ex-ternalities associated with algorithmic recommendation relative to human curation in the context of online news. Our results show that personalized recommendation can outperform human curation in terms of user engagement, though this crucially depends on the amount of personal data. Limited individual data or breaking news leads the editor to outperform the algorithm. Additional data helps algorithmic performance but diminishing economic returns set in rapidly. Investigating informational externalities highlights that personalized recommendation reduces consumption diversity. Moreover, users associated with lower levels of digital literacy and more extreme political views engage more with algorithmic recommendations.
    Keywords: field experiment, economics of AI, returns to data, filter bubbles
    JEL: L82 L51 J24
    Date: 2019
  18. By: Astrid Dannenberg (University of Kassel); Elina Khachatryan (University of Kassel)
    Abstract: While it is well established that individuals and groups make different economic decisions, the reasons for the behavioral differences are still not fully understood. We experimentally compare individual and group behavior in a competitive setting where cheating can be used to outperform the competitor. Our design allows us to exogenously control for the type of the decision maker, the type of the competitor, and expectations about the competitor’s performance. The results show that there is much more cheating in inter-group competition than inter-individual competition which is in line with findings from other interactive games. We show furthermore that this difference is not caused by a higher propensity to cheat of groups per se, but instead by expectations about the competitor. Once we control for the type of the competitor and the decision makers’ expectations, we no longer find differences between individuals and groups.
    Keywords: individual behavior; group behavior; lying; honesty; competition
    JEL: C91 D63 H26
    Date: 2020
  19. By: Alexander Frug
    Abstract: The main insight of the literature on strategic information transmission is that even a small conflict of interest between a fully informed sender (e.g., a financial adviser) and an uninformed receiver (an investor) often poses considerable difficulties for effective communication. However, in many real-life situations, the sender is not fully informed at the outset but gradually studies the case before offering advice. The gradual arrival of information to the sender weakens the strategic barriers between the players and significantly improves communication.
    Keywords: gradual learning, cheap talk
    JEL: D82 D83
    Date: 2020–01
  20. By: Benjamin Enke; Frederik Schwerter; Florian Zimmermann
    Abstract: Information is often embedded in memorable contexts, which may cue the asymmetric recall of similar past news through associative memory. We design a theory-driven experiment, in which participants observe signals about hypothetical companies. Here, identical signal realizations are communicated with identical contexts: stories and images. Because participants asymmetrically remember those past signals that get cued by the current context, beliefs systematically overreact. This overreaction depends in predictable ways on the signal history; the correlation between signals and contexts; and the scope for forgetting and associative memory. We quantify these results by structurally estimating a model of associative recall.
    JEL: D03
    Date: 2020–01
  21. By: Mattie Mackenzie-Liu (Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University, 426 Eggers Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244); David J. Schwegman (Department of Economics and Center for Policy Research, 127 eggers Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-1020); Leonard M. Lopoo (Department of Economics and Center for Policy Research, 127 eggers Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-1020)
    Abstract: There has been considerable recent debate regarding proposed policies that would allow foster care administrators to discriminate on the basis of the sexual orientation of the foster parent. To date, however, we know very little about the level of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the foster care system. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first empirical investigation to ask whether foster care agencies, the public and nonprofit firms that facilitate foster care placements, respond similarly to emails sent by fictitious same-sex and heterosexual couples who inquire about becoming foster parents. Our results suggest that while foster care agencies respond at somewhat similar rates to gay male couples, gay female couples and heterosexual couples, responses sent to gay males are of lower quality. Gay males receive much shorter responses that take longer to receive. Responses to gay male couples are also less likely to include key pieces of information about the process of becoming a foster parent, such as information about informational sessions or being given an application. We do not find any evidence of differential treatment towards same-sex female couples.
    Keywords: Child Welfare, Foster Care, LGBTQ, Discrimination, Field Experiment
    JEL: C93 H75 I38
    Date: 2020–01
  22. By: Kaisa Kotakorpi (VATT, Tampere University); Satu Metsälampi (University of Turku); Topi Miettinen (Hanken School of Economics); Tuomas Nurminen (Hanken School of Economics)
    Abstract: We study the effects of different tax reporting mechanisms in experi-mental double auction markets in the laboratory. The sales tax is paidby the seller, and we compare market outcomes in a no-tax conditionto cases where (i) tax evasion is impossible, (ii) taxes can be evaded butthere is an exogenous (low) audit probability, or (iii) there is double-reporting by both the buyer and the seller, and the seller’s audit prob-ability is endogenously increased if her tax report is inconsistent withthe buyer’s report. The latter case mimics the use of so called third-party reporting in tax enforcement. We find that third-party reportingeffectively deters evasion, and deterrence also has real effects on mar-ket outcomes: market clearing prices, quantities and overall efficiencyreturn to the levels observed when tax evasion was impossible. Whenreporting is costly to buyers, they report significantly less trades. Taxcompliance by sellers however remains at a relatively high level, eventhough payoffs would be maximized for both parties if no trades werereported. This suggests that the mere possibility of the existence ofthird party information may be a fairly effective deterrent on tax eva-sion, and tax administrators might consider making their informationsources more widely publicized.
    Keywords: Tax Evasion, Tax Incidence, Third-Party Reporting, Double Auction, Experiment
    JEL: H21 H22 H26 D40 D44 D91
    Date: 2019–05
  23. By: Jacopo Bonan (Politecnico di Milano); Harounan Kazianga (Oklahoma State University); Mariapia Mendola (Università Milano Bicocca)
    Abstract: Adoption rate of profitable agricultural technologies in Africa remains low and variations in adoption choices across farmers are yet to be fully understood. This paper studies Ugandan subsistence smallholders’ decisions to adopt profitable cash crops (oilseeds) that can allow them to transition to commercial farming. More specifically, we exploit the randomized roll-out of a national extension service program in order to investigate the role of farmers’ expectations in crop take–up decisions as well as the extent to which ex-ante beliefs about crop profitability explain adoption. We find that, randomly assigned extension services lead to an increase of oilseeds adoption by 15%, and farmers who under-estimate the oilseeds price at baseline are the most likely to adopt new crops. By testing how farmers update their beliefs after being randomly provided with extension services, our results point towards changes in expectations as an important driver of agricultural technology take-up.
    Keywords: Technology Adoption; Commercial Farming; Randomized Controlled Trial; Uganda
    JEL: O13 O33 Q14 Q15 Q16
    Date: 2019–12–23
  24. By: van der Windt, Peter Cornelis
    Abstract: Can development aid empower women? We randomly assigned 1,250 Congolese communities to a development program that distributed development funds and included women in project selection and implementation, with the goal of empowering women. In 2010 and 2011, we revisited 816 treatment and control communities to collect survey data. Furthermore, in 413 communities we implemented a $1,000 unconditional cash transfer program to assess behavioral change. We find only weak evidence that the program influenced the role of women in the community and policy outcomes and no evidence that the program had an impact on the role of women within the household or attitudes toward them.
    Date: 2020–01–14

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