nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2021‒09‒20
24 papers chosen by

  1. On the transition to a sustainable economy : Field experimental evidence on behavioral interventions By Boomsma, Mirthe
  2. Does Whistleblowing on Tax Evaders Reduce Ingroup Cooperation? By Philipp Chapkovski; Luca Corazzini; Valeria Maggian
  3. Shallow Meritocracy: An Experiment on Fairness Views By Peter Andre
  4. Pricing Indefinitely Lived Assets: Experimental Evidence By John Duffy; Janet Hua Jiang; Huan Xie
  5. Avoiding the Cost of your Conscience: Belief Dependent Preferences and Information Acquisition By Claire Rimbaud; Alice Soldà
  6. Shallow Meritocracy: An Experiment on Fairness Views By Peter Andre
  7. The effectiveness of personalised versus generic information in changing behaviour: Evidence from an indoor air quality experiment By Abdel Sater, Rita; Perona, Mathieu; huillery, elise; Chevallier, Coralie
  8. Testing classic theories of migration in the lab By Catia Batista; David McKenzie
  9. Face Mask Use and Physical Distancing before and after Mandatory Masking: No Evidence on Risk Compensation in Public Waiting Lines By Gyula Seres; Anna Balleyer; Nicola Cerutti; Jana Friedrichsen; Müge Süer
  10. Estimating Coherency between Survey Data and Incentivized Experimental Data By Christian Belzil; Julie Pernaudet; François Poinas
  11. A unified Stata package for calculating sample sizes for trials with binary outcomes (artbin) By Ella Marley-Zagar; Ian R. White; Mahesh K. B. Parmar; Patrick Royston; Abdel G. Babiker
  12. A critical perspective on the conceptualization of risk in behavioral and experimental finance By Felix Holzmeister; Christoph Huber; Stefan Palan
  13. Risking the Future? Measuring Risk Attitudes towards Delayed Consequences By Emmanuel Kemel; Corina Paraschiv
  14. Transfer Modality Research Initiative: Impacts of combining social protection and nutrition in Bangladesh By Ahmed, Akhter; Hoddinott, John F.; Roy, Shalini
  15. Less information, more comparison, and better performance: evidence from a field experiment By Eyring, Henry; Ferguson, Patrick J.; Koppers, Sebastian
  16. Guess What …?—How Guessed Norms Nudge Climate-Friendly Food Choices in Real-Life Settings By Griesoph, Amelie; Hoffmann, Stefan; Merk, Christine; Rehdanz, Katrin; Schmidt, Ulrich
  17. Shared Decision-Making: Can Improved Counseling Increase Willingness to Pay for Modern Contraceptives? By Susan Athey; Katy Ann Bergstrom; Vitor Hadad; Julian C. Jamison; Berk Özler; Luca Parisotto; Julius Dohbit Samaa
  18. Participants’ Characteristics at ISER-Lab in 2020 By Nobuyuki Hanaki; Keigo Inukai; Takehito Masuda; Yuta Shimodaira
  19. Behavioral Barriers and the Socioeconomic Gap in Child Care Enrollment By Hermes, Henning; Lergetporer, Philipp; Peter, Frauke; Wiederhold, Simon
  20. Semiparametric Estimation of Treatment Effects in Randomized Experiments By Susan Athey; Peter J. Bickel; Aiyou Chen; Guido W. Imbens; Michael Pollmann
  21. Prosociality Predicts Individual Behavior and Collective Outcomes in the COVID-19 Pandemic By Ximeng Fang; Timo Freyer; Chui Yee Ho; Zihua Chen; Lorenz Goette
  22. Analysing conjoint experiments in Stata: the conjoint command By Michael J. Frith
  23. The Implications of Self-Reported Body Weight and Height for Measurement Error in BMI By Davillas, Apostolos; Jones, Andrew M.
  24. Can Economic Experiments Contribute to a More Effective CAP? By Marianne Lefebvre; Jesus Barreiro-Hurlé; Ciaran Blanchflower; Liesbeth Colen; Laure Kuhfuss; Jens Rommel; Tanja Šumrada; Fabian Thomas; Sophie Thoyer

  1. By: Boomsma, Mirthe (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Philipp Chapkovski (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russian Federation); Luca Corazzini (Department of Economics, University Of Venice CÃ Foscari); Valeria Maggian (Department of Economics, University Of Venice CÃ Foscari)
    Abstract: Whistleblowing is a powerful and rather inexpensive instrument to contrast tax evasion. Despite the deterrent effects on tax evasion, whistleblowing can reduce trust and undermine agents’ attitude to cooperate with group members. Yet, no study has investigated the potential spillover effects of whistleblowing on ingroup cooperation. This paper reports results of a laboratory experiment in which subjects participate in two consecutive phases in unchanging groups: a tax evasion game, followed by a generalized gift exchange game. Two dimensions are manipulated in our experiment: the inclusion of a whistleblowing stage in which, after observing others’ declared incomes, subjects can signal other group members to the tax authority, and the provision of information about the content of the second phase before the tax evasion game is played. Our results show that whistleblowing is effective in both curbing tax evasion and improving the precision of tax auditing. Moreover, we detect no statistically significant spillover effects of whistleblowing on ingroup cooperation in the subsequent generalized gift exchange game, with this result being unaffected by the provision of information about the experimental task in the second phase. Finally, the provision of information does not significantly alter subjects’ (tax and whistleblowing) choices in the tax evasion game: thus, knowledge about perspective ingroup cooperation did not alter attitude towards whistleblowing.
    Keywords: Tax evasion, whistleblowing, ingroup cooperation, spillover effects, laboratory experiment
    JEL: H26 C90 D02
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Peter Andre
    Abstract: Meritocracies aspire to reward effort and hard work but promise not to judge individuals by the circumstances they were born into. The choice to work hard is, however, often shaped by circumstances. This study investigates whether people’s merit judgments are sensitive to this endogeneity of choice. In a series of incentivized experiments with a large, representative US sample, study participants judge how much money two workers deserve for the effort they exerted. In the treatment condition, unequal circumstances strongly discourage one of the workers from working hard. Nonetheless, I find that individuals hold the disadvantaged worker fully responsible for his choice. They do so, even though they understand that choices are strongly influenced by circumstances. Additional experiments identify the cause of this neglect. In light of an uncertain counterfactual state – what would have happened on a level playing field – participants base their merit judgments on the only reliable evidence they possess - observed effort levels. I confirm these patterns in a structural model of merit views and a vignette study with real-world scenarios.
    Keywords: Meritocracy, attitudes toward inequality, redistribution, fairness, responsibility, social preferences, inference, uncertain counterfactual
    JEL: C91 D63 D91 H23
    Date: 2021–09
  4. By: John Duffy; Janet Hua Jiang; Huan Xie
    Abstract: We study indefinitely-lived assets in experimental markets and find that the traded prices of these assets are on average about 40% of the risk neutral fundamental value. Neither uncertainty about the value of total dividend payments nor horizon uncertainty about the duration of trade can account for this low traded price, while the temporal resolution of payoff uncertainty plays a crucial role. We show that an Epstein and Zin (1989) recursive preference specification together with probability weighting can rationalize the low traded prices observed in our indefinite-horizon asset markets, while risk attitudes do not play such an important role. Nous étudions les actifs à durée de vie indéfinie sur des marchés expérimentaux et constatons que les prix négociés de ces actifs représentent en moyenne environ 40% de la valeur fondamentale neutre en termes de risque. Ni l'incertitude sur la valeur des paiements de dividendes totaux ni l'incertitude sur l'horizon de la durée des échanges ne peuvent expliquer ce faible prix négocié, alors que la résolution temporelle de l'incertitude sur les paiements joue un rôle crucial. Nous montrons qu'une spécification de préférence récursive d'Epstein et Zin (1989) associée à une pondération des probabilités peut rationaliser les faibles prix négociés observés sur nos marchés d'actifs à horizon indéfini, alors que les attitudes à l'égard du risque ne jouent pas un rôle aussi important.
    Keywords: asset pricing,behavioral finance,experiments,indefinite horizon,random termination,risk and uncertainty,Epstein-Zin recursive preferences,probability weighting, évaluation des actifs,finance comportementale,expériences,fin aléatoire,risque et incertitude,préférences récursives d'Epstein-Zin,pondération des probabilités,horizon indéfini
    JEL: C91 C92 D81 G12
    Date: 2021–09–09
  5. By: Claire Rimbaud (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); Alice Soldà (Heidelberg University)
    Abstract: Pro-social individuals face a trade-off between their monetary and moral motives. Hence, they may be tempted to exploit the uncertainty in their decision environment in order to reconcile this trade-off. In this paper, we investigate whether individuals with belief-dependent preferences avoid the monetary cost of behaving according to their moral standards by strategically acquiring information about others'expectations. We test the predictions of an information acquisition model in an online experiment. We use a modified trust-game in which we introduce uncertainty about the second movers' beliefs about first-movers' expectations. Our design enables to (i) identify participants with belief-based preferences and (ii) investigate their information acquisition strategy.Consistent with our predictions of subjective preferences, we find that most individuals classified as belief-dependent strategically select their source of information to avoid the cost of their conscience.
    Keywords: Belief-dependent preferences,illusory preferences,information acquisition,self-serving biases,experiment Belief-dependent preferences,experiment
    Date: 2021–08–25
  6. By: Peter Andre (University of Bonn)
    Abstract: Meritocracies aspire to reward effort and hard work but promise not to judge individuals by the circumstances they were born into. The choice to work hard is, however, often shaped by circumstances. This study investigates whether people's merit judgments are sensitive to this endogeneity of choice. In a series of incentivized experiments with a large, representative US sample, study participants judge how much money two workers deserve for the effort they exerted. In the treatment condition, unequal circumstances strongly discourage one of the workers from working hard. Nonetheless, I find that individuals hold the disadvantaged worker fully responsible for his choice. They do so, even though they understand that choices are strongly influenced by circumstances. Additional experiments identify the cause of this neglect. In light of an uncertain counterfactual state -- what would have happened on a level playing field -- participants base their merit judgments on the only reliable evidence they possess: observed effort levels. I confirm these patterns in a structural model of merit views and a vignette study with real-world scenarios.
    Keywords: Meritocracy, attitudes toward inequality, redistribution, fairness, responsibility, social preferences, inference, uncertain counterfactual
    Date: 2021–09
  7. By: Abdel Sater, Rita; Perona, Mathieu (CEPREMAP); huillery, elise; Chevallier, Coralie
    Abstract: While indoor air pollution is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, its sources and impacts are largely misunderstood by the public. In a randomized controlled trial including 281 households in France, we test two interventions aimed at raising households' awareness of indoor pollutants and ultimately improving indoor air quality. While both generic and personalised information increase awareness, only personalised information is successful in shifting behaviour and decreasing indoor air pollution - by 20% compared to the control group. Heterogeneous treatment effects show that this effect is concentrated on the most polluted households at baseline.
    Date: 2021–09–09
  8. By: Catia Batista; David McKenzie
    Abstract: We test the predictions of different classic migration theories by using incentivized laboratory experiments to investigate how potential migrants decide between working in different destinations. We test theories of income maximization, migrant skill-selection, and multidestination choice as we vary migration costs, liquidity constraints, risk, social benefits, and incomplete information. We show the standard income maximization model of migration with selection on observed and unobserved skills leads to a much higher migration rate and more negative skill-selection than is obtained when migration decisions take place under more realistic assumptions. Second, we investigate whether the independence of irrelevant alternatives (IIA) assumption holds. We find it holds for most people when decisions just involve wages, costs, and liquidity constraints. However, once we add a risk of unemployment and incomplete information, IIA no longer holds for about 20 percent of our sample.
    Keywords: Migrant selection, destination choice, lab experiment, IIA
    JEL: D12 C39 I15 I18 O18 Q53
    Date: 2021
  9. By: Gyula Seres; Anna Balleyer; Nicola Cerutti; Jana Friedrichsen; Müge Süer
    Abstract: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the introduction of mandatory face mask usage triggered a heated debate. A major point of debate is whether community use of masks creates a false sense of security that would diminish physical distancing, counteracting any potential direct benefit from masking. We conducted a randomized field experiment in Berlin, Germany, to investigate how masks affect distancing and whether the mask effect interacts with the introduction of an indoor mask mandate. Joining waiting lines in front of stores, we measured distances kept from the experimenter in two treatment conditions { the experimenter wore a mask in one and no face covering in the other { in two time spans { before and after mask use becoming mandatory in stores. We find no evidence that mandatory masking has a negative effect on distance kept toward a masked person. To the contrary, masks significantly increase distancing and the effect does not differ between the two periods. However, we show that after the mandate, distances are shorter in locations where more non-essential stores, which were closed before the mandate, had reopened. We argue that the relaxations in general restrictions that coincided with the mask mandate led individuals to reduce other precautions, like keeping a safe distance.
    Keywords: COVID-19, face masks, social distancing, risk compensation, field experiment, health policy
    JEL: I12 D9 C93
    Date: 2021
  10. By: Christian Belzil; Julie Pernaudet; François Poinas
    Abstract: Imagine the situation in which an econometrician can infer the distribution of welfare gains induced by the provision of higher education financial aid using survey data obtained from a set of individuals, and can estimate the same distribution using a highly incentivized field experiment in which the same set of individuals participated. In the experimental setting relying on incentivized choices, making the wrong decision can be costly. In the survey, the stakes are null and reporting false intentions and expectations is costless. In this paper, we evaluate the extent to which the decomposition of the two welfare gain distributions into latent factors are coherent. We find that individuals often put a much different weight to a specific set of determinants in the experiment and in the survey and that the valuations of financial aid are rank incoherent. About 66% of Biased Incoherency (defined as the tendency to have a higher valuation rank in the experiment than in the survey) is explained by individual heterogeneity in subjective benefits, costs and other factors and about half of these factors affect the welfare gains of financial aid in the survey and in the experiment in opposite directions. Ex-ante policy evaluation of a potential expansion of the higher education financial aid system may therefore depend heavily on whether or not the data have been obtained in an incentivized context. Imaginez la situation dans laquelle un économètre peut déduire la distribution des gains de bien-être induits par l'octroi d'une aide financière à l'enseignement supérieur à l'aide de données d'enquête obtenues auprès d'un ensemble d'individus, et peut estimer la même distribution à l'aide d'une expérience de terrain fortement incitative à laquelle le même ensemble d'individus a participé. Dans le cadre expérimental reposant sur des choix incitatifs, prendre une mauvaise décision peut être coûteux. Dans l'enquête, l'enjeu est nul et la déclaration de fausses intentions et attentes est sans coût. Dans cet article, nous évaluons dans quelle mesure la décomposition des deux distributions de gains de bien-être en facteurs latents est cohérente. Nous constatons que les individus accordent souvent un poids très différent à un ensemble spécifique de déterminants dans l'expérience et dans l'enquête et que les évaluations de l'aide financière sont incohérentes. Environ 66% de l'incohérence biaisée (définie comme la tendance à avoir un rang d'évaluation plus élevé dans l'expérience que dans l'enquête) s'explique par l'hétérogénéité individuelle des avantages subjectifs, des coûts et d'autres facteurs et environ la moitié de ces facteurs affectent les gains de bien-être de l'aide financière dans l'enquête et dans l'expérience dans des directions opposées. L'évaluation politique ex ante d'une expansion potentielle du système d'aide financière à l'enseignement supérieur peut donc dépendre fortement du fait que les données ont été obtenues ou non dans un contexte incitatif.
    Keywords: Field experiment,survey data,coherency,incentives, Expérience sur le terrain,données d'enquête,cohérence,incitations
    JEL: I2 C91 C93 D12 D9 D91
    Date: 2021–09–07
  11. By: Ella Marley-Zagar (MCR Clinical Traits Unit at University College London, UK); Ian R. White (MCR Clinical Traits Unit at University College London, UK); Mahesh K. B. Parmar (MCR Clinical Traits Unit at University College London, UK); Patrick Royston (MCR Clinical Traits Unit at University College London, UK); Abdel G. Babiker (MCR Clinical Traits Unit at University College London, UK)
    Abstract: Sample size calculation is essential in the design of a randomised clinical trial in order to ensure that there is adequate power to evaluate treatment. It is also used in the design of randomised experiments in other fields such as education, international development and social science. We describe the command artbin, to calculate sample size or power for a clinical trial or similar experiment with a binary outcome. A particular feature of artbin is that it can be used to design non-inferiority (NI) and substantial-superiority (SS) trials. Non-inferiority trials are used in the development of new treatment regimes, to test whether the experimental treatment is no worse than an existing treatment by more than a pre-specified amount. NI trials are used when the intervention is not expected to be superior, but has other benefits such as offering a shorter less complex regime that can reduce the risk of drug-resistant strains developing, of particular concern for countries without robust health care systems. We illustrate the command’s use in the STREAM trial, an NI design that demonstrated a shorter more intensive treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis was only 1% less effective than the lengthier treatment recommended by the World Health Organisation. artbin also differs from the offical power command by allowing a wide range of statistical tests (score, Wald, conditional, trend across K groups), and offering calculations under local or distant alternatives, with or without continuity correction. artbin has been available since 2004 but recent updates include clearer syntax, clear documentation and some new features.
    Date: 2021–09–12
  12. By: Felix Holzmeister (Department of Economics, University of Innsbruck); Christoph Huber (Institute of Markets and Strategy, Vienna University of Economics and Business); Stefan Palan (Institute of Banking and Finance, University of Graz)
    Abstract: Risk is one of the key aspects in financial decision-making and therefore an integral part of the behavioral economics and finance literature. Focusing on the conceptualization of the term ``risk'', which researchers have addressed from numerous angles, this comment aims to offer a critical perspective on the interactions between risk preferences (a latent trait), risk perceptions (how individuals judge whether something is risky), and risk-taking behavior as distinct concepts, and hence to guide future research on (individual-level) decision-making processes in this direction.
    Date: 2021–09–15
  13. By: Emmanuel Kemel (GREGHEC, HEC Paris - Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Corina Paraschiv (LIRAES - EA 4470 - Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Recherche Appliquée en Economie de la Santé - UP - Université de Paris)
    Abstract: This paper presents an experiment that investigates differences of risk attitudes in decisions with immediate versus delayed consequences. Our experimental design allows to control for the effects of discounting and timing of risk resolution. We show that individuals are more risk tolerant in situations involving delayed consequences. Investigations based on rank-dependent utility show that this finding is mainly driven by probability weighting. More precisely, probability weighting is more elevated for delayed consequences, suggesting an overall increase in decision maker's optimism regarding the chances of success associated to risks for which consequences materialize in the future.
    Keywords: Risk Attitudes,Time,Rank Dependent Utility,Delay,Future Consequences D81,D90,C91
    Date: 2021–08–31
  14. By: Ahmed, Akhter; Hoddinott, John F.; Roy, Shalini
    Abstract: In Bangladesh, social protection programs have the potential to uplift the most vulnerable out of poverty. Until recently, however, these programs have had little impact on nutrition. Results from a randomized controlled trial in Bangladesh – the Transfer Modality Research Initiative – provides the proof of concept that combining social safety net transfers with nutrition behavior change communication (BCC) can significantly improve household food security and child nutrition, and these impacts can be sustained over time.
    Keywords: BANGLADESH; SOUTH ASIA; ASIA; nutrition; social protection; social safety nets; cash transfers; policies; poverty; food security; behavior change communication
    Date: 2021
  15. By: Eyring, Henry; Ferguson, Patrick J.; Koppers, Sebastian
    Abstract: We use a field experiment in professional sports to compare effects of providing absolute, relative, or both absolute and relative measures in performance reports for employees. Although studies have documented that the provision of these types of measures can benefit performance, theory from economic and accounting literature suggests that it may be optimal for firms to direct employees’ attention to some types of measures by omitting others. In line with this theory, we find that relative performance information alone yields the best performance effects in our setting—that is, that a subset of information (relative performance information) dominates the full information set (absolute and relative performance information together) in boosting performance. In cross-sectional and survey-data analyses, we do not find that restricting the number of measures shown per se benefits performance. Rather, we find that restricting the type of measures shown to convey only relative information increases involvement in peer-performance comparison, benefitting performance. Our findings extend research on weighting of and responses to measures in performance reports.
    Keywords: Wiley deal
    JEL: M40
    Date: 2021–05–01
  16. By: Griesoph, Amelie; Hoffmann, Stefan; Merk, Christine; Rehdanz, Katrin; Schmidt, Ulrich
    Abstract: Social norms, also called social comparison nudges, have been shown to be particularly effective in promoting healthy food choices and environmentally friendly behaviors. However, there is limited evidence on the effectiveness of these nudges for promoting sustainable and climate-friendly food choices and their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the related SDGs. The paper reports a field experiment that tests the effectiveness of two social norms in a real-life setting based on revealed preferences. The study distinguishes between the widely researched descriptive norms and guessed norms, the latter being tested in this context for the first time. While descriptive norms communicate typical patterns of behavior (e.g., 50% of canteen visitors choose vegetarian meals), guessed norms are determined by the individual’s best guess about the norm in a specific context. The results confirm a remarkable nudging effect of guessed norms: The higher the presumed proportion of vegetarian dishes sold, the lower the probability of choosing a vegetarian dish. Surprisingly, this effect is independent of the respective norm specification (meat or vegetarian norm). The paper provides advice for policy makers about when and how to use guessed norms.
    Keywords: climate-friendly behavior,field experiment,guessed norm,nudging,social norms
    Date: 2021
  17. By: Susan Athey (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University); Katy Ann Bergstrom (Development Research Group, The World Bank); Vitor Hadad (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University); Julian C. Jamison (Department of Economics, University of Exeter); Berk Özler (Development Research Group, The World Bank); Luca Parisotto (The World Bank); Julius Dohbit Samaa (University of Yaoundé)
    Abstract: Long-acting reversible contraceptives are highly effective in preventing unintended pregnancies, but take-up remains low. This paper analyzes a randomized controlled trial of interventions addressing two barriers to long-acting reversible contraceptive adoption, credit, and informational constraints. The study offered discounts to the clients of a women's hospital in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and cross-randomized a counseling strategy that encourages shared decision-making using a tablet-based app that ranks modern methods. Discounts increased uptake by 50 percent, with larger effects for adolescents. Shared decision-making tripled the share of clients adopting a long-acting reversible contraceptive at full price, from 11 to 35 percent, and discounts had no incremental impact in this group.
    Keywords: family planning, fertility, long-acting reversible contraceptives, heterogenous treatment effects
    JEL: C13 C93 D91 I15 J13 O12
    Date: 2021–09–16
  18. By: Nobuyuki Hanaki; Keigo Inukai; Takehito Masuda; Yuta Shimodaira
    Abstract: We summarize the experimentally measured characteristics of the registered participants of the experiments conducted at the Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University. Measured characteristics include fluid intelligence, risk preference (risk aversion, prudence, and temperance), social value orientation, theory of mind, personality (Big Five and Grit), ability to backward induct, as well as their general trust. We discuss reliability of these measures and correlation among them.
    Date: 2021–09
  19. By: Hermes, Henning (NHH Bergen,Norway); Lergetporer, Philipp (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Peter, Frauke (DIW Berlin); Wiederhold, Simon (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Children with lower socioeconomic status (SES) tend to benefit more from early child care, but are substantially less likely to be enrolled. We study whether reducing behavioral barriers in the application process increases enrollment in child care for lower-SES children. In our RCT in Germany with highly subsidized child care (n > 600), treated families receive application information and personal assistance for applications. For lower-SES families, the treatment increases child care application rates by 21 pp and enrollment rates by 16 pp. Higher-SES families are not affected by the treatment. Thus, alleviating behavioral barriers closes half of the SES gap in early child care enrollment.
    Keywords: child care, early childhood, behavioral barriers, information, educational inequality, randomized controlled trial
    JEL: I21 J13 J18 J24 C93
    Date: 2021–08
  20. By: Susan Athey; Peter J. Bickel; Aiyou Chen; Guido W. Imbens; Michael Pollmann
    Abstract: We develop new semiparametric methods for estimating treatment effects. We focus on a setting where the outcome distributions may be thick tailed, where treatment effects are small, where sample sizes are large and where assignment is completely random. This setting is of particular interest in recent experimentation in tech companies. We propose using parametric models for the treatment effects, as opposed to parametric models for the full outcome distributions. This leads to semiparametric models for the outcome distributions. We derive the semiparametric efficiency bound for this setting, and propose efficient estimators. In the case with a constant treatment effect one of the proposed estimators has an interesting interpretation as a weighted average of quantile treatment effects, with the weights proportional to (minus) the second derivative of the log of the density of the potential outcomes. Our analysis also results in an extension of Huber's model and trimmed mean to include asymmetry and a simplified condition on linear combinations of order statistics, which may be of independent interest.
    Date: 2021–09
  21. By: Ximeng Fang; Timo Freyer; Chui Yee Ho; Zihua Chen; Lorenz Goette
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic induces a typical social dilemma situation, as engaging in preventive behaviors such as social distancing is costly for individuals, but generates benefits that accrue to society at large. The extent to which individuals internalize the social impact of their actions may depend on their (pro-)social preferences. We leverage a nationally representative survey in Germany (n = 5,843), conducted during the second coronavirus wave, to investigate the role of prosociality in reducing the spread of COVID-19. At the individual level, higher prosociality is strongly positively related to compliance with recommended public health behaviors. At the regional (NUTS-2) level, higher average prosociality is associated with significantly lower incidence and growth rates of COVID-19 infections. This association is robust to controlling for a host of regional socio-economic factors, and mediated by stronger average compliance with public health measures. Our correlational results thus confirm the notion that voluntary behavioral change due to prosocial motivations can play an important role in the pandemic.
    Keywords: COVID-19, collective action, prosociality, economic preferences, online survey
    JEL: D64 I12 I18 H41
    Date: 2021–09
  22. By: Michael J. Frith (University College London)
    Abstract: This talk presents conjoint, a new Stata command for analysing and visualising conjoint (factorial) experiments in Stata. Using examples of conjoint experiments from the growing literature - including two from political science involving choices between immigrants (Hainmueller et al., 2014) and between return locations for refugees (Ghosn et al., 2021) - I will briefly explain conjoint experiments and how they are used. Then, and with reference to existing packages and commands in other software, I will explain how conjoint functions to estimate and visualise the two common estimands: average marginal component effects (AMCE) and marginal means (MM). Limitations of conjoint and possible improvements to the command will also be discussed.
    Date: 2021–09–12
  23. By: Davillas, Apostolos (University of East Anglia); Jones, Andrew M. (University of York)
    Abstract: We designed an experiment to explore the extent of measurement error in body mass index (BMI), when based on self-reported body weight and height. We find that there is a systematic age gradient in the reporting error in BMI, while there is limited evidence of systematic associations with gender, education and income. This is reassuring evidence for the use of self-reported BMI in studies that use it as an outcome, for example, to analyse socioeconomic gradients in obesity. However, our results suggest a complex structure of non-classical measurement error in BMI, depending on both individuals' and within-household peers' true BMI. This may bias studies that use BMI based on self-reported data as a regressor. Common methods to mitigate reporting error in BMI using predictions from corrective equations do not fully eliminate reporting heterogeneity associated with individual and within-household true BMI. Overall, the presence of non-classical error in BMI highlights the importance of collecting measured body weight and height data in large social science datasets.
    Keywords: BMI, experiment, measurement error, reporting bias
    JEL: I10 C18 C50
    Date: 2021–08
  24. By: Marianne Lefebvre (UA - Université d'Angers); Jesus Barreiro-Hurlé (Joint Research center - European Commission); Ciaran Blanchflower (UA - Université d'Angers); Liesbeth Colen (University of Göttingen - Georg-August-Universität Göttingen); Laure Kuhfuss (The James Hutton Institute); Jens Rommel (SLU - Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences); Tanja Šumrada (University of Ljubljana); Fabian Thomas (OS UAS - Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences - Hochschule Osnabrück); Sophie Thoyer (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - UMR 5211 - 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: In order to keep pace with the evolution of the objectives and means of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy, evaluation tools also need to adapt. A set of tools that have proved highly effective in other policy fields is economic xperiments. These allow the testing of a new policy before its implementation, provide evidence of its specific effects, and identify behavioural dimensions that can influence policy outcomes. We argue that agricultural policy should be subject to economic experiments, providing examples to illustrate how they can inform CAP design. We identify the additional efforts needed to establish further proof-of- concept, by running more –and more robust –experiments related to the CAP. This can happen only by integrating experimental evaluation results within the policy cycle and addressing ethical and practical challenges seriously. To do so, researchers would benefit from a concerted European effort to promote the methodology across the EU; organise the replication in time and across Europ of experiments relevant for the CAP; and build a multi-national panel of farmers willing to participate in experiments. Steps are being taken in this direction by the Research Network of Economics Experiments for CAP evaluation (REECAP).
    Abstract: Face à l'évolution des objectifs et des moyens de la politique agricole commune de l'Union européenne, les outils d'évaluation doivent également s'adapter. Les expérimentations économiques sont un ensemble d'outils qui se sont avérés très efficaces dans d'autres domaine d'action des pouvoirs publics. Elles permettent de tester une nouvelle politique avant sa mise en oeuvre, fournissent des informations sur les effets spécifiques de cette politique et identifient les dimensions comportementales qui peuvent influencer ses résultats. Nous soutenons que la politique agricole devrait être l'objet d'expérimentations économiques et fournissons des exemples pour illustrer comment celles-ci peuvent éclairer la formulation de la PAC. Nous identifions les efforts supplémentaires nécessaires pour établir d'autres preuves de concept, en menant des expérimentations liées à la PAC plus nombreuses -et plus robustes. Cela ne peut se faire qu'en intégrant les résultats des évaluations expérimentales dans le cycle de la politique et en s'attaquant sérieusement aux défis éthiques et pratiques. Pour ce faire, les chercheurs bénéficieraient d'un effort européen concerté pour promouvoir la méthodologie à travers l'Union européenne ; organiser la réplication dans le temps et à travers l'Europe d'expérimentations pertinentes pour la PAC ; et constituer un panel multinational d'agriculteurs désireux de participer à ces expérimentations. Des mesures sont prises dans ce sens par le Réseau de recherche sur les expérimentations économiques pour l'évaluation de la PAC (REECAP).
    Keywords: Experimental economics,Common Agricultural Policy,Evaluation tools
    Date: 2021–08–17

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