nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2022‒05‒02
28 papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Game Dynamics Structure Control by Design: an Example from Experimental Economics By Wang Zhijian
  2. How to Remind People to Work Out via Feedback: Evidence from a Field Experiment By Jin, Liyin; Li, Lingfang (Ivy); Zhou, Yi; Zhou, Yifang
  3. How to Reduce Discrimination? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Amateur Soccer By Dur, Robert; Gomez-Gonzalez, Carlos; Nesseler, Cornel
  4. Reducing Sexual-Orientation Discrimination: Experimental Evidence from Basic Information Treatments By Cevat Giray Aksoy; Christopher S. Carpenter; Ralph de Haas; Mathias Dolls; Lisa Windsteiger
  5. Unintended consequences of corruption indices: an experimental approach By Chapkovski, Philipp
  6. Gender and Collusion By Justus Haucap; Christina Heldman; Holger A. Rau
  7. Correcting Attrition Bias using Changes-in-Changes By Dalia Ghanem; Sarojini Hirshleifer; Desire Kedagni; Karen Ortiz-Becerra
  8. Connectors and Influencers By Syngjoo Choi; Sanjeev Goyal; Frédéric Moisan
  9. Using Donald Trump's COVID-19 Vaccine Endorsement to Give Public Health a Shot in the Arm: A Large-Scale Ad Experiment By Bradley J. Larsen; Timothy J. Ryan; Steven Greene; Marc J. Hetherington; Rahsaan Maxwell; Steven Tadelis
  10. Do intensive guidance programs reduce social inequality in the transition to higher education in Germany? Experimental evidence from the ZuBAb study 0.5 years after high school graduation By Erdmann, Melinda; Pietrzyk, Irena Magdalena; Helbig, Marcel; Jacob, Marita; Stuth, Stefan
  11. Dynamic Structure in Four-strategy Game: Theory and Experiment By Zhijian Wang; Shujie Zhou; Qinmei Yao; Yijia; Wang
  12. Can Moral Reminders Curb Corruption? Evidence from an Online Classroom Experiment By Corinna Claus; Ekkehard A. Köhler; Tim Krieger
  13. Endogenous interdependent preferences in a dynamical contest model By Fausto Cavalli; Mario Gilli; Ahmad Naimzada
  14. Covid-19 and Pro-Sociality: How Do Donors Respond to Local Pandemic Severity, Increased Salience, and Media Coverage? By Maja Adena; Julian Harke
  15. Disentangling the Attractiveness of Telework to Employees: A Factorial Survey Experiment By Moens, Eline; Verhofstadt, Elsy; Van Ootegem, Luc; Baert, Stijn
  16. Disentangling the attractiveness of telework to employees: a factorial survey experiment By Moens, Eline; Verhofstadt, Elsy; Van Ootegem, Luc; Baertiv, Stijn
  17. Learning from unincentivized and incentivized communication: a randomized controlled trial in India By Alem, Yonas; Dugoua, Eugenie
  18. The impact of ETF index inclusion on stock prices By Duffy, John; Friedman, Dan; Rabanal, Jean Paul; Rud, Olga
  19. Text messages to incentivise response in a web-first sequential mixed-mode survey By Cabrera Alvarez, Pablo; Lynn, Peter
  20. Men are from Mars, and women too: a Bayesian meta-analysis of overconfidence experiments By Bandiera, Oriana; Parekh, Nidhi; Petrongolo, Barbara; Rao, Michelle
  21. Spreading Consensus: Correcting Misperceptions about the Views of the Medical Community Has Lasting Impacts on Covid-19 Vaccine Take-up By Vojtech Bartos; Michal Bauer; Jana Cahliková; Julie Chytilová
  22. Evidence Snapshot: Financial Incentives By Jillian Stein; Dana Rotz
  23. The Demand for News: Accuracy Concerns versus Belief Confirmation Motives By Felix Chopra; Ingar Haaland; Christopher Roth
  24. Talk or Text? Evaluating Response Rates by Remote Survey Method during Covid-19 By Sofia Amaral; Lelys Dinarte-Diaz; Patricio Dominguez; Steffanny Romero; Santiago M. Perez-Vincent
  25. A general characterization of optimal tie-breaker designs By Harrison H. Li; Art B. Owen
  26. Cooperation and punishment mechanisms in uncertain and dynamic networks By Edoardo Gallo; Yohanes E. Riyanto; Nilanjan Roy; Tat-How Teh
  27. Examining insensitivity to probability in evidence‐based communication of relative risks: the role of affect and communication format By Heard, Claire Louise; Rakow, Tim
  28. Clustered Local Average Treatment Effects: Fields of Study and Academic Student Progress By Nibbering, Didier; Oosterveen, Matthijs; Silva, Pedro Luís

  1. By: Wang Zhijian
    Abstract: Game dynamics structure (e.g., endogenous cycle motion) in human subjects game experiments can be predicted by game dynamics theory. However, whether the structure can be controlled by mechanism design to a desired goal is not known. Here, using the pole assignment approach in modern control theory, we demonstrate how to control the structure in two steps: (1) Illustrate an theoretical workflow on how to design a state-depended feedback controller for desired structure; (2) Evaluate the controller by laboratory human subject game experiments and by agent-based evolutionary dynamics simulation. To our knowledge, this is the first realisation of the control of the human social game dynamics structure in theory and experiment.
    Date: 2022–03
  2. By: Jin, Liyin; Li, Lingfang (Ivy); Zhou, Yi; Zhou, Yifang
    Abstract: Physical activity is a very important aspect of individuals’ quality of life. Health and behavioral studies have long sought to induce people to work out and form a habit to exercise. In this study, we design and conduct an 8-week longitudinal field experiment on an ex post feedback mechanism to motivate people to exercise. We designed feedback messages in two dimensions. One dimension varied the feedback messages according to whether they attributed the performance to participants’ own efforts (i.e., effort attribution treatment), and the other dimension adopted different personal pronoun (either the first-person pronoun, i.e., “I message” or the second-person pronoun, i.e.,“You message”) to examine whether the deictic relational framing of the feedback matters (i.e., deictic relational framing treatment). The experiment used an exercising recording applet embedded in WeChat. We find that for the immediate effect, the “You message + effort emphasized” message performed the best. As for the overall effect when feedback is provided, participants in the “I message” and “You message + effort emphasized” treatment groups achieved their weekly exercise goals in about one more week than participants in the control group. But when feedback is no longer provided, the influence of both treatment groups failed to endure; the influence of the “You message + effort emphasized” treatment even reversed. We also find that the effect of feedback is stronger among participants whose subjective ability of self-control and intrinsic motivation to work out are low.
    Keywords: work out, feedback, deictic relational framing, attribution theory,field experiment
    JEL: D03 I12
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Dur, Robert (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Gomez-Gonzalez, Carlos (University of Zurich); Nesseler, Cornel (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU))
    Abstract: A rich literature shows that ethnic discrimination is an omnipresent and highly persistent phenomenon. Little is known, however, about how to reduce discrimination. This study reports the results of a large-scale field experiment we ran together with the Norwegian Football Federation. The federation sent an email to a random selection of about 500 amateur soccer coaches, pointing towards the important role that soccer can play in promoting inclusivity and reducing racism in society and calling on the coaches to be open to all interested applicants. Two weeks later, we sent fictitious applications to join an amateur club, using either a native-sounding or a foreign-sounding name, to the same coaches and to a random selection of about 500 coaches who form the control group. In line with earlier research, we find that applications from people with a native-sounding name receive significantly more positive responses than applications from people with a foreign-sounding name. Surprisingly and unintentionally, the email from the federation substantially increased rather than decreased this gap. Our study underlines the importance of running field experiments to check whether well-intended initiatives are effective in reducing discrimination.
    Keywords: ethnic discrimination, intervention, field experiment, correspondence test, amateur soccer
    JEL: C93 J15 Z29
    Date: 2022–03
  4. By: Cevat Giray Aksoy; Christopher S. Carpenter; Ralph de Haas; Mathias Dolls; Lisa Windsteiger
    Abstract: We study basic information treatments regarding sexual orientation using randomized experiments in three countries with strong and widespread anti-gay attitudes: Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Participants who received information about the economic costs to society of sexual-orientation discrimination were significantly more likely than those in a control group to support equal employment opportunities based on sexual orientation. Information that the World Health Organization (WHO) does not regard homosexuality as a mental illness increased social acceptance of sexual minorities, but only for those who reported trust in the WHO. Our results have important implications for policy makers aiming to expand the rights of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people worldwide.
    Keywords: sexual minorities, information treatments, discrimination, attitudes
    JEL: D91 J16 J71 O15
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Chapkovski, Philipp
    Abstract: Using the results of a large-scale (N=900) online experiment, this paper investigates how the information about a group corruption level may harm intergroup relations. Corruption indices are widely used as a measure of quality of governance. But in addition to be a valuable tool for investors and policy makers for making informed decisions, they may also result in statistical discrimination: people from a more ‘corrupt’ region may be perceived as less trustworthy or more inclined to dishonest behavior. We manipulated the amount of information people have about three different Russian regions in two simple behavioral games (‘Cheating game’ and Trust game). In a Cheating game after the main stage where they report whether they observed a head or a tail on a flipped coin, they guessed how many participants in each of the three regions reported more personally profitable outcome (heads) as well as make trasfer decisions in a standard trust game. In the baseline treatment we provided them with a set of generic information about each region (such as population size), while in the main treatment they were additionally informed about the degree of perceived corruption in each region. The presence of corruption information made people substantially overestimate the degree of dishonesty in more ‘corrupt’ regions and decreased the trust towards a person from this region. The results demonstrate the potentially harmful unintended consequences of corruption indices that have to be taken into account by policy makers.
    Keywords: Corruption; experiments; online research; survey research
    JEL: C90 C92 D73 Z13
    Date: 2022–03–30
  6. By: Justus Haucap; Christina Heldman; Holger A. Rau
    Abstract: Many cartels are formed by individual managers of different firms, but not by firms as collectives. However, most of the literature in industrial economics neglects individuals’ incentives to form cartels. Although oligopoly experiments reveal important insights on individuals acting as firms, they largely ignore individual heterogeneity, such as gender differences. We experimentally analyze gender differences in prisoner’s dilemmas, where collusive behavior harms a passive third party. In a control treatment, no externality exists. To study the influence of social distance, we compare subjects’ collusive behaviour in a within-subjects setting. In the first game, subjects have no information on other players, whereas they are informed about personal characteristics in the second game. Results show that guilt-averse women are significantly less inclined to collude than men when collusion harms a third party. No gender difference can be found in the absence of a negative externality. Interestingly, we find that women are not sensitive to the decision context, i.e., even when social distance is small they hardly behave collusively when collusion harms a third party.
    Keywords: collusion, cartels, competition policy, antitrust, gender differences
    JEL: C92 D01 D43 J16 K21 L13 L41
    Date: 2022
  7. By: Dalia Ghanem; Sarojini Hirshleifer; Desire Kedagni; Karen Ortiz-Becerra
    Abstract: Attrition is a common and potentially important threat to internal validity in treatment effect studies. We extend the changes-in-changes approach to identify the average treatment effect for respondents and the entire study population in the presence of attrition. Our method can be applied to randomized experiments as well as difference-in-difference designs. A simulation experiment points to the advantages of this approach relative to one of the most commonly used approaches in the literature, inverse probability weighting. Those advantages are further illustrated with an application to a large-scale randomized experiment.
    Date: 2022–03
  8. By: Syngjoo Choi; Sanjeev Goyal; Frédéric Moisan (Division of Social Science)
    Abstract: We consider a setting in which individuals can purchase information at a cost and form costly links to access information purchased by others. The theory predicts that in every equilibrium of this game the network is a `star'. For small groups, there exists a unique purchase configuration -a pure influencer outcome, in which the hub node purchases information while all others free ride. For large groups, there exists, in addition, a pure connector outcome in which the hub purchases no information and the peripheral players purchase information. We test these predictions on a new experimental platform with asynchronous activity in continuous time. We start with a baseline setting where subjects only see their own payoffs. We find that subjects create a star network. In small groups, the hub purchases equilibrium level information, but in large groups the hub purchases excessive information and as a result earns low payoffs. To study the reasons for this excessive investment we propose a treatment in which subjects see everyone's payoffs. We find that in small groups the pure influencer out- come obtains but that in large groups the pure-connector outcome now becomes common, suggesting that information and group size interact in powerful ways to shape networks and payoffs.
    Date: 2022–04
  9. By: Bradley J. Larsen; Timothy J. Ryan; Steven Greene; Marc J. Hetherington; Rahsaan Maxwell; Steven Tadelis
    Abstract: We report a large-scale randomized controlled trial designed to assess whether the partisan cue of a pro-vaccine message from Donald Trump would induce Americans to get COVID-19 vaccines. Our study involved presenting a 27-second advertisement to millions of U.S. YouTube users in October 2021. Results indicate that the campaign increased the number of vaccines in the average treated county by 103 (p = 0.03). Spread across 1,014 treated counties, the total effect of the campaign was an estimated increase of 104,036 vaccines. The campaign was cost-effective: with an overall budget of about 100,000 dollars, the cost to obtain an additional vaccine was about 1 dollar or less.
    Date: 2022–03
  10. By: Erdmann, Melinda; Pietrzyk, Irena Magdalena; Helbig, Marcel; Jacob, Marita; Stuth, Stefan
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect of an intensive counseling program to promote university access among students who are eligible for university. Using data from the experimental panel study ZuBAb, we examine the average effect on university enrollment directly after high school graduation and the effect heterogeneity by educational background. No positive effect of participation is found. We discuss these results in relation to the potential of reducing inequalities through individual counseling in Germany.
    Keywords: university access,educational intervention,experiment,social origin,Studienaufnahme,Bildungsintervention,Experiment,soziale Herkunft
    Date: 2022
  11. By: Zhijian Wang; Shujie Zhou; Qinmei Yao; Yijia; Wang
    Abstract: Game dynamics theory, as a field of science, the consistency of theory and experiment is essential. In the past 10 years, important progress has been made in the merging of the theory and experiment in this field, in which dynamics cycle is the presentation. However, the merging works have not got rid of the constraints of Euclidean two-dimensional cycle so far. This paper uses a classic four-strategy game to study the dynamic structure (non-Euclidean superplane cycle). The consistency is in significant between the three ways: (1) the analytical results from evolutionary dynamics equations, (2) agent-based simulation results from learning models and (3) laboratory results from human subjects game experiments. The consistency suggests that, game dynamic structure could be quantitatively predictable, observable and controllable in general.
    Date: 2022–03
  12. By: Corinna Claus; Ekkehard A. Köhler; Tim Krieger
    Abstract: Using an incentivized online classroom experiment, we assess the effectiveness of deontological vs. consequentialist moral reminders. Participants were told that they are the responsible public servant for acquiring a Covid-19 vaccine, providing them with the opportunity to generate some extra private income by accepting a bribe. Our findings indicate that a deontological moral reminder (“corruption is immoral”) leads to a significant reduction in accepting bribes. A consequentialist moral reminder, pointing out that bribes are costly to taxpayers, shows no significant effect. Furthermore, we do not find any empirical support that male participants are more corrupt in comparison to female participants. Students majoring in economics or business/management show more corrupt behavior than students studying to become economics school teachers, but the difference is not statistically significant. A person’s disposition towards risk appears to have a strong dissuading effects. Our experiment was conducted before and after the unexpected announcement by pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Pfizer on November 9th, 2020, that they will be able to provide an effective Covid-19 vaccine. This announcement does not correlate with a changed level of bribe-taking.
    Keywords: moral reminder, ethics, corruption, dishonesty, economics students, experiment, Covid-19
    JEL: A20 C91 D73 H12 I20
    Date: 2022
  13. By: Fausto Cavalli; Mario Gilli; Ahmad Naimzada
    Abstract: Outcomes observed in laboratory experiments on contests are often not consistent with the results expected by theoretical models, with phenomena that frequently occur like overbidding or persisting oscillations in strategic choices. Several explanations have been suggested to understand such phenomena, dealing primarily with equilibrium analysis. We propose a dynamical model based on the coevolution of strategic choices and agent preferences. Each agent can have non self-interested preferences, which influence strategic choices and in turn evolve according to them. We show that multiple coexisting steady states characterized by non self-interested preferences can exist, and they lose stability as the prize increases, leading to endogenous oscillating dynamics. Finally, with an emphasis on two specific kinds of agents, we explain how overbidding can emerge. The numerical results show a good qualitative agreement with the experimental data.
    Keywords: Contest models, Endogenous interdependent preferences, Coevolution of strategies and preferences, Multistability, Non convergent dynamics
    Date: 2022–03
  14. By: Maja Adena; Julian Harke
    Abstract: Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected pro-sociality among individuals? After the onset of the pandemic, many charitable appeals were updated to include a reference to COVID-19. Did donors increase their giving in response to such changes? In order to answer these questions, we conducted a real-donation online experiment with more than 4,200 participants from 149 local areas in England and over 21 weeks. First, we varied the fundraising appeal to either include or exclude a reference to COVID-19. We found that including the reference to COVID-19 in the appeal increased donations. Second, in a natural experiment-like approach, we studied how the relative local severity of the pandemic and media coverage about local COVID-19 severity affected giving in our experiment. We found that both higher local severity and more related articles increased giving of participants in the respective areas. This holds for different specifications, including specifications with location fixed effects, time fixed effects, a broad set of individual characteristics to account for a potentially changing composition of the sample over time and to account for health- and work-related experiences with and expectations regarding the pandemic. While negative experiences with COVID-19 correlate negatively with giving, both approaches led us to conclude that the pure effect of increased salience of the pandemic on pro-sociality is positive. Despite the shift in public attention toward the domestic fight against the pandemic and away from developing countries’ challenges, we found that preferences did not shift toward giving more to a national project and less to developing countries.
    Keywords: Covid-19, charitable giving, online experiments, natural experiments
    JEL: C93 D64 D12
    Date: 2022
  15. By: Moens, Eline (Ghent University); Verhofstadt, Elsy (Ghent University); Van Ootegem, Luc (Ghent University); Baert, Stijn (Ghent University)
    Abstract: This research adds to the literature on the attractiveness of telework to employees. To this end, we set up an innovative factorial survey experiment in which a high-quality sample of employees evaluates job offers with diverging characteristics, among which a wide variation in telework possibilities. We find that the relationship between the possibility to telework and job attractiveness is approximately linear: 10 percentage points more telework hours yield a rise of 2.2 percentage points in job attractiveness and, therefore, the willingness to give up an increase of 2.3 percentage points in wage in the new job. Our experimental design also allows us to investigate the underlying mechanisms of this relationship as well as its moderators. We find that the attractiveness of telework is particularly explained by expectations of an improved work-life balance, more work scheduling autonomy, a higher job satisfaction, and more work methods autonomy in jobs with a greater possibility to telework. In addition, our analyses show that less conscientious employees are on average more attracted to jobs with greater telework possibilities, so that it is important that self-selection in jobs with more telework is well-monitored.
    Keywords: telework, job attractiveness, factorial survey experiment
    JEL: J24 J81 J31 J63 I31
    Date: 2022–03
  16. By: Moens, Eline; Verhofstadt, Elsy; Van Ootegem, Luc; Baertiv, Stijn
    Abstract: This research adds to the literature on the attractiveness of telework to employees. To this end, we set up an innovative factorial survey experiment in which a high-quality sample of employees evaluates job offers with diverging characteristics, among which a wide variation in telework possibilities. We find that the relationship between the possibility to telework and job attractiveness is approximately linear: 10 percentage points more telework hours yield a rise of 2.2 percentage points in job attractiveness and, therefore, the willingness to give up an increase of 2.3 percentage points in wage in the new job. Our experimental design also allows us to investigate the underlying mechanisms of this relationship as well as its moderators. We find that the attractiveness of telework is particularly explained by expectations of an improved work-life balance, more work scheduling autonomy, a higher job satisfaction, and more work methods autonomy in jobs with a greater possibility to telework. In addition, our analyses show that less conscientious employees are on average more attracted to jobs with greater telework possibilities, so that it is important that self-selection in jobs with more telework is well-monitored.
    Keywords: telework,job attractiveness,factorial survey experiment
    JEL: J24 J81 J31 J63 I31
    Date: 2022
  17. By: Alem, Yonas; Dugoua, Eugenie
    Abstract: Interactions among peers of the same social network play significant roles in facilitating the adoption and diffusion of modern technologies in poor communities. We conduct a large-scale randomized controlled trial in rural India to identify the impact of information from friends on willingness to pay (WTP) for high-quality and multi-purpose solar lanterns. We offered solar lanterns to seed households from 200 non-electrified villages and randomly assigned three of their friends to two communication treatments (unincentivized and incentivized) that led to different exposure to their seed friend. We also introduce a second treatment to investigate whether the seed’s gender impacts the magnitude of peer effects. We show that unincentivized communication increases WTP for solar lanterns by 90% and incentivized communication by 145%, but gender doesn’t seem to matter. We also show that learning from others is the mechanism that drives the increase in WTP. Our findings have significant implications for policies that aim at promoting the diffusion of new technologies in developing countries. JEL: O33, D83, Q21, Q42 Keywords: Technology Adoption; Peer Effects; Information Flow; Solar Lante
    Keywords: technology adoption; peer effects; information flow; solar lantern
    JEL: O33 D83 Q21 Q42
    Date: 2021–04–02
  18. By: Duffy, John (University of California, Irvine); Friedman, Dan (University of California, Santa Cruz); Rabanal, Jean Paul (University of Stavanger); Rud, Olga (University of Stavanger)
    Abstract: A growing body of evidence suggests that assets included in market indexes such as the S&P 500 trade at a premium relative to other assets. In this paper we look for evidence of such an index inclusion premium in a carefully controlled laboratory experiment. Our environment involves three assets and an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) index asset. We model Authorized Participants (APs) as bots that create and redeem ETF shares by scanning the order books of the underlying assets. In one treatment, all three assets are included in the ETF index asset. In a second treatment, one of the three assets is excluded from the ETF index and is replaced by a second unit of one of the included assets; the included and excluded assets have identical fundamental values enabling a clean test of whether or not there exists an index inclusion premium. We consider a further variant of the excluded asset treatment where short-selling is allowed. We find that: (i) inclusion of an asset in the ETF index results in a substantial index premium, (ii) this result is tied to an order imbalance which arises when an identical asset is excluded from the index, and (iii) the premium and order imbalance persist even if short-selling is allowed.
    Keywords: Index Inclusion; ETF; Experimental Finance
    JEL: G10 G20
    Date: 2022–03–22
  19. By: Cabrera Alvarez, Pablo; Lynn, Peter
    Abstract: This working paper reports research exploring the benefits of adding text messages to the contact strategy in the context of a sequential mixed-mode design where telephone interviewer administration follows a web phase. We present results from a survey experiment embedded in Wave 11 of Understanding Society. Effects of the text messages on survey response and fieldwork efforts were assessed. We also investigated the effect on the device selected to complete the survey, time to response, and sample balance. The results show a weak effect of the SMS reminders on response during the web fieldwork. However, this positive effect did not significantly reduce fieldwork effort.
    Date: 2022–04–20
  20. By: Bandiera, Oriana; Parekh, Nidhi; Petrongolo, Barbara; Rao, Michelle
    Abstract: Gender differences in self-confidence could explain women's under representation in high-income occupations and glass-ceiling effects. We draw lessons from the economic literature via a survey of experts and a Bayesian hierarchical model that aggregates experimental findings over the last twenty years. The experts' survey indicates beliefs that men are overconfident and women under-confident. Yet, the literature reveals that both men and women are typically overconfident. Moreover, the model cannot reject the hypothesis that gender differences in self-confidence are equal to zero. In addition, the estimated pooling factor is low, implying that each study contains little information over a common phenomenon. The discordance can be reconciled if the experts overestimate the pooling factor or have priors that are biased and precise.
    Keywords: gender gaps; overconfidence; Bayesian hierarchical model
    JEL: C91 J16
    Date: 2021–12–17
  21. By: Vojtech Bartos; Michal Bauer; Jana Cahliková; Julie Chytilová
    Abstract: Identifying sources of vaccine hesitancy is one of the central challenges in fighting the Covid- 19 pandemic. In this study, we focus on the role of public misperceptions of doctors’ views. Motivated by widespread concern that media reports create uncertainty in how people perceive expert opinions, even when broad consensus exists, we elicited trust in Covid-19 vaccines held by 9,650 doctors in the Czech Republic. We found evidence of a strong consensus: 90% of doctors trust the vaccines. Next, we conducted a nationally representative survey (N=2,101), and document systemic misperceptions of doctors’ views: more than 90% of respondents underestimate doctors’ trust; the most common belief is that only 50% of doctors trust the vaccines. Finally, we integrate randomized provision of information about the true views held by doctors into a longitudinal data collection, and regularly measure its impacts on vaccine take-up during a nine-month period when the vaccines were gradually rolled out. We find that the treatment recalibrates beliefs and leads to a lasting and stable increase in vaccine demand: individuals who receive the information are 4 percentage points more likely to be vaccinated nine months after the intervention. This paper illuminates how the engagement of professional medical associations, with their unparalleled capacity to elicit individual views of doctors on a large scale, can help to create a cheap, scalable intervention that corrects misperceptions and has lasting impacts on behavior.
    Keywords: Covid-19 vaccine, beliefs, misperceptions, expert consensus, information
    JEL: C93 D83 I12
    Date: 2022
  22. By: Jillian Stein; Dana Rotz
    Abstract: This evidence snapshot describes the effectiveness of programs that were identified by the Pathways Clearinghouse as using financial incentives as their primary service.
    Keywords: Pathways Clearinghouse, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, TANF, welfare, social work, employment, earnings, public benefits, low-income, research, evidence-based, education, interventions, services, randomized controlled trials, quasi-experimental design, systematic review, employment and training, financial incentives, incentives and sanctions
  23. By: Felix Chopra (University of Bonn); Ingar Haaland (University of Bergen); Christopher Roth (University of Cologne and ECONtribute)
    Abstract: "We examine the relative importance of accuracy concerns and belief confirmation motives in driving the demand for news. In experiments with US respondents, we first vary beliefs about whether an outlet reports the news in a right-wing biased, left-wing biased, or unbiased way. We then measure demand for a newsletter covering articles from this outlet. Respondents only reduce their demand for biased news if the bias is inconsistent with their own political beliefs, suggesting a trade-off between accuracy concerns and belief confirmation motives. We quantify this trade-off using a structural model and find a similar quantitative importance of both motives."
    Keywords: News Demand, Media Bias, Accuracy Concerns, Belief Confirmation
    JEL: D83 D91 L82
    Date: 2022–03
  24. By: Sofia Amaral; Lelys Dinarte-Diaz; Patricio Dominguez; Steffanny Romero; Santiago M. Perez-Vincent
    Abstract: Researchers and policy makers face significant challenges in selecting a method to conduct remote surveys, especially when collecting sensitive information or during turbulent life stages of hard-to-reach groups. In the context of the COVID-19 lockdown, we randomly selected about 600 adults in El Salvador to survey using two different tools: telephone interviews or a self-completion survey via WhatsApp. We find that phone-based surveys increase the rate of survey completion by 42 percentage points. We document even larger effects for women and older adults. Although direct costs of phone-based surveys are substantially larger—doubling implementation cost—our estimates imply that when adjusted for the probability of completion, the costs of conducting phone-based surveys can be 25 percent lower.
    Keywords: phone surveys, WhatsApp surveys, response rate, survey experiments
    JEL: C83 C81 C93 D91
    Date: 2022
  25. By: Harrison H. Li; Art B. Owen
    Abstract: In a regression discontinuity design, subjects with a running variable $x$ exceeding a threshold $t$ receive a binary treatment while those with $x\le t$ do not. When the investigator can randomize the treatment, a tie-breaker design allows for greater statistical efficiency. Our setting has random $x\sim F$, a working model where the response satisfies a two line regression model, and two economic constraints. One constraint is on the expected proportion of treated subjects and the other is on how treatment correlates with $x$, to express the strength of a preference for treating subjects with higher $x$. Under these conditions we show that there always exists an optimal design with treatment probabilities piecewise constant in $x$. It is natural to require these treatment probabilities to be non-decreasing in $x$; under this constraint, we find an optimal design requires just two probability levels, when $F$ is continuous. By contrast, a typical tie-breaker design as in Owen and Varian (2020) uses a three level design with fixed treatment probabilities $0$, $0.5$ and $1$. We find large efficiency gains for our optimal designs compared to using those three levels when fewer than half of the subjects are to be treated, or $F$ is not symmetric. Our methods easily extend to the fixed $x$ design problem and can optimize for any efficiency metric that is a continuous functional of the information matrix in the two-line regression. We illustrate the optimal designs with a data example based on Head Start, a U.S. government early-childhood intervention program.
    Date: 2022–02
  26. By: Edoardo Gallo; Yohanes E. Riyanto; Nilanjan Roy; Tat-How Teh
    Abstract: This paper examines experimentally how reputational uncertainty and the rate of change of the social environment determine cooperation. Reputational uncertainty significantly decreases cooperation, while a fast-changing social environment only causes a second-order qualitative increase in cooperation. At the individual level, reputational uncertainty induces more leniency and forgiveness in imposing network punishment through the link proposal and removal processes, inhibiting the formation of cooperative clusters. However, this effect is significant only in the fast-changing environment and not in the slow-changing environment. A substitution pattern between network punishment and action punishment (retaliatory defection) explains this discrepancy across the two social environments.
    Date: 2022–03
  27. By: Heard, Claire Louise; Rakow, Tim
    Abstract: Affect can influence judgments of event riskiness and use of risk-related information. Two studies (Ns: 85 and 100) examined the insensitivity-to-probability effect—where people discount probability information when scenarios are affect-rich—applying it to evidence-informed risk communication. We additionally investigated whether this effect is moderated by format, based on predictions from the evaluability and pattern-recognition literatures, suggesting that graphical formats may attenuate insensitivity to probability. Participants completed a prior beliefs questionnaire (Study 1), and risk perception booklet (both studies) that presented identical statistical information about the relative risks associated with two scenarios—one with an affect-rich outcome, the other an affect-poorer outcome. In Study 1, this was presented graphically. In Study 2, information was presented in one of three formats: written, tabular, or graphical. Participants provided their perceptions of the risk for each scenario at a range of risk-levels. The affect-rich scenario was perceived as higher in risk, and, importantly, despite presenting identical relative risk information in both scenarios, was associated with a reduced sensitivity to probability information (both studies). These differences were predicted by participants’ prior beliefs concerning the scenario events (Study 1) and were larger for the single-item written format than graphical format (Study 2). The findings illustrate that insensitivity to probability information can occur in evidence-informed risk communications and highlight how communication format can moderate this effect. This interplay between affect and format therefore reflects an important consideration for information designers and researchers.
    Keywords: affect; information format; insensitivity-to-probability effect; risk communication; risk perception; sensitivity to probabilities; PhD studentship/Winton Fund
    JEL: G32
    Date: 2021–11–27
  28. By: Nibbering, Didier (Monash University); Oosterveen, Matthijs (University of Porto); Silva, Pedro Luís (University of Porto)
    Abstract: Multiple unordered treatments with a binary instrument for each treatment are common in policy evaluation. This multiple treatment setting allows for different types of changes in treatment status that are non-compliant with the activated instrument. Therefore, instrumental variable (IV) methods have to rely on strong assumptions on the subjects' behavior to identify local average treatment effects (LATEs). This paper introduces a new IV strategy that identifies an interpretable weighted average of LATEs under relaxed assumptions, in the presence of clusters with similar treatments. The clustered LATEs allow for shifts across treatment clusters that are consistent with preference updating, but render IV estimation of individual LATEs biased. The clustered LATEs are estimated by standard IV methods, and we provide an algorithm that estimates the treatment clusters. We empirically analyze the effect of fields of study on academic student progress, and find violations of the LATE assumptions in line with preference updating, clusters with similar fields, treatment effect heterogeneity across students, and significant differences in student progress due to fields of study.
    Keywords: treatment clusters, instrumental variables, multiple treatments, field of study
    JEL: C36 I21 I23
    Date: 2022–03

This nep-exp issue is ©2022 by Daniel Houser. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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.