nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2022‒06‒13
twenty papers chosen by

  1. Lab vs online experiments: no differences By Benjamin Prissé; Diego Jorrat
  2. Social Recognition: Experimental Evidence from Blood Donors By Lorenz Götte; Egon Tripodi
  3. Overcoming Time Inconsistency with a Matched Bet: Theory and Evidence from Exercising By Andrej Woerner
  4. Trust Can Be Learned. Order of moves and agents' behavior in two trust game By Mario A. Maggioni; Domenico Rossignoli
  5. How Do Reward Versus Penalty Framed Incentives Affect Diagnostic Performance in Auditing? By Bright (Yue) Hong; Timothy W. Shields
  6. Can defaults change behavior when post-intervention effort is required? Evidence from education By Behlen, Lars; Himmler, Oliver; Jaeckle, Robert
  7. Motives for Cooperation in the One-Shot Prisoner’s Dilemma By Mark Schneider; Timothy Shields
  8. Is the Price Right? The Role of Morals, Ideology, and Tradeoff Thinking in Explaining Reactions to Price Surges By Julio Elias; Nicola Lacetera; Mario Macis
  9. Revealed Incomplete Preferences By Kirby Nielsen; Luca Rigotti
  10. Social Information and Educational Investment - Nudging Remedial Math Course Participation By Brade, Raphael
  11. Being in Someone Else's Shoes. Order of play and non-zero equilibria in the ultimatum game By Mario A. Maggioni; Domenico Rossignoli
  12. Explicit and Implicit Belief-Based Gender Discrimination: A Hiring Experiment By Kai Barron; Ruth Ditlmann; Stefan Gehrig; Sebastian Schweighofer-Kodritsch
  13. De l’homo oeconomicus empathique à l’homo sympathicus Les apports de la sympathie smithienne à la compréhension des comportements prosociaux By Vanessa Oltra
  14. The Benefits of Early Work Experience for School Dropouts: Evidence from a Field Experiment By Jérémy Hervelin; Pierre Villedieu
  15. Gender Bias in Perceived Quality. An Experiment with Elite Soccer Performance By Carlos Gomez-Gonzalez; Helmut Dietl; David Berri; Cornel Nesseler
  16. Guilt Aversion in (New) Games: Does Partners' Vulnerability Matter? By Giuseppe Attanasi; Claire Rimbaud; Marie Villeval
  17. Peers Affect Personality Development By Xiaoque Shan; Ulf Zölitz
  18. Homosexuality's Signalling Function in Job Candidate Screening: Why Gay Is (Mostly) OK By Sterkens, Philippe; Dalle, Axana; Wuyts, Joey; Pauwels, Ines; Durinck, Hellen; Baert, Stijn
  19. Reducing Marketplace Interference Bias Via Shadow Prices By Ido Bright; Arthur Delarue; Ilan Lobel
  20. Do Losses Trigger Deliberative Reasoning? By Carpenter, Jeffrey P.; Munro, David

  1. By: Benjamin Prissé (LoyolaBehLab, Universidad Loyola Andalucía); Diego Jorrat (LoyolaBehLab, Universidad Loyola Andalucía)
    Abstract: We ran an experiment to study whether lack of control, meaning not controlling the experimental environment, has an effect on experimental results. Subjects were recruited following standard procedures and randomly assigned to complete the experiment online or in the laboratory. The experimental design is otherwise identical between conditions. Results suggest that there are no differences between conditions, except for a larger percentage of online subjects donating nothing in the Dictator Game.
    Keywords: Time Preferences, CTB, Experiments.
    JEL: C91 C93 D15
    Date: 2022–04
  2. By: Lorenz Götte; Egon Tripodi
    Abstract: Does social recognition motivate prosocial individuals? We run large-scale experiments among members of Italy’s main blood donors association, testing social recognition both through social media and peer groups. We experimentally disentangle visibility concerns and peer comparisons, and we study how exposure to different norms of behavior affects giving. In an initial study and two subsequent replications, we find that a simple ask to donate is at least as effective as asks that offer social recognition. A survey experiment with blood donors provides consistent evidence that social recognition backfires when offered to good citizens, as signaling focuses on image motivation. Our results caution against over-reliance on social recognition to promote good citizenship and emphasize the importance of surveying beliefs in the target population to anticipate the outcomes of a policy at scale.
    Keywords: prosocial behaviour, blood donations, social recognition, field experiments, social media, WhatsApp
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Andrej Woerner
    Abstract: This paper introduces the matched-bet mechanism. The matched bet is an easily applicable and strictly budget-balanced mechanism that aims to help people overcome time-inconsistent behavior. I show theoretically that offering a matched bet helps both sophisticated and naive procrastinators to reduce time-inconsistent behavior. A field experiment on exercising confirms the theoretical predictions: offering a matched bet has a significant positive effect on gym attendance. Self-reported procrastinators are significantly more likely to take up the matched bet. Overall, the matched bet proves a promising device to help people not to procrastinate.
    Keywords: monetary incentives, market design, field experiment, health behavior
    JEL: C93 D47 I12
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Mario A. Maggioni; Domenico Rossignoli
    Abstract: In this paper, we devise a randomized experiment to test whether the order of play in two Trust Games influences the observed level of trust displayed by Trustors (as measured by the share of endowment sent to Trustees). We find that playing Trustor in the second game increases the average share sent to the Trustee. We suggest a role for information acquisitions and learning due to the different order in which subjects play the Trustor role.
    JEL: C91 D83 D91
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Bright (Yue) Hong (School of Accountancy & MIS, Driehaus College of Business, DePaul University); Timothy W. Shields (Argyros School of Business and Management, Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)
    Abstract: Prior research examines how rewards versus economically equivalent penalties affect effort. However, accountants perform various diagnostic analyses that involve more than exerting effort. For example, auditors often need to identify whether a material misstatement is the underlying cause of a phenomenon among the possible causes. Testing helps identify the cause, but testing is costly. When participants are incentivized to test accurately (rather than test more) and objectively (unbiased between testing and not testing), we find that framing the incentives as rewards versus equivalent penalties increases testing by lowering the subjective testing criterion and by increasing the assessed risk of material misstatement. However, testing increases primarily when a misstatement is absent, causing more false alarms under a reward frame with no improvement in misstatement detection. Penalties are pervasive in auditing. Our study suggests that rewards are more effective for increasing testing, and that increasing testing blindly can impair audit efficiency.
    Keywords: Frame, rewards, penalties, objectivity, accuracy, judgment, diagnostic tasks, experiment, auditing
    JEL: C92 D82 D81 M40
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Behlen, Lars; Himmler, Oliver; Jaeckle, Robert
    Abstract: Little is known about the effectiveness of defaults whenmoving the target outcome requires substantial post-intervention effort. In two field experiments, we change the university exam sign-up procedure to “opt-out” for a single exam (Exp1), and for many exams (Exp2). Both interventions increase sign-up at the beginning of the semester. Downstream, at the end of the semester, opt-out increases exam participation for a single but not for many exams. For the single exam, effects on passing are heterogeneous: students responsive to unrelated university requests convert increased sign-ups into passed exams. For non-responsive students, increased sign-ups result in failed exams due to no-shows. Defaults can thus be effective but need to be carefully targeted.
    Keywords: Default, Randomized Field Experiment, Higher Education
    JEL: C93 I23
    Date: 2022–05–03
  7. By: Mark Schneider (Culverhouse College of Business, University of Alabama); Timothy Shields (Argyros School of Business and Management, Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)
    Abstract: We investigate the motives for cooperation in the one-shot Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD). A prior study finds that cooperation rates in one-shot PD games can be ranked empirically by the social surplus from cooperation. That study employs symmetric payoffs from cooperation in simultaneous PD games. Hence, in that setting, it is not possible to discern the motives for cooperation since three prominent social welfare criteria, social surplus (efficiency) preferences, Rawlsian maximin preferences, and inequity aversion make the same predictions. In the present paper, we conduct an experiment to identify which of these social preferences best explains differences in cooperation rates and to study the effects of the risk of non-cooperation.
    Keywords: Cooperation; Prisoner’s Dilemma; Inequity aversion; Social surplus; Social preferences
    JEL: C92 D82 D81 M40
    Date: 2022
  8. By: Julio Elias; Nicola Lacetera; Mario Macis
    Abstract: Price surges often generate social disapproval and requests for regulation and price controls, but these interventions may cause inefficiencies and shortages. To study how individuals perceive and reason about sudden price increases for different products under different policy regimes, we conduct a survey experiment with Canadian and U.S. residents. Econometric and textual analyses indicate that prices are not seen just as signals of scarcity; they cause widespread opposition and strong and polarized moral reactions. However, acceptance of unregulated prices is higher when potential economic tradeoffs between unregulated and controlled prices are salient and when higher production costs contribute to the price increases. The salience of tradeoffs also reduces the polarization of moral judgments between supporters and opponents of unregulated pricing. In part, the acceptance of free price adjustments is driven by people’s overall attitudes about the function of markets and the government in society. These findings are corroborated by a donation experiment, and they suggest that awareness of the causes and potential consequences of price increases may induce less extreme views about the role of market institutions in governing the economy.
    Keywords: price surges, price controls, preferences, morality, tradeoffs
    JEL: C91 D63 D91 I11
    Date: 2022
  9. By: Kirby Nielsen; Luca Rigotti
    Abstract: We design an experiment to detect incomplete preferences in a domain of monetary gambles with subjective uncertainty. To do this, we use subjects' choices to estimate their preferences, and pay them based on their estimated preferences rather than the choices they make. We find 39\% of subjects express incompleteness. We provide evidence on the extent of incompleteness and the nature of gambles that are incomparable, and demonstrate how incompleteness is distinct from indifference. Incompleteness remains at approximately the same levels for individuals with certain beliefs and in an environment with objective uncertainty, suggesting that most incompleteness can be attributed to imprecise tastes rather than imprecise beliefs. We compare these choices to an environment where we force individuals to decide, as in standard experiments. Forced choice leads to more inconsistencies in preferences.
    Date: 2022–05
  10. By: Brade, Raphael
    Abstract: Using randomized field experiments, I investigate the effectiveness of two social information interventions at increasing participation in a voluntary remedial math course for university students. In Intervention 1, incoming students receive invitation letters with information about the course sign-up rate in a previous semester. In Intervention 2, the students who signed up for the course receive reminder letters that include information on how helpful the course has been evaluated by previous students. On average, neither intervention increases participation in the course, but further analyses reveal that the effects of Intervention 1 are heterogeneous along two dimensions: First, by increasing the salience of the course, it raises attendance among students who enroll late in their study program, which in turn increases their first-year performance and closes the achievement gap to early enrollees. Second, the effect of the information about the past sign-up rate depends on the predicted ex-ante sign-up probability. Students for whom the prediction falls just short of the past sign-up rate increase sign-up and participation, while the opposite is true for students whose sign-up probability exceeds the social information. Along this dimension, however, the changes in attendance do not carry over to academic achievements.
    Keywords: Social Information; Higher Education; Randomized Field Experiment; Remedial Courses
    JEL: C93 D83 I21 I23
    Date: 2022–05–13
  11. By: Mario A. Maggioni; Domenico Rossignoli
    Abstract: In this paper, we devise a randomized experiment to test whether the order of play in two Ultimatum Games influences the choice of players, using a sample of a thousand individuals representative of the entire Italian adult population. We find that, in the second game, Proposers increase the average share sent and Respondents reduce the minimum acceptable offer. Both effects increase the probability of reaching a nonzero equilibrium. Given that no result is known to the player during the games, we suggest a role for a raised awareness of the partner's preferences, preferred outcomes, and strategies in influencing the subject's behavior, and consequently the game's equilibria, in the second game.
    JEL: C91 D83 D91
    Date: 2022
  12. By: Kai Barron; Ruth Ditlmann; Stefan Gehrig; Sebastian Schweighofer-Kodritsch
    Abstract: Understanding discrimination is key for designing policy interventions that promote equality in society. Economists have studied the topic intensively, typically taxonomizing discrimination as either taste-based or (accurate) statistical discrimination. To reveal the limitations of this taxonomy and enrich it psychologically, we design a hiring experiment that rules out both of these sources of discrimination with respect to gender. Yet, we still detect substantial discrimination against women. We provide evidence of two forms of discrimination, explicit and implicit belief-based discrimination. Both rely on statistically inaccurate beliefs but differ in how clearly they reveal that the choice was based on gender. Our analysis highlights the central role played by contextual features of the choice setting in determining whether and how discrimination will manifest. We conclude by discussing how policy makers may design effective regulation to address the specific forms of discrimination identified in our experiment.
    Keywords: discrimination, hiring decisions, gender, beliefs, experiment
    JEL: D90 J71 D83
    Date: 2022
  13. By: Vanessa Oltra (BSE - Bordeaux Sciences Economiques - UB - Université de Bordeaux - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Modern economic approaches of empathy and sympathy aim at adding an altruistic dimension to the standard economic decision theory. The purpose of the introduction of another regarding dimension, in addition to the sole personal interest, is to try to explain prosocial preferences or behaviours. In this article, we show how and why the economic literature tries to grasp those concepts, but in a way that is very far from the original Smithian sympathy developed in his Theory of Moral Sentiments (TSM). We argue that, by remaining in the framework of methodological individualism and instrumental rationality, economic approaches, particularly in the field of experimental and behavioural economics, tend to reduce and to intrumentalize the concepts of sympathy and empathy. Such approaches seem to us not consistent with the Smithian social philosophy of human nature and interpersonal relationships.
    Keywords: Smithian sympathy,Empathy,Theory of moral snetiments,behavioural economics
    Date: 2022–03–29
  14. By: Jérémy Hervelin (CY - CY Cergy Paris Université, THEMA - Théorie économique, modélisation et applications - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CY - CY Cergy Paris Université); Pierre Villedieu (Sciences Po - Sciences Po, LIEPP - Laboratoire interdisciplinaire d'évaluation des politiques publiques (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po)
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether work experience gained through a subsidized job program can improve the employment prospects of young school dropouts. Relying on a correspondence study field experiment conducted in France, we find that the chances to be invited for a job interview are more than doubled (from 7.6 percent to 19.3 percent) when youths signal a one-year job-related experience in their résumé - either in the private or public sector; either certified or not - compared to youths who remained mainly inactive after dropping out from high school. We show that this effect is fairly stable across firm, contract or labor market characteristics, and also when testing another channel of application where resumes were sent spontaneously to firms.
    Keywords: School dropouts,Work experience,Subsidized employment,Job Interview,Field experiment
    Date: 2022–03–24
  15. By: Carlos Gomez-Gonzalez (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich); Helmut Dietl (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich); David Berri (Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT, USA); Cornel Nesseler (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich)
    Abstract: Whether one looks at revenue, investment, or coverage, men’s sports do better than women’s. Many assume that the differences are driven by absolute differences in quality of athletic performance. However, the existence of stereotypes should alert us to another possibility: What if perceived quality is filtered through gender stereotypes? We perform an experiment showing participants video clips of elite female and male soccer players. In the control group, participants evaluated normal videos where the gender of the players was clear to see. In the treatment group, participants evaluated the same videos but with gender obscured by blurring. We find that participants only rated men’s videos higher when they knew they were watching men. When they didn’t know who they were watching, ratings for female and male athletes did not differ significantly. The findings are consistent with the interpretation that gender bias plays a role in the evaluation of athletic performance. Implications for research and the sports industry are discussed.
    Keywords: experiment; evaluation; gender bias; fans; soccer; women’s sport
    JEL: D70 J16 C90
    Date: 2022–05
  16. By: Giuseppe Attanasi (Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza" = Sapienza University [Rome]); Claire Rimbaud (University of Innsbruck); Marie Villeval (CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IZA - Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit - Institute of Labor Economics)
    Abstract: We investigate whether a player's guilt aversion is modulated by the co-players' vulnerability or whether it is only activated by the willingness to avoid disappointing them. We also explore whether the nature of vulnerability (ex-post vs. ex-ante) matters. Ex-post vulnerability arises when a player's material payoff depends on another player's action (e.g., recipients in a dictator games). Ex-ante vulnerability arises when her initial endowment can be entrusted to another player (e.g., trustors in trust games). Treatments vary whether trustees can condition their decision on the belief of another player who is ex-post and/or ex-ante vulnerable. We find that trustees' guilt aversion is insensitive to the nature of the co-player's vulnerability and to the role of the co-player. Guilt is activated even absent vulnerability of co-players. It is mainly triggered by the willingness to respond to others' expectations, regardless of their responsibility or the kindness of their intentions.
    Keywords: Guilt Aversion,Vulnerability,Psychological Game Theory,Trust Game,Experiment
    Date: 2022–03–25
  17. By: Xiaoque Shan; Ulf Zölitz
    Abstract: Do the people around us influence our personality? To answer this question, we conduct an experiment with 543 university students who we randomly assign to study groups. Our results show that students become more similar to their peers along several dimensions. Students with more competitive peers become more competitive, students with more open-minded peers become more open-minded, and students with more conscientious peers become more conscientious. We see no significant effects of peers’ extraversion, agreeableness, or neuroticism. To explain these results, we propose a simple model of personality development under the influence of peers. Consistent with the model’s prediction, personality spillovers are concentrated in traits predictive of performance. Students adopt personality traits that are productive in the university context from their peers. Our findings highlight that socialization with peers can influence personality development.
    Keywords: personality, malleability, peer effects, experiment
    JEL: I21 I24 J24
    Date: 2022
  18. By: Sterkens, Philippe (Ghent University); Dalle, Axana (Ghent University); Wuyts, Joey (Ghent University); Pauwels, Ines (Ghent University); Durinck, Hellen (Ghent University); Baert, Stijn (Ghent University)
    Abstract: To explain the mixed findings on hiring discrimination against homosexual applicants, we explore the perceptual drivers behind employers' evaluations of gay men and lesbian women. Therefore, we conduct an extensive vignette experiment among 404 genuine recruiters, for which we test systematically-selected perceptions theoretically associated with homosexual job candidates in earlier studies. We find causal evidence for distinct effects of sexual identities on candidate perceptions and interview probabilities. In particular, interview probabilities are positively (negatively) associated with the perception of lesbian women (gay men) as being more (less) pleasant to work with compared to heterosexual candidates. In addition, interview chances are negatively associated with the perception of gay men and lesbian women as being more outspoken. Furthermore, our data align well with the idea of a concentrated discrimination account, whereby a minority of employers who privately hold negative attitudes towards homosexual individuals are responsible for most instances of hiring discrimination.
    Keywords: homosexuality, signalling, statistical discrimination, taste-based discrimination, hiring experiment
    JEL: C91 J15 J71
    Date: 2022–05
  19. By: Ido Bright; Arthur Delarue; Ilan Lobel
    Abstract: Marketplace companies rely heavily on experimentation when making changes to the design or operation of their platforms. The workhorse of experimentation is the randomized controlled trial (RCT), or A/B test, in which users are randomly assigned to treatment or control groups. However, marketplace interference causes the Stable Unit Treatment Value Assumption (SUTVA) to be violated, leading to bias in the standard RCT metric. In this work, we propose a technique for platforms to run standard RCTs and still obtain meaningful estimates despite the presence of marketplace interference. We specifically consider a matching setting, in which the platform explicitly matches supply with demand via a matching algorithm. Our proposed technique is quite simple: instead of comparing the total value accrued by the treatment and control groups, we instead compare each group's average shadow price in the matching linear program. We prove that, in the fluid limit, our proposed technique corresponds to the correct first-order approximation (in a Taylor series sense) of the value function of interest. We then use this result to prove that, under reasonable assumptions, our estimator is less biased than the RCT estimator. At the heart of our result is the idea that it is relatively easy to model interference in matching-driven marketplaces since, in such markets, the platform intermediates the spillover.
    Date: 2022–05
  20. By: Carpenter, Jeffrey P. (Middlebury College); Munro, David (Middlebury College)
    Abstract: There is a large literature evaluating the dual process model of cognition, including the biases and heuristic it implies. To advance this literature, we focus on what triggers decision makers to switch from the intuitive process (aka System 1) to the more deliberative process (aka System 2). Based on previous studies indicating that potential losses increase cognitive effort, we posit that losses may also differentially trigger System 2 reasoning. To evaluate this hypothesis, we design an experiment based on a task that has been developed to distinguish between System 1 and System 2 thinking – the cognitive reflection task. Replicating previous research, we find that losses elicit more effort (measured by the time spent on the task and the incidence of correct answers). However, we also find that losses differentially reduce the incidence of intuitive answers, consistent with triggering System 2. To complement these results, we provide tests of the robustness of our results using aggregated data, subgroup analysis and the imposition of a cognitive load to hinder the activation of System 2.
    Keywords: dual process theory, cognitive effort, loss, experiment
    JEL: C9 D9
    Date: 2022–05

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