nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2021‒02‒15
29 papers chosen by

  1. Unstructured Bargaining Experiment on Three-person Cooperative Games By Taro Shinoda; Yukihiko Funaki
  2. Strategy-proofness in experimental matching markets By Pablo Guillen; Róbert F. Veszteg
  3. Communication and Social Preferences: An Experimental Analysis By Antonio Gabrales; Francesco Feri; Piero Gottardi; Miguel A. Meléndez-Jiménez; Antonio Cabrales
  4. Corruption Bias and Information: A Study in the Lab By Germana Corrado; Luisa Corrado; Francesca Marazzi
  5. Local linear tie-breaker designs By Dan M. Kluger; Art B. Owen
  6. The function of peer reward and punishment in localized society: We can only “Think locally, Act locally” By Hiroki Ozono; Yoshio Kamijo; Kazumi Shimizu
  7. Informed Choices: Gender Gaps in Career Advice By Gallen, Yana; Wasserman, Melanie
  8. The Motivational Cost of Inequality: Pay Gaps Reduce the Willingness to Pursue Rewards By Jan-Emmanuel De Neve; Filip Gesiarz; Tali Sharot
  9. Vulnerability of Fixed-Rate Funds-Supplying Operations to Overbidding: An Experimental Approach By Yukihiko Funaki; Junnosuke Shino; Nobuyuki Uto
  10. Can information campaigns reduce last mile payment delays in public works programme?: Evidence from a field experiment in India By Upasak Das; Amartya Paul; Mohit Sharma
  11. Information Avoidance and Image Concerns By Christine L. Exley; Judd B. Kessler
  12. Students’ Preferences for Returning to Colleges and Universities During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Discrete Choice Experiment By Steimle, Lauren; Sun, Yuming; Johnson, Lauren; Besedeš, Tibor; Mokhtarian, Patricia; Nazzal, Dima
  13. The Distinct Impact of Information and Incentives on Cheating By Julien Benistant; Fabio Galeotti; Marie Claire Villeval
  14. The Influence of Dietary Patterns on Outcomes in a Bayesian Choice Task By Dickinson, David L.; Garbuio, Caleb
  15. Modernizing Retailers in an Emerging Market: Investigating Externally-Focused and Internally-Focused Approaches By Anderson, Stephen J.; Iacovone, Leonardo; Kankanhalli, Shreya; Narayanan, Sridhar
  16. A combined Nutri-Score and ‘Eco-Score’ approach for more nutritious and more environmentally friendly food choices? Evidence from a Belgian consumer experiment. By De Bauw, Michiel; Matthys, Christophe; Poppe, Veerle; Vranken, Liesbet
  17. How to stimulate environmentally friendly consumption: Evidence from a nationwide social experiment to promote eco-friendly coffee By Ryo Takahashi
  18. School's Out: Experimental Evidence on Limiting Learning Loss Using "Low-Tech" in a Pandemic By Angrist, Noam; Bergman, Peter; Matsheng, Moitshepi
  19. Optimal Policies to Battle the Coronavirus "Infodemic" among Social Media Users in Sub-Saharan Africa: Pre-analysis Plan By Offer-Westort, Molly; Rosenzweig, Leah R.; Athey, Susan
  20. Expected Utility Theory with Probability Grids and Preference Formation By Mamoru Kaneko
  21. Empirical research on ethical preferences: how popular is prioritarianism? By Erik Schokkaert; Benoît Tarroux
  22. Interregional Contact and National Identity By Bagues, Manuel; Roth, Christopher
  23. Comparison Lift: Bandit-Based Experimentation System for Online Advertising By Geng, Tong; Lin, Xiliang; Nair, Harikesh S.; Hao, Jun; Xiang, Bin; Fan, Shurui
  24. Do farmers prefer increasing, decreasing, or stable payments in Agri-Environmental Schemes? By Douadia Bougherara; Margaux Lapierre; Raphaële Préget; Alexandre Sauquet
  25. Gender priming in solidarity games: The Philippine context By Ruth Cadaoas Tacneng; Klarizze Anne Martin Puzon
  26. The Role of Mindset in Education : A Large-Scale Field Experiment in Disadvantaged Schools By Huillery, Elise; Bouguen, Adrien; Charpentier, Axelle; Algan, Yann; Chevallier, Coralie
  27. A Design-Based Perspective on Synthetic Control Methods By Lea Bottmer; Guido Imbens; Jann Spiess; Merrill Warnick
  28. A local community course that raises mental wellbeing and pro-sociality By Jan-Emmanuel De Neve; Daisy Fancourt; Christian Krekel; Richard Layard
  29. Longevity Perceptions and Saving Decisions during the COVID-19 Outbreak: An Experimental Investigation By Abigail Hurwitz; Olivia S. Mitchell; Orly Sade

  1. By: Taro Shinoda (Waseda University); Yukihiko Funaki (Waseda University)
    Abstract: In the cooperative game theory, we study only how to distribute payoffs by assuming that the grand coalition is formed. However, in real bargaining situation, the payoff distribution is considered with the coalition formation simultaneously. The players can make not only the grand coalition but also smaller coalitions. Also, they have to reach an agreement on just one payoff distribution. In order to know what happens in this situation, we design and run a laboratory experiment. As experimental results, we find the following things. First, the grand coalition is more likely to be formed when the core is non-empty than empty. Availability of the chat window is also positively correlated with formation of the grand coalition. Second, the payoff distribution the subjects agree with is depending on their power in bargaining. Unlike the others' bargaining experiment, the equal division is not very frequently adopted.
    Keywords: laboratory experiment; cooperative game; coalition formation; payoff distribution; bargaining
    JEL: C71 C92
    Date: 2019–09
  2. By: Pablo Guillen (Faculty of Economics, The University of Sydney); Róbert F. Veszteg (School of Political Science and Economic, Waseda University)
    Abstract: We introduce two novel matching mechanisms, Reverse Top Trading Cycles (RTTC) and Reverse Deferred Acceptance (RDA), with the purpose of challenging the idea that the theoretical property of strategy-proofness induces high rates of truth-telling in economic experiments. RTTC and RDA are identical to the celebrated Top Trading Cycles (TTC) and Deferred Acceptance (DA) mechanisms, respectively, in all their theoretical properties except that their dominant-strategy equilibrium is to report one's preferences in the order opposite to the way they were induced. With the focal truthtelling strategy being out of equilibrium, we are able to perform a clear measurement of how much of the truth-telling reported for strategy-proof mechanisms is compatible with rational behavior and how much of it is caused by confused decision-makers following a default (very focal) strategy without understanding the structure of the game. In a school-allocation setting, we find that roughly half of the observed truth-telling under TTC and DA is the result of na¨ıve (non-strategic) behavior. Only 13-29% of participants' actions in RTTC and RDA are compatible with rational behavior. Further than that, by looking at the responses of those seemingly rational participants in control tasks, it becomes clear that even them lack a basic understanding of the game incentives. We argue that the use of a default option, confusion and other behavioral biases account for the vast majority of truthful play in both TTC and DA in laboratory experiments.
    Keywords: matching; strategy-proofness; truth-telling; focal point; rationality; laboratory experiment; school choice; revelation principle
    JEL: C78 D47 C91
    Date: 2019–08
  3. By: Antonio Gabrales; Francesco Feri; Piero Gottardi; Miguel A. Meléndez-Jiménez; Antonio Cabrales
    Abstract: This paper reports on experiments regarding cheap talk games where senders attempt deception when their interests are not in conflict with those of the receiver. The amount of miscommunication is higher than in previous experimental findings on cheap talk games in situations where senders’ and receivers’ interests are not in conflict. We obtain this even though, as in previous literature, some participants appear to feature a cost of lying. We argue our findings could be attributed to distributional preferences of senders who lie to avoid the receiver getting a higher payoff than herself.
    Keywords: experiments, cheap talk, deception, conflicts of interest, social preferences
    JEL: D83 C72 G14
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Germana Corrado (DMD Università di Roma "Tor Vergata"); Luisa Corrado (DEF and CEIS, Università di Roma "Tor Vergata"); Francesca Marazzi (CEIS, Università di Roma "Tor Vergata")
    Abstract: Our study examines whether actual corruption, measured by individuals direct experience of corruption episodes (bribery), matches their perceptions of the phenomenon. Our experimental participants play a repeated public good game with mandatory minimum contribution and are given the possibility to bribe a computerized bureaucrat in order to free-ride. We elicit beliefs about the perceived level of corruptibility of the bureaucrat and others' corruption attempts. We study participants' willingness to corrupt and the gap between perceived and actual corruption under two information conditions. Results show that, although anonymous, spreading news about an attempt of corruption is enough to discourage such attempts, lowering the corruption rate. Consequently, when receiving no information, participants expect others to corrupt more, raising the index of perceived corruption.
    Keywords: Perceived and Experienced Corruption, Lab Experiment, Information
    JEL: D73 C92 H41 D90
    Date: 2021–01–12
  5. By: Dan M. Kluger; Art B. Owen
    Abstract: Tie-breaker experimental designs are hybrids of Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) and Regression Discontinuity Designs (RDDs) in which subjects with moderate scores are placed in an RCT while subjects with extreme scores are deterministically assigned to the treatment or control group. The design maintains the benefits of randomization for causal estimation while avoiding the possibility of excluding the most deserving recipients from the treatment group. The causal effect estimator for a tie-breaker design can be estimated by fitting local linear regressions for both the treatment and control group, as is typically done for RDDs. We study the statistical efficiency of such local linear regression-based causal estimators as a function of $\Delta$, the radius of the interval in which treatment randomization occurs. In particular, we determine the efficiency of the estimator as a function of $\Delta$ for a fixed, arbitrary bandwidth under the assumption of a uniform assignment variable. To generalize beyond uniform assignment variables and asymptotic regimes, we also demonstrate on the Angrist and Lavy (1999) classroom size dataset that prior to conducting an experiment, an experimental designer can estimate the efficiency for various experimental radii choices by using Monte Carlo as long as they have access to the distribution of the assignment variable. For both uniform and triangular kernels, we show that increasing the radius of randomized experiment interval will increase the efficiency until the radius is the size of the local-linear regression bandwidth, after which no additional efficiency benefits are conferred.
    Date: 2021–01
  6. By: Hiroki Ozono (Faculty of Law, Economics and Humanities, Kagoshima University); Yoshio Kamijo (School of Economics and Management, Kochi University of Technology); Kazumi Shimizu (School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University)
    Abstract: Many studies suggest that peer reward and punishment can sustain cooperation in social dilemmas because cooperators are effectively rewarded and non-cooperators are effectively punished within the group. However, as group size becomes larger, we inevitably face localization, in which a global group is divided into several localized groups. While benefits from cooperation are distributed to the global group, members can reward and punish only other members within the same localized group. In this situation, the global group and the local group are not always equal in terms of welfare; situation can arise in which cooperation is beneficial for the global group but not for the local group. We predict that in such a locally inefficient situation, peer reward and punishment cannot function to sustain global cooperation, and high cooperation cannot be achieved. We conducted an experiment in which 16 group members played a public goods game with peer reward and punishment. We manipulated the range of peer reward and punishment (only local members/all members) and payoff structure (locally efficient/locally inefficient). We found that high cooperation was not achieved and that peer reward and punishment did not function when, and only when, the group was divided into localized groups and the payoff structure was locally inefficient. This finding suggests that the function of peer reward and punishment is limited to relatively small societies, and we humans can only “think locally, act locally.”
    Keywords: Public goods; Reward; Punishment; Localization; Cooperation
    Date: 2019–07
  7. By: Gallen, Yana (Harris School, University of Chicago); Wasserman, Melanie (University of California, Los Angeles)
    Abstract: This paper estimates gender differences in access to informal information regarding the labor market. We conduct a large-scale field experiment in which real college students seek information from 10,000 working professionals about various career paths, and we randomize whether a professional receives a message from a male or a female student. We focus the experimental design and analysis on two career attributes that prior research has shown to differentially affect the labor market choices of women: the extent to which a career accommodates work/life balance and has a competitive culture. When students ask broadly for information about a career, we find that female students receive substantially more information on work/life balance relative to male students. This gender difference persists when students disclose that they are concerned about work/life balance. In contrast, professionals mention workplace culture to male and female students at similar rates. After the study, female students are more dissuaded from their preferred career path than male students, and this difference is in part explained by professionals' greater emphasis on work/life balance when responding to female students. Finally, we elicit students' preferences for professionals and find that gender differences in information provision would remain if students contacted their most preferred professionals.
    Keywords: career information, gender, discrimination, correspondence study
    JEL: C93 J16 J24 J71
    Date: 2021–01
  8. By: Jan-Emmanuel De Neve; Filip Gesiarz; Tali Sharot
    Abstract: Factors beyond a person's control, such as demographic characteristics at birth, often influence the availability of rewards an individual can expect for their efforts. We know surprisingly little how such pay-gaps due to random differences in opportunities impact human motivation. To test this we designed a study in which we arbitrarly varied the reward offered to each participant in a group for performing the same task. Participants then had to decide whether or not they were willing to exert effort to receive their reward. Unfairness reduced participants' motivation to pursue rewards even when their relative position in the distribution was high, despite the decision being of no benefit to others and reducing reward for oneself. This relationship was partially mediated by participants' feelings. In particular, large disparity was associated with greater unhappiness, which was associated with lower willingness to work - even when controlling for absolute reward and its relative value, both of which also affected decisions to pursue rewards. Our findings suggest pay-gaps can trigger psychological dynamics that hurt productivity and well-being of all involved.
    Keywords: inequality, pay-gaps, motivation, effort, affect, reward
    JEL: D31 D91 J22
    Date: 2019–11
  9. By: Yukihiko Funaki (School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University); Junnosuke Shino (School of International Liberal Studies, Waseda University); Nobuyuki Uto (Faculty of Economics and Management, Hokuriku University)
    Abstract: This paper experimentally investigates overbidding in the fixed-rate funds-supplying operations conducted by central banks. One motivation for this is that while the European Central Bank had experienced severe overbidding in the conduct of its fixed-rate operations, no comparable behavior has been observed for the Bank of Japan. Existing theoretical analyses argue that this is because the currently accommodative financial environment in Japan has made bidders' objective functions locally satiated, and this contributes to the avoidance of overbidding. To investigate this further, we conduct an experiment with fixedrate operations, the results of which are as follows. When participants' initial demands are sufficiently small, they simply play the unique Nash equilibrium strategy to bid their true demand. Further, as demand increases and there is no satiation in their objective functions, participants tend to overbid. However, even as demand becomes larger, an explosion of bids does not arise if the objective functions are sufficiently satiated. We also estimate the subject bid functions from the experimental data affected by the degree of satiation and reveal that a simple calibration points to the vulnerability of fixed-rate operations to overbidding, even when satiation is preserved.
    Keywords: Fixed-rate funds-supplying operations; Overbidding; Experiments
    Date: 2019–04
  10. By: Upasak Das; Amartya Paul; Mohit Sharma
    Abstract: Does information dissemination among beneficiaries of welfare programmes mitigate their implementation failures? We present experimental evidence in the context of a rural public works programme in India, where we assess the impact of an intervention that involves dissemination of publicly available micro-level data on last mile delays in payment and programme uptake, along with a set of intermediate outcomes.
    Keywords: Implementation, Information, randomization, Welfare, Public works, Field experiment, Benefit programmes
    Date: 2021
  11. By: Christine L. Exley; Judd B. Kessler
    Abstract: A rich literature finds that individuals avoid information, even information that is instrumental to their choices. A common hypothesis posits that individuals strategically avoid information to hold particular beliefs or to take certain actions—such as behaving selfishly—with lower image costs. Building off of the classic “moral wiggle room” design, this paper provides the first direct test of whether individuals avoid information because of image concerns. We analyze data from 4,626 experimental subjects. We find that image concerns play a role in driving information avoidance, but a role that is substantially smaller than the common approach in the literature would suggest. The large majority (66% to 81%) of information avoidance remains when image concerns cannot drive avoidance. We find evidence for other reasons why individuals avoid information, such as a desire to avoid interpersonal tradeoffs, a desire to avoid bad news, laziness, inattention, and confusion.
    JEL: C9 C91
    Date: 2021–01
  12. By: Steimle, Lauren; Sun, Yuming; Johnson, Lauren; Besedeš, Tibor; Mokhtarian, Patricia; Nazzal, Dima
    Abstract: Importance: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, institutions of higher education (IHEs) are weighing decisions about when and how to reopen their campuses for the Spring 2021 term. Schools are revisiting their plans to use in-person, online, or hybrid (a mixture of in-person and online) modes of course delivery, as well as their safety plans. However, there is still limited knowledge about how to properly plan for campus reopening decisions, including course delivery and campus safety, to maintain enrollment and keep students and faculty safe. Objectives: To assess 1) students’ willingness to comply with health protocols and contrast to their perception of their classmates’ compliance, 2) whether students preferred in-person or online learning during a pandemic, and 3) The importance weights of different aspects of campus operations (i.e., modes of course delivery and safety plans) for students when they decide to enroll or defer. Design, setting, and participants: An internet-based survey of college students took place from June 25, 2020 to July 10, 2020. Participants included 398 industrial engineering students at a medium-size public university in Atlanta, Georgia. The survey included a discrete choice experiment with questions that asked students to choose whether to enroll or defer when presented with hypothetical scenarios related to Fall 2020 modes of course delivery and aspects of campus safety. The survey also asked students about expected compliance with health protocols, whether they preferred in-person or online courses, and sociodemographic information. Main outcomes and measures: We estimated students’ willingness to comply with potential health protocols, choices between in-person and online learning, and the importance of different modes of course delivery and safety measures when deciding to enroll or defer. Results: The response rate of students who participated in the survey was 20.8%. A latent class model showed three classes of students: those who were “low-concern” (comprising a 29% expected share of the sample), those who were “moderate-concern” (54%) and those who were “high-concern” (17%). We found that scenarios that offered an on-campus experience with large classes delivered online and small classes delivered in-person, strict safety protocols in terms of mask-wearing, testing, and residence halls, and lenient safety protocols in terms of social gatherings were broadly the scenarios with the highest expected enrollment probabilities. The decision to enroll or defer for all students was largely determined by the mode of delivery for courses and the safety measures on campus around COVID-19 testing and mask-wearing. A logistic regression model showed that higher perceived risk of infection of COVID-19, better living suitability for online courses, being older, and less risk seeking were significant factors for a person to choose online learning. Students stated for themselves and their classmates that they would comply with some but not all health protocols against COVID-19, especially those limiting social gatherings. Conclusions and relevance: The majority of students indicated a preference to enroll during the COVID-19 pandemic so long as sufficient safety measures are put in place and all classes were not entirely in-person. As IHEs consider different options for campus operations during pandemics, they should consider the heterogenous preferences among their students. Offering flexibility in course modes may be a way to appeal to many students who vary in terms of their concern about the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, since students overall preferred some safety measures placed around mask-wearing and COVID-19 testing on campus, IHEs may want to recommend or require wearing masks and doing some surveillance tests for all students, faculty, and staff. Students were expecting themselves and their fellow classmates to comply with some but not all health protocols, which may help IHEs identify protocols that need more education and awareness, like the limits on social gatherings and the practice of social distancing at social gatherings.
    Date: 2020–12–21
  13. By: Julien Benistant (CNC - Institut des sciences cognitives Marc Jeannerod - Centre de neuroscience cognitive - UMR5229 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Fabio Galeotti (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon); Marie Claire Villeval (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon)
    Abstract: We study a dynamic variant of the die-under-the-cup task where players can repeatedly misreport the outcomes of consecutive die rolls to earn more money, either under a noncompetitive piece rate scheme or in a two-player competitive tournament. In this dynamic setting we test (i) whether giving continuous feedback (vs. final ex post feedback) on the opponent's reported outcome to both players encourages cheating behavior, and (ii) to what extent this influence depends on the incentive scheme in use (piece rate vs. tournament). We also vary whether the opponent is able to cheat or not. We find that people lie more when placed in a competitive rather than a non-competitive setting, but only if both players can cheat in the tournament. Continuous feedback on the counterpart's reports increases cheating under the piece-rate scheme but not in a competitive setting. Our results provide new insights on the role that feedback plays on cheating behavior in dynamic settings under different payment schemes, and shed liht on the origins of the effect of competition on dishonesty.
    Keywords: Dishonesty,feedback,peer effects,competitive incentives,experiment
    Date: 2021
  14. By: Dickinson, David L. (Appalachian State University); Garbuio, Caleb (Appalachian State University)
    Abstract: This paper reports on a preregistered study aimed at testing for executive function differences across individuals who self-reported one of four distinct dietary patterns: No Diet, No Sugar, Vegetarian, and Mediterranean Diet patterns. The incentivized decision task involves Bayesian assessments where participants may use existing (base rate) as well as new information (sample draw evidence) in making probability assessments. Sample size, hypotheses, and analysis plans were all determined ex ante and registered on the Open Science Framework. Our hypotheses were aimed at testing whether adherence to a specialty diet improved decision making relative to those who reported following No Diet. Our data fail to support these hypotheses. In fact, we found some evidence that adherence to a No Sugar Diet predicted a reduced decision accuracy and was connected to an increased imbalance in how the participant weighted the two sources of information available. Our results suggest that decision making is nuanced among dietary groups, but that short-term incentivized decisions in an ecologically valid field setting are likely not improved solely by following a promoted diet such as the Mediterranean or Vegetarian diet.
    Keywords: behavioral economics, bayes rule, decision making, dietary patterns, mediterranean diet
    JEL: D90 C90 I10
    Date: 2021–01
  15. By: Anderson, Stephen J. (U of Texas at Austin); Iacovone, Leonardo (World Bank and Hertie School); Kankanhalli, Shreya (Stanford U); Narayanan, Sridhar (Stanford U)
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of business modernization on the sales performance of traditional retailers. We define modernization as adopting tangible structures and business practices of organized retail chains (for example, exterior signage with store name and logo, or a database to record product-level information) and adapting these to the practical conditions and constraints of traditional retailers such as small shop size. To address our research question, we implement a randomized field experiment in Mexico City with 1148 traditional retail firms. Our sample is randomized into three groups: 385 firms that we externally modernize in ways that are visible to customers; 383 firms that we internally modernize in ways that are not visible to customers; and 380 firms form a control group. We find a significant and persistent main effect of modernization on sales: firms in both treatment groups increase monthly sales by 15% to 19%, even 24 months after study recruitment. In terms of novel mechanism evidence, we find that externally-modernizing firms improve their store-level branding, while internally-modernizing firms strengthen their product management. These results have important implications for multinational managers who distribute products through traditional retail channels, and for policymakers interested in improving firm performance in the retail sector of emerging markets.
    Date: 2020–09
  16. By: De Bauw, Michiel; Matthys, Christophe (KU Leuven); Poppe, Veerle; Vranken, Liesbet
    Abstract: The application of Nutri-Score on food products is ubiquitous throughout Europe and studies demonstrating its potential to stimulate healthier food choices are accumulating. At the same time, there remains a strong need to evenly harmonize and activate the communication of environmental impacts on food products, in synergy with the Nutri-Score. This brings up the question of whether the potential of Nutri-Score could be expanded to a similar ‘Eco-Score’ and equivalently encourage more environmentally friendly food choices. The present study investigated the effect of a combined NutriScore and Eco-Score on the nutritional quality and environmental impact of consumers’ food choices. This effect was compared to, on the one hand, dietary recommendations (both general and specific) and on the other hand, more detailed impact tables. Since visual distraction often plays a role in informative persuasion, the treatments were evaluated subject to different levels of distraction. A randomized control trial was conducted with a representative sample of 805 Belgian consumers in a mock-up E-grocery environment. Respondents were randomly allocated to treatments in which they were asked to hypothetically buy ingredients to prepare one meal. An average nutritional quality index (NQI) and environmental impact index (EII) of the selected baskets were calculated to evaluate outcomes. We find that a joint Nutri-Score and Eco-Score label improves the NQI but not the EII. The general- and specific recommendation as well as the detailed information also improved the NQI. However, the specific recommendation was the only treatment that also improved the EII. We find mild indications that the effectiveness of Nutri-Score is affected by the nearby presence of food product images. This study provided some first evidence and support for the use of dual Nutri-Score – Eco-Score label to induce transitions towards healthier and more sustainable diets. We also find that recommendations outside the classic Front-Of-Package label framework are also a promising way to realize such transition. However, the effect in real E-groceries and on longer terms remains to be explored.
    Date: 2021–01–22
  17. By: Ryo Takahashi (Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University)
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of information provision about environmentally friendly coffee on consumers' purchasing behaviors. We use a dataset from a nationwide social experiment in Japan involving over 10,000 vending machines serving brewed coffee. We also provide empirical insights into the mechanisms for stimulating eco-friendly consumption. Our results demonstrate that informing consumers about the product's eco-friendliness significantly increases eco-friendly coffee sales (+7%) only in social spaces (e.g., office buildings) and not in non-social spaces (e.g., shopping malls). Consumers in social spaces might be motivated to purchase eco-friendly coffee to build a “green” reputation among community members after receiving such information.
    Keywords: information provision; social experiment; sustainability labels; coffee certification;, green reputation
    JEL: Q13 O13 G14 M31 C93
    Date: 2019–09
  18. By: Angrist, Noam (University of Oxford); Bergman, Peter (Columbia University); Matsheng, Moitshepi (Young 1ove)
    Abstract: Schools closed extensively during the COVID-19 pandemic and occur in other settings, such as teacher strikes and natural disasters. This paper provides some of the first experimental evidence on strategies to minimize learning loss when schools close. We run a randomized trial of low-technology interventions – SMS messages and phone calls – with parents to support their child. The combined treatment cost-effectively improves learning by 0.12 standard deviations. We develop remote assessment innovations, which show robust learning outcomes. Our findings have immediate policy relevance and long-run implications for the role of technology and parents as partial educational substitutes when schooling is disrupted.
    Keywords: education, covid, experiment, remote learning, COVID-19
    JEL: I2 I24
    Date: 2020–12
  19. By: Offer-Westort, Molly (?); Rosenzweig, Leah R. (?); Athey, Susan (Stanford U)
    Abstract: Alongside the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, an "infodemic" of myths and hoax cures is spreading over online media outlets and social media platforms. Building on the literature on combating fake news, we evaluate experimental interventions designed to decrease sharing of false COVID-19 cures. We use Facebook advertisements to recruit social media users in Kenya and Nigeria, and deliver our interventions with a Messenger chatbot, facilitating observation of treatment effects in a realistic setting. We use a contextual adaptive experimental design to target the most effective interventions, and learn and evaluate a contextual policy, improving our understanding of how to tackle harmful misinformation during an ongoing health crisis. Finally, we bring comparative data to a global problem for which the existing research has largely been limited to the U.S. and Europe. This pre-analysis plan describes the research design and outlines the key hypotheses that we will evaluate.
    Date: 2020–10
  20. By: Mamoru Kaneko (Waseda University)
    Abstract: We reformulate expected utility theory, from the viewpoint of bounded rationality, by introducing probability grids and a cognitive bound; we restrict permissible probabilities only to decimal (`-ary in general) fractions of Önite depths up to a given cognitive bound. We distinguish between measurements of utilities from pure alternatives and their extensions to lotteries involving more risks. Our theory is constructive, from the viewpoint of the decision maker. When a cognitive bound is small, the preference relation involves many incomparabilities, but these diminish as the cognitive bound is is relaxed. Similarly, the EU hypothesis would hold more for a weaker cognitive bound. The main part of the paper is a study of preferences including incomparabilities in cases with Önite cogntive bounds; we give representation theorems in terms of a 2-dimensional vector-valued utility functions. We exemplify the theory with one experimental result reported by Kahneman-Tversky.
    Keywords: Expected Utility; Measurement of Utility; Bounded Rationality; Probability
    JEL: C72 C79 C91
    Date: 2019–04
  21. By: Erik Schokkaert (CORE - Center of Operation Research and Econometrics [Louvain] - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain); Benoît Tarroux (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon)
    Abstract: We survey the empirical literature on ethical preferences, covering both survey studies and incentivized laboratory experiments. Crucial axioms such as the Pigou-Dalton transfer principle are not accepted by a large fraction of the subjects. Moreover, in formulating their distributive preferences subjects attach much importance to the sources of income differences. Their preferences behind a veil of ignorance do not coincide with their preferences in the position of a social planner. These results suggest that prioritarian policy proposals will not necessarily be supported by a majority of the population. Although the majority opinion does not necessarily reflect the ethically desirable perspective, the empirical results still raise some interesting normative challenges.
    Keywords: Surveys,lab experiments,distributive preferences,prioritarianism,inequality aversion
    Date: 2021
  22. By: Bagues, Manuel (University of Warwick); Roth, Christopher (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: We study the long-run effects of contact with individuals from other regions on beliefs, preferences and national identity. We combine a natural experiment, the random assignment of male conscripts to different locations throughout Spain, with tailored survey data. Being randomly assigned to complete military service outside of one’s region of residence fosters contact with conscripts from other regions, and increases sympathy towards people from the region of service, measured several decades later. We also observe an increase in identification with Spain for individuals originating from regions with peripheral nationalism. Our evidence suggests that intergroup exposure in early adulthood can have long-lasting effects on individual preferences and national identity
    Keywords: Interregional Contact, Intergroup Exposure, Beliefs, Preference Formation, Identity. JEL Classification: R23, D91, Z1
    Date: 2020
  23. By: Geng, Tong (; Lin, Xiliang (; Nair, Harikesh S. ( and Stanford U); Hao, Jun (; Xiang, Bin (; Fan, Shurui (
    Abstract: Comparison Lift is an experimentation-as-a-service (EaaS) application for testing online advertising audiences and creatives at Unlike many other EaaS tools that focus primarily on fixed sample A/B testing, Comparison Lift deploys a custom bandit-based experimentation algorithm. The advantages of the bandit-based approach are twofold. First, it aligns the randomization induced in the test with the advertiser's goals from testing. Second, by adapting experimental design to information acquired during the test, it reduces substantially the cost of experimentation to the advertiser. Since launch in May 2019, Comparison Lift has been utilized in over 1,500 experiments. We estimate that utilization of the product has helped increase click-through rates of participating advertising campaigns by 46% on average. We estimate that the adaptive design in the product has generated 27% more clicks on average during testing compared to a fixed sample A/B design. Both suggest significant value generation and cost savings to advertisers from the product.
    Date: 2020–09
  24. By: Douadia Bougherara (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - FRE2010 - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier - Institut Agro - Institut national d'enseignement supérieur pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Margaux Lapierre (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - FRE2010 - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier - Institut Agro - Institut national d'enseignement supérieur pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Raphaële Préget (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - FRE2010 - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier - Institut Agro - Institut national d'enseignement supérieur pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Alexandre Sauquet (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - FRE2010 - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier - Institut Agro - Institut national d'enseignement supérieur pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: Nearly all Agri-Environmental Schemes (AES) offer farmers stable annual payments over the duration of the contract. Yet AES are often intended to be a transition tool, thus decreasing payment sequences would appear particularly attractive for farmers. The standard discounted utility model supports this notion by predicting that individuals will prefer a decreasing sequence of payments if the total sum of outcomes is constant. Nevertheless, the literature shows that numerous mechanisms, such as increasing productivity, anticipatory pleasure and loss aversion can incline farmers to favor an increasing sequence of payments. To understand what drives farmers' preferences for different payment sequences, we propose a review of the mechanisms highlighted by the literature in psychology and economics. We then analyze farmers' preferences for stable, increasing or decreasing payments through a choice experiment (CE) survey of 123 French farmers, about 15% of those contacted. Overall, farmers do not present a clear willingness to depart from the usual stable payments. Moreover, we find a significant aversion to decreasing payments in farmers with a lower discount rate and in those more willing to take risks than the median farmer, contradicting the discounted utility model.
    Keywords: Sequences of outcomes,Agri-Environmental Schemes,Discounted utility,Farming practices,Cover crops,Choice experiment
    Date: 2021
  25. By: Ruth Cadaoas Tacneng; Klarizze Anne Martin Puzon
    Abstract: What is the effect of gender priming on solidarity behaviour? We explore a two-player solidarity game where players can insure each other against the risk of losses. In the utility function, priming is represented as the 'change in weight' given to the other player's payoff. We test this experimentally in a developing country setting, the Philippines. We consider a treatment that involves reminding subjects of their gender. We found that, without priming, there were no statistically different gender differences in the solidarity game.
    Keywords: Gender, priming, Gender differences, Philippines, Dice game, Behaviour, Risk attitudes, Insurance
    Date: 2021
  26. By: Huillery, Elise; Bouguen, Adrien; Charpentier, Axelle; Algan, Yann; Chevallier, Coralie
    Abstract: This article provides experimental evidence of the impact of a four-year inter-vention aimed at developing students’ growth mindset and internal locus ofcontrol in disadvantaged middle schools. We find a 0.07 standard deviationincrease in GPA, associated with a change in students’ mindset, improved be-havior as reported by teachers and school registers, and higher educational andprofessional aspirations. International empirical benchmarks reveal that theintervention is at least ten times more cost-effective than the typical educa-tional intervention. However, while reducing between-school inequality whentargeted to disadvantaged schools, the program benefits less to more fragilestudents, therefore increasing within-school inequality.
    Date: 2021–01–18
  27. By: Lea Bottmer; Guido Imbens; Jann Spiess; Merrill Warnick
    Abstract: Since their introduction in Abadie and Gardeazabal (2003), Synthetic Control (SC) methods have quickly become one of the leading methods for estimating causal effects in observational studies with panel data. Formal discussions often motivate SC methods by the assumption that the potential outcomes were generated by a factor model. Here we study SC methods from a design-based perspective, assuming a model for the selection of the treated unit(s), e.g., random selection as guaranteed in a randomized experiment. We show that SC methods offer benefits even in settings with randomized assignment, and that the design perspective offers new insights into SC methods for observational data. A first insight is that the standard SC estimator is not unbiased under random assignment. We propose a simple modification of the SC estimator that guarantees unbiasedness in this setting and derive its exact, randomization-based, finite sample variance. We also propose an unbiased estimator for this variance. We show in settings with real data that under random assignment this Modified Unbiased Synthetic Control (MUSC) estimator can have a root mean-squared error (RMSE) that is substantially lower than that of the difference-in-means estimator. We show that such an improvement is weakly guaranteed if the treated period is similar to the other periods, for example, if the treated period was randomly selected. The improvement is most likely to be substantial if the number of pre-treatment periods is large relative to the number of control units.
    Date: 2021–01
  28. By: Jan-Emmanuel De Neve; Daisy Fancourt; Christian Krekel; Richard Layard
    Abstract: Although correlates of mental wellbeing have been extensively studied, relatively little is known about how to effectively raise mental wellbeing in local communities by means of intervention. We conduct a randomised controlled trial of the "Exploring What Matters" course, a scalable social-psychological intervention aimed at raising general adult population mental wellbeing and pro-sociality. The manualised course is run by non-expert volunteers in their local communities and to date has been conducted in more than 26 countries around the world. We find that it has strong, positive causal effects on participants' self-reported subjective wellbeing (life satisfaction increases by about 63% of a standard deviation) and pro-sociality (social trust increases by about 53% of a standard deviation) while reducing measures of mental ill health (PHQ-9 and GAD-7 decrease by about 50% and 42% of a standard deviation, respectively). Impacts seem to be sustained two months post-treatment. We complement self-reported outcomes with biomarkers collected through saliva samples, including cortisol and a range of cytokines involved in inflammatory response. These move consistently into the hypothesised direction but are noisy and do not reach statistical significance at conventional levels.
    Keywords: Wellbeing, Pro-Social Behaviour, Communities, Intervention, RCT
    JEL: C93 I12 I31
    Date: 2020–01
  29. By: Abigail Hurwitz; Olivia S. Mitchell; Orly Sade
    Abstract: We experimentally study individuals’ perceptions about and advice to others regarding retirement savings and annuitization during the pandemic. Many people recommend that others save more for retirement, but those most affected by the pandemic tell others to save and annuitize less. We investigate two possible channels for this result and show that the pandemic does not substantially alter optimism regarding survival probabilities. Hence, we conclude that economic factors are driving our results. Consequently, some financial ramifications of the COVID-19 outbreak are yet to be revealed, as the pandemic is having longer-term effects on peoples’ willingness to save and annuitize.
    JEL: G41 G5 J26
    Date: 2021–01

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.