nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2020‒03‒02
28 papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. What do lab experiments tell us about the real world? The case of lotteries with extreme payoffs By Raman Kachurka; Michał Krawczyk; Joanna Rachubik
  2. Cooperation in a Fragmented Society: Experimental Evidence on Syrian Refugees and Natives in Lebanon By Michalis Drouvelis; Bilal Malaeb; Michael Vlassopoulos; Jackline Wahba
  3. Alcohol and Violence: A Field Experiment with Bartenders in Bogotá,Colombia By Andrés Ham; Darío Maldonado; Michael Weintraub; Andrés Felipe Camacho; Daniela Gualtero
  4. Do just deserts and competition shape patterns of cheating? By Grundmann, Susanna
  5. Ambiguity and Excuse-Driven Behavior in Charitable Giving By Garcia, Thomas; Massoni, Sebastien; Villeval, Marie Claire
  6. Cheap-talk Communication in Procurement Auctions: Theory and Experiment By Sander Onderstal; Yang Yang
  7. On the downward rigidity of wages: Evidence from an experimental labour market with monetary neutrality By Grundmann, Susanna; Giamattei, Marcus; Graf Lambsdorff, Johann
  8. Cognitive abilities and risk taking: the role of preferences By Michalis Drouvelis; Johannes Lohse
  9. Measuring Preferences for Competition with Experimentally-Validated Survey Questions By Fallucchi, Francesco; Nosenzo, Daniele; Reuben, Ernesto
  10. Reducing Hunger with Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) : Experimental Evidence from Burkina Faso By Adjognon,Guigonan Serge; van Soest,Daan; Guthoff,Jonas Christoph
  11. State Coercion and Control Aversion: Evidence from an Internet Study in East and West Germany By Katrin Schmelz; Anthony Ziegelmeyer
  12. Volunteering at the Workplace under Incomplete Information: Teamsize Does Not Matter By Adrian Hillenbrand; Tobias Werner; Fabian Winter
  13. Does political pressure on ‘gender’ engender danger for scientific research? Evidence from a randomized controlled trial By Tunde Lenard; Daniel Horn; Hubert János Kiss
  14. Experimental Design in Two-Sided Platforms: An Analysis of Bias By Ramesh Johari; Hannah Li; Gabriel Weintraub
  15. Trust and trustworthiness after a land restitution program: Lab-in-the-field evidence from Colombia By Francesco Bogliacino; Gianluca Grimalda; Laura JimeÌ nez; Daniel Reyes Galvis; Cristiano Codagnone
  16. Minority Protection in Voting Mechanisms - Experimental Evidence By Dirk Engelmann; Hans Peter Gruener; Timo Hoffmann; Alex Possajennikov
  17. Gender, information and the efficiency of households' productive decisions: An experiment in rural Togo By Marie Apedo-Amah; Habiba Djebbari; Roberta Ziparo
  18. The Attraction and Compromise Effects in Bargaining: Experimental Evidence By Fabio Galeotti; Maria Montero; Anders Poulsen
  19. The Entertaining Way to Behavioral Change : Fighting HIV with MTV By Banerjee,Abhijit; La Ferrara,Eliana; Orozco Olvera,Victor Hugo
  20. Targeting Inputs: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania By Gine,Xavier; Barboza Ribeiro,Bernardo; Valley,Ildrim
  21. The Allocation of Authority in Organizations: A Field Experiment with Bureaucrats By Oriana Bandiera; Michael Carlos Best; Adnan Qadir Khan; Andrea Prat
  22. The Breakdown of Anti-Racist Norms: A Natural Experiment on Normative Uncertainty after Terrorist Attacks By Amalia Álvarez-Benjumea; Fabian Winter
  23. Recent or Free? An Experimental Study of the Motivations for Pirating Movies By Marc Bourreau; Marianne Lumeau; Francois Moreau; Jordana Viotto da Cruz
  24. Stability and Evolution of Preferences for Improved Cookstoves -- A Difference-in-Difference Analysis of a Choice Experiment from Ethiopia By Dissanayake,Sahan T. M.; Voigt,George; Cooper, Abbie; Beyene, Abebe Damte; Bluffstone,Randall; Gebreegziabher,Zenebe; LaFave, Daniel; Martinsson,Peter; Mekonnen,Alemu; Toman,Michael A.
  25. Not Playing Favorites: An Experiment on Parental Fairness Preferences By James Berry; Rebecca Dizon-Ross; Maulik Jagnani
  26. Debiasing preferences over redistribution: An experiment By Christian Thoeni; Bruno Deffains; Romain Espinosa
  27. Social Groups and the Effectiveness of Protests By Marco Battaglini; Rebecca B. Morton; Eleonora Patacchini
  28. The Economic Consequences of Increasing Sleep Among the Urban Poor By Pedro Bessone; Gautam Rao; Frank Schilbach; Heather Schofield; Mattie Toma

  1. By: Raman Kachurka (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw); Michał Krawczyk (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw); Joanna Rachubik (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw)
    Abstract: In this study, we conduct a laboratory experiment in which the subjects make choices between real-world lottery tickets typically purchased by lottery customers. In this way, we are able to reliably offer extremely high potential payoffs, something rarely possible in economic experiments. In a between-subject design, we separately manipulate a number of features that distinguish the situation faced by the customers in the field and by subjects in typical laboratory experiments. We also have the unique opportunity to compare our data to actual sales data provided by the operator of the lottery. Overall, we find the distributions to be highly similar (meaning high external validity of the laboratory experiment). The only manipulation that makes a major difference is that when the probabilities of winning specific amounts are explicitly provided (which is not the case in the field), choices shift towards options with lower payoff variance. We also find that standard laboratory measures of risk posture fail to explain our subjects’ behavior in the main task.
    Keywords: Decision making under risk, External validity, Longshot bias, Perception of randomness, Number preferences in lotteries
    JEL: C91 D01 D81 D83 D91
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Michalis Drouvelis; Bilal Malaeb; Michael Vlassopoulos; Jackline Wahba
    Abstract: Lebanon is the country with the highest density of refugees in the world, raising the question of whether the host and refugee populations can cooperate harmoniously. We conduct a lab-in-the-field experiment in Lebanon studying intra- and inter-group behavior of Syrian refugees and Lebanese nationals in a repeated public good game without and with punishment. We find that homogeneous groups, on average, contribute and punish significantly more than mixed groups. These patterns are driven by the Lebanese participants. Our findings suggest that it is equally important to provide adequate help to the host communities to alleviate any economic and social pressures.
    Keywords: refugees, public good game, cooperation, punishment
    JEL: D91 J50 F22
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Andrés Ham; Darío Maldonado; Michael Weintraub; Andrés Felipe Camacho; Daniela Gualtero
    Abstract: This paper studies whether bartenders that adopt standardized practices can promote responsible alcohol consumption and subsequently reduce alcohol-attributable violence. We conduct a randomized experiment in four localities of Bogotá in cooperation with Colombia’s largest brewery and Bogota’s Secretariat of Security, Coexistence, and Justice. Our design allows estimating direct and spillover effects on reported incidents within and around bars. Results show that bartenders in treatment locations sell more water and food, thus contributing to more responsible alcohol consumption by patrons. We find no direct or spillover effects of these changes in consumption on brawls, but some improvement on other alcohol-related incidents. ***** Este trabajo estudia el rol que tienen los tenderos de barrio para promover el consumo responsable de alcohol y analiza si el consumo responsable reduce las riñas dentro y alrededor de tiendas. Este estudio presenta la evaluación experimental del programa “Buenos Tragos” en cuatro localidades de Bogotá. El diseño experimental permite estimar efectos directos e indirectos sobre reportes de riñas y otros incidentes dentro y alrededor de las tiendas de barrio. Los resultados indican que el programa Buenos Tragos hace que los tenderos vendan mas agua y comida, por lo cual sí logran fomentar el consumo responsable entre sus clientes. Sin embargo, no encontramos efectos directos o indirectos del programa sobre riñas, pero si reducciones en otros incidentes relacionados con el alcohol como embriaguez y alteración del orden publico.
    Keywords: Alcohol, bartenders, brawls, alcohol-related violence, crime. Alcohol, tenderos, rinas, violencia relacionada al alcohol, crimen.
    JEL: C93 D90 I10 K42 O12
    Date: 2019–10–17
  4. By: Grundmann, Susanna
    Abstract: Previous research has shown that people accept inequalities resulting from differences in performance but aim at reducing those resulting from differences in luck, corresponding to the fairness principle of just deserts. But will just deserts also intrinsically prevent people from cheating for their personal gain in a situation in which cheating can be disguised? And will competitive pressure crowd-out such an intrinsic motivation? I investigate these questions in a lab experiment based on Grundmann and Lambsdorff (2017). Subjects earn income and report a tax rate, which they determine by rolling a die under a cup, creating an incentive to cheat. Treatments vary whether the size of income is based on performance or luck and whether there is competition for a high income. In the luck treatments, just deserts would imply that subjects aim at reducing inequalities, such that cheating should decrease with income. If income is based on performance, the opposite should be true. The results show that cheating increases with income in the performance and the luck treatments, such that lucky subjects as well as high performers do not aim at reducing inequality. Just deserts thus do not intrinsically prevent subjects from cheating for their personal gain. Competition has no systematic effect on cheating.
    Keywords: cheating,tax morale,laboratory experiment,income,real-effort task,distributive justice,just deserts,competition
    JEL: H26 C91
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Garcia, Thomas (GATE, University of Lyon); Massoni, Sebastien (University of Lorraine); Villeval, Marie Claire (CNRS, GATE)
    Abstract: A donation may have ambiguous costs or ambiguous benefits. Behavior in a laboratory experiment suggests that individuals use this ambiguity strategically as a moral wiggle room to act less generously without feeling guilty. Such excuse-driven behavior is more pronounced when the costs of a donation – rather than its benefits – are ambiguous. However, the importance of excuse-driven behavior is comparable under ambiguity and under risk. Individuals exploit any type of uncertainty as an excuse not to give, regardless of the nature of this uncertainty.
    Keywords: ambiguity, excuse-driven behavior, charitable giving, social preferences, experiment
    JEL: C91 D64 D81
    Date: 2019–12
  6. By: Sander Onderstal (University of Amsterdam); Yang Yang (Sun Yat-Sen University)
    Abstract: In procurement auctions, bidders are usually better informed about technical, financial, or legal aspects of the goods and services procured. Therefore, the buyer may include a dialogue in the procurement procedure which enables the suppliers to reveal information that will help the buyer to better specify the terms of the contract. This paper addresses the question of the value added of letting the sourcing process consist of both an auction and a negotiation stage, theoretically and in a laboratory experiment. Our theoretical results suggest that in a setting where the buyer and the suppliers have aligned interests regarding the terms of the contract, allowing the winning supplier to communicate with the buyer after the auction is beneficial to the buyer compared to no communication and ex-ante communication. In a setting where the buyer and the winning supplier have misaligned interests regarding the terms, the buyer benefits from ex-ante communication relative to no communication and ex-post communication. Our experimental data provide strong evidence for the predictions in the aligned-interest setting. In the misaligned-interest setting, we do not observe significant differences between the three mechanisms. Our experimental findings offer several managerial implications for the appropriate design of sourcing processes.
    Keywords: Procurement auctions, bidding, cheap-talk communication, negotiations, game theory, experimental economics
    JEL: C92 D44 D82
    Date: 2020–02–22
  7. By: Grundmann, Susanna; Giamattei, Marcus; Graf Lambsdorff, Johann
    Abstract: We run a gift-exchange experiment under conditions of monetary neutrality: aggregate changes in nominal wages leave aggregate real wages unchanged. To achieve this, an employee's real wage is determined by the nominal wage divided by the price level (the average wages paid to others). Recent evidence (Grundmann, Giamattei and Lambsdorff 2019) shows that under these conditions, employees value the employers' intentions in setting nominal wages such that aggregate effort increases in response to increased aggregate nominal wages. We investigate whether this violation of the classical dichotomy leads to downward nominal wage rigidity and whether the violation can be exploited by policy makers. To do this, we implement an exogenous monetary policy shock after the first half of the experiment. Treatments UP and DOWN vary the direction of the shock. We hypothesize, first, that nominal wages exhibit downward rigidity because employers fear that a downward adjustment of the nominal wage would signal bad intentions, and second, that wages are upwardly flexible. We find that employers adjust wages flexibly upward and even excessively downward, while employees do not vary effort in response to the negative shock and reduce effort in response to the positive shock. We discuss possible reasons for these unexpected results as well as implications for our experimental design.
    Keywords: gift-exchange game,nominal wage rigidity,monetary neutrality,laboratory experiment,Phillips-curve
    JEL: C92 E31
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Michalis Drouvelis (University of Birmingham); Johannes Lohse (University of Birmingham)
    Abstract: A growing literature in economics suggests that cognitive abilities and risk preferences could be related. However, since neither risk preferences nor cognitive abilities can be observed directly, it is unclear whether measured associations point towards a true relationship or instead result from systematic measurement errors. Previous studies, which have raised this concern, only test this proposition indirectly. In this paper, we complement their approach by providing a direct test that sheds light on the existence and direction of a link between risk preferences and cognitive abilities once systematic measurement errors are taken into account. Using a lab experiment that employs a repeated choice design, we give participants the opportunity to revise an initial choice made in a simple lottery task. We measure cognitive abilities via the cognitive reflection task and affect individuals' access to cognitive resources by exogenously varying their cognitive load across treatments. Our results provide evidence that cognitive abilities remain strongly correlated with risk preferences after errors are controlled for.
    Keywords: cognitive abilities, risk preferences, repeated choice design, experiment
    JEL: C90 D81 D91
    Date: 2020–02
  9. By: Fallucchi, Francesco (LISER); Nosenzo, Daniele (University of Nottingham); Reuben, Ernesto (New York University, Abu Dhabi)
    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
    JEL: C91 D90 D91
    Date: 2019–12
  10. By: Adjognon,Guigonan Serge; van Soest,Daan; Guthoff,Jonas Christoph
    Abstract: Does financial compensation for providing environmental conservation, improve the food security of the rural poor in the drylands of Sub-Saharan Africa? This paper explores this question using data from a randomized controlled trial of a large scale reforestation implemented by the Government of Burkina Faso. Members of communities located around selected protected forests were invited to plant indigenous tree species on degraded areas, and to take care of their maintenance. The financial compensation they would receive depended on the number of trees still alive a year later. The vast majority of the community members participating in the project were farmers, and the timing of the payments coincided with the lean season, when most farmers were at risk of food insecurity. Compared with the control group, the project's participants'households reported 12 percent higher food consumption expenditures, and a reduction in moderate and severe food insecurity by 35 percent to 60 percent. The transfers received were spent mostly on cereals, meat, and pulses, with no evidence of increased consumption of temptation goods.
    Date: 2019–08–12
  11. By: Katrin Schmelz; Anthony Ziegelmeyer
    Abstract: Do politico-economic systems influence how control affects motivation? We hypothesize that control aversion has evolved less under the coercive regime of East Germany than under the liberal regime of West Germany. We test this hypothesis in a large-scale internet experiment with subjects of different generations. The core of our study is a repeated principal-agent game where the principal can control the agent by implementing a minimal effort requirement before the agent chooses an effort costly to her but beneficial to the principal. In this setting, control aversion is captured by crowding-out of intrinsic motivation due to enforcement. We find that overall, control aversion is stronger among West than among East Germans. These differences converge quickly over generations as they are significant only for older Germans who differ in their regime experience, but not for younger ones who essentially grew up in reunified Germany. We conclude that control-related preferences are deeply affected by direct exposure to a politico-economic system, while they are hardly transmitted to younger generations.
    Keywords: institutions, culture, intrinsic motivation, control aversion, crowding-out, hidden costs of control, online experiment
    Date: 2020
  12. By: Adrian Hillenbrand (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods); Tobias Werner; Fabian Winter (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)
    Abstract: Volunteering is a widespread allocation mechanism at the workplace and emerges naturally in open-source software development, the generation of online knowledge platforms, and to some extent in “agile” work environments. Using a field experiment with 8 treatments and close to 2,800 workers on an online labor market, we study the effect of team size on volunteering at the workplace under incomplete information. In stark contrast to the theoretical predictions, we find no effect of team size on volunteering behavior. With the use of our control treatments, we can show that workers react to free-riding incentives provided by the volunteering setting in general, but do not react strategically to the team size. We show that the result is robust to several further factors.
    Date: 2020–02
  13. By: Tunde Lenard (Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies); Daniel Horn (Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies and Eötvös Loránd University); Hubert János Kiss (Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies and Eötvös Loránd University)
    Abstract: We detect a significant negative effect of mentioning ‘gender’ as a research topic on conducting academic research in Hungary. Using a randomized information treatment involving a comprehensive sample of Hungarian educationproviders we find that they are less willing to cooperate in a gender related future research compared to a research without this specification. Our results also indicate that this negative sentiment is clearly against gender and not against any topic covering social inequalities in general.
    Keywords: Randomized experiment, Gender, Information treatment
    JEL: C90 C93 H39 I28 J16
    Date: 2020–01
  14. By: Ramesh Johari; Hannah Li; Gabriel Weintraub
    Abstract: We develop an analytical framework to study experimental design in two-sided platforms. In the settings we consider, customers rent listings; rented listings are occupied for some amount of time, then become available. Platforms typically use two common designs to study interventions in such settings: customer-side randomization (CR), and listing-side randomization (LR), along with associated estimators. We develop a stochastic model and associated mean field limit to capture dynamics in such systems, and use our model to investigate how performance of these estimators is affected by interference effects between listings and between customers. Good experimental design depends on market balance: we show that in highly demand-constrained markets, CR is unbiased, while LR is biased; conversely, in highly supply-constrained markets, LR is unbiased, while CR is biased. We also study a design based on two-sided randomization (TSR) where both customers and listings are randomized to treatment and control, and show that appropriate choices of such designs can be unbiased in both extremes of market balance, and also yield low bias in intermediate regimes of market balance.
    Date: 2020–02
  15. By: Francesco Bogliacino (Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Centro de Investigaciones para el Desarrollo, Carrera 30, No 45-03, BogotaÌ , Bloque 311, Oficina 12b, 3165000 ext. 12431); Gianluca Grimalda (Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Centre for Global Cooperation Research); Laura JimeÌ nez (Universidad Nacional de Colombia); Daniel Reyes Galvis (Universidad Nacional de Colombia); Cristiano Codagnone (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya; UniversitaÌ€ degli Studi di Milano)
    Abstract: We assess the impact of a governmental program to compensate victims of forced displacement on pro-social behavior. All our subjects were eligible to apply for restitution of their land in accordance with the "Bill of Victims" (Ley de ViÌ ctimas, Bill 1448/2011). The key independent variable of our analysis is whether a subject had obtained land within this or similar programs. Our dependent variables are a subject's trust and trustworthiness to unknown others, as measured by a modified version of a Trust Game. We focus on interpersonal trust and trustworthiness because of their well-documented positive effect on economic development. Our design also included a treatment in which subjects voted on their most preferred outcomes in the Trust Game, because we wanted to understand whether forms of consultative democracy could engender higher mutual trust. We find that land restitution significantly increases trustworthiness, while there is no effect on trust. This is consistent with findings that trust and trustworthiness tap into different aspects of pro-sociality. Voting does not improve either trust or trustworthiness, but there is a positive effect once interacted with restitution.
    Keywords: trust; trustworthiness; internally displaced population; reparations JEL Classification: C93, I38, Q15
    Date: 2019–01
  16. By: Dirk Engelmann (Humboldt University Berlin); Hans Peter Gruener (University of Mannheim); Timo Hoffmann (University Erlangen-Nuremberg); Alex Possajennikov (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: Under simple majority voting an absolute majority of voters may choose policies that are harmful to minorities. It is the purpose of sub- and super-majority rules to protect legitimate minority interests. We study how voting rules are chosen under the veil of ignorance. In our experiment, individuals choose voting rules for given distributions of gains and losses that can arise from a policy, but before learning their own valuation of the policy. We find that subjects on average adjust the voting rule in line with the skewness of the distribution. As a result, a higher share of the achievable surplus can be extracted with the suggested rules than with exogenously given simple majority voting. The rule choices, however, imperfectly reflect the distributions of benefits and costs, in expectation leading to only 63% of the surplus being extracted. Both under-protection and over-protection of minorities contribute to the loss. Voting insincerely leads to a further surplus loss of 5-15%. We classify subjects according to their rule choices and show that most subjects’ rule choices follow the incentives embedded in the distributions. For a few participants, however, this is not the case, which leads to a large part of the surplus loss.
    Keywords: Voting, Experiment
    Date: 2020–02
  17. By: Marie Apedo-Amah (Stanford University [Stanford]); Habiba Djebbari (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Roberta Ziparo (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: We explore how the capacity of farm households to reach efficiency and share information on production is related to their consumption decision-making process. West African farm households often cultivate several plots, and there is extensive evidence of allocative inefficiencies (Udry, 1996). We design an experiment with Togolese cotton producers, contextualized as an input allocation game, and build a model based on its findings. We further test the model's predictions using our lab-in-the-field data. The cotton producers are found to allocate too few inputs to their wife's plot, failing to maximize household aggregate profits. They do transfer more inputs to their wife's plot when the returns from that plot are increased. Yet, when we experimentally manipulate information on these returns, informational frictions on average do not impact decisions. We attribute these experimental findings to the role that conflict in consumption plays in creating production inefficiencies. The model predicts that both efficiency loss and responses to asymmetric information are heterogenous. Moreover, we show that spouses are unable to communicate on the returns effectively and cannot avoid extra losses, though the damaging effects of private information vanish if information is verifiable ex post. We present evidence consistent with these predictions.
    Keywords: farm households,household production and intra-household allocation,non-cooperative game theory,asymmetric and private information,lab-in-the-field experiment
    Date: 2019–07–09
  18. By: Fabio Galeotti (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); Maria Montero (UON - University of Nottingham, UK); Anders Poulsen (UEA - University of East Anglia [Norwich])
    Abstract: The Attraction Effect and Compromise Effect (AE and CE) were introduced for individual choice situations. We define and experimentally investigate the AE and CE for bargaining situations. Our data suggest that the AE and CE are significant in bargaining, when certain conditions, related to focal equilibrium selection criteria based on payoff equality, efficiency, and symmetry, are met.
    Keywords: Bargaining,attraction effect,compromise effect,focality,equality,efficiency,symmetry
    Date: 2020–02–04
  19. By: Banerjee,Abhijit; La Ferrara,Eliana; Orozco Olvera,Victor Hugo
    Abstract: This paper tests the effectiveness of an entertainment education television series, MTV Shuga, aimed at providing information and changing attitudes and behaviors related to HIV/AIDS. Using a simple model, the paper shows that ?edutainment? can work through an individual or a social channel. This study is a randomized controlled trial conducted in urban Nigeria, where young viewers were exposed to MTV Shuga or a placebo television series. Among those exposed to MTV Shuga, the trial created additional variation in the social messages they received and the people with whom they watched the show. The study finds significant improvements in knowledge and attitudes toward HIV and risky sexual behavior. Treated subjects are twice as likely to get tested for HIV eight months after the intervention. The study also finds reductions in sexually transmitted diseases among women. These effects are stronger for viewers who reported being more involved with the narrative, consistent with the psychological underpinnings of edutainment. The trial?s experimental manipulations of the social norm component did not produce significantly different results from the main treatment. The individual effect of edutainment thus seems to have prevailed in the context of this study.
    Keywords: Educational Sciences,HIV AIDS,Communicable Diseases,Cholera,Leprosy,Health Care Services Industry,Transport Services,Services&Transfers to Poor,Economic Assistance,Disability,Access of Poor to Social Services
    Date: 2019–09–09
  20. By: Gine,Xavier; Barboza Ribeiro,Bernardo; Valley,Ildrim
    Abstract: Input subsidy programs (ISP) often have two conflicting targeting goals: selecting individuals with the highest marginal return to inputs on efficiency grounds, or the poorest individuals on equity grounds, allowing for a secondary market to restore efficiency gains. To study this targeting dilemma, this paper implements a field experiment where beneficiaries of an ISP were selected via a lottery or a local committee. In lottery villages, the study finds evidence of a secondary market as beneficiaries are more likely to sell inputs to non-beneficiaries. In contrast, in non-lottery villages, the study finds evidence of displacement of private fertilizer sales yet no elite capture. The impacts of the ISP on agricultural productivity and welfare are limited, suggesting that resources should be directed at complementary investments, such as improving soil quality and irrigation.
    Date: 2019–09–16
  21. By: Oriana Bandiera; Michael Carlos Best; Adnan Qadir Khan; Andrea Prat
    Abstract: We design a field experiment to study how the allocation of authority between frontline procurement officers and their monitors affects performance both directly and through the response to incentives. In collaboration with the government of Punjab, Pakistan, we shift authority from monitors to procurement officers and introduce financial incentives to a sample of 600 procurement officers in 26 districts. We find that autonomy alone reduces prices by 9% without reducing quality and that the effect is stronger when the monitor tends to delay approvals for purchases until the end of the fiscal year. In contrast, the effect of performance pay is muted, except when agents face a monitor who does not delay approvals. The results illustrate that organizational design and anti-corruption policies must balance agency issues at different levels of the hierarchy.
    JEL: D02 D04 D2 D23 D73 H1 H11 H57 H83 M42 M48 M52 O1 O12 O2 O23 O38 O53 P16
    Date: 2020–02
  22. By: Amalia Álvarez-Benjumea (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods); Fabian Winter (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)
    Abstract: Terrorist attacks can have profound consequences for the erosion of social norms, yet the causes of this erosion are not well understood. We argue that these attacks create substantial uncertainty about whether norms of civic conversation still hold. Observing breaches of these norms then leads people to express their own anti-immigrant attitudes more readily, as compared to a context where these norms are unambiguous. To test our theory, we examine (i) the impact of terrorist attacks on the level of hate speech against refugees in online discussions, and (ii) how the effect of terrorist attacks depends on the uncertainty about social norms of prejudice expression. To this end, we report on the results of a unique combination of a natural and a lab-in-the-field experiment. We exploit the occurrence of two consecutive Islamist terrorist attacks in Germany, the Würzburg and Ansbach attacks, in July 2016. Hateful comments towards refugees in an experimental online forum, but not towards other minority groups (i.e., gender rights), increased as a result of the attacks. The experiment compares the effect of the terrorist attacks in contexts where a descriptive norm against the use of hate speech is emphasized, i.e., participants observe only neutral or positive comments towards a minority group, to contexts in which the norm is ambiguous because participants observe anti-minority comments. Observing anti-immigrant comments had a considerable impact on our participants’ own comments after the attacks, while observing anti-gender-rights comments did not. We end by discussing implications of the findings for the literature on social norms, sociological methods and policy.
    Date: 2020–02
  23. By: Marc Bourreau; Marianne Lumeau; Francois Moreau; Jordana Viotto da Cruz
    Abstract: The emergence of online providers aggregating illegal content from streaming platforms is rekindling the debate about online piracy. In the past, the discussion mainly focused on the impact of piracy in content industries and the effect of anti-piracy measures. But little is known about one crucial aspect of piracy: consumers’ motivations to use illegal channels. Yet, understanding consumers’ behavior could help practitioners and policymakers to allocate their resources better to fight online piracy. In this paper, we fill this gap by focusing on two main motives for the illegal consumption of online content: paying lower (zero) prices and having access to content that is not available in legal channels. To disentangle the role of each motivation in consumers’ choice, we ran a laboratory experiment with real consumption, a methodology that provides participants with incentives to reveal their true preferences about consumption while controlling for the choice environment and the consideration set. Our results suggest that consumers turn to illegal channels primarily to save on the price of content, and that they are less sensitive to the availability of content in legal and illegal channels. We discuss the implications of our findings for practitioners and policymakers.
    Keywords: piracy, digitization, movies, free, release windows, experiment
    Date: 2019
  24. By: Dissanayake,Sahan T. M.; Voigt,George; Cooper, Abbie; Beyene, Abebe Damte; Bluffstone,Randall; Gebreegziabher,Zenebe; LaFave, Daniel; Martinsson,Peter; Mekonnen,Alemu; Toman,Michael A.
    Abstract: There is a growing effort in the non-market valuation literature toward better understanding of the stability and evolution of preferences over time. The study uses a novel approach combining a repeated choice experiment with a randomized controlled trial on stove adoption in Ethiopia to analyze the stability and evolution of preferences. The treatment group in the randomized controlled trial received an improved fuelwood stove with less fuelwood use, whereas the control group continued to use traditional cooking methods. Respondents were given the exact same choice questions in 2013 and 2016. The study began with 504 households in 36 communities in 2013, and 486 of the same households participated in 2016 (a 96 percent retention rate). The results show that preferences of the respondents from the control group are stable over the study period, while preferences of the respondents from the treatment group evolve. Moreover, households in the treatment group still using the stoves have significantly higher willingness to pay for all the stove's attributes in 2016 compared with 2013, indicating how longer experience can increase the willingness to pay for technology with environmentally preferable attributes.
    Keywords: Global Environment,Flood Control,Hydrology,Energy Demand,Energy and Environment,Energy and Mining,Health Care Services Industry
    Date: 2019–06–28
  25. By: James Berry (University of Delaware - Economics); Rebecca Dizon-Ross (University of Chicago); Maulik Jagnani (Yale University - Economic Growth Center)
    Abstract: We conduct a lab-in-the-field experiment to identify parents' preferences for investing in their children. The experiment exogenously varied the short-run returns to educational investments to identify how much parents care about maximizing total household earnings, minimizing cross- sibling inequality in "outcomes" (child-level earnings), and minimizing cross-sibling inequality in "inputs" (child-level investments). We show that while parents place some weight on maximizing earnings, they also display a strong preference for equality in inputs, forgoing roughly 40% of their potential earnings or 90% of a dayÕs wage to equalize inputs. We find no evidence that parents care about equalizing outcomes.
    JEL: I20 J13
    Date: 2020
  26. By: Christian Thoeni; Bruno Deffains; Romain Espinosa
    Abstract: We study the manipulation of preferences over redistribution. Previous work showed that preferences over redistribution are malleable by the experience of success or failure in a preceding real-effort task. We manipulate the information subjects receive about the importance of chance relative to effort in determining success. We investigate the effect of this manipulation on (i) subjects’ redistribution choices affecting third parties, and (ii) preferences for redistributive taxation. Our results show that informing the subjects about the relative importance of chance after the real-effort task does not mitigate the self-serving bias in redistribution choices. Only providing full information
    Keywords: Redistribution, Self-serving bias, Debiasing, Experiment
    Date: 2020–02
  27. By: Marco Battaglini; Rebecca B. Morton; Eleonora Patacchini
    Abstract: We present an informational theory of public protests, according to which public protests allow citizens to aggregate privately dispersed information and signal it to the policy maker. The model predicts that information sharing of signals within social groups can facilitate information aggregation when the social groups are sufficiently large even when it is not predicted with individual signals. We use experiments in the laboratory and on Amazon Mechanical Turk to test these predictions. We find that information sharing in social groups significantly affects citizens' protest decisions and as a consequence mitigates the effects of high conflict, leading to greater efficiency in policy makers' choices. Our experiments highlight that social media can play an important role in protests beyond simply a way in which citizens can coordinate their actions; and indeed that the information aggregation and the coordination motives behind public protests are intimately connected and cannot be conceptually separated.
    JEL: D72 D78
    Date: 2020–02
  28. By: Pedro Bessone; Gautam Rao; Frank Schilbach; Heather Schofield; Mattie Toma
    Abstract: This paper measures sleep among the urban poor in India and estimates the economic returns to increased sleep. Adults in Chennai have strikingly low quantity and quality of sleep relative to typical guidelines: despite spending 8 hours in bed, they achieve only 5.6 hours per night of sleep, with 32 awakenings per night. A three-week treatment providing information, encouragement, and sleep-related items increased sleep quantity by 27 minutes per night without improving sleep quality. Increased night sleep had no detectable effects on cognition, productivity, decision-making, or psychological and physical well-being, and led to small decreases in labor supply and thus earnings. In contrast, offering high-quality naps at the workplace increased productivity, cognition, psychological well-being, and patience. Taken together, the returns to increased night sleep are low, at least at the low-quality levels typically available in home environments in Chennai. We find suggestive evidence that higher-quality sleep improves important economic and psychological outcomes.
    JEL: C93 D9 I1 I12 I15 O1 O12 O18
    Date: 2020–02

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