nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2022‒07‒18
29 papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Concord and contention in a dynamic bargaining experiment with costly conflict By Lian Xue; Stefania Sitzia; Theodore L. Turocy
  2. Improving trust and reciprocity in agricultural input markets: A lab-in-the-field experiment in Bangladesh By de Brauw, Alan; Kramer, Berber
  3. Cognitive Uncertainty and Overconfidence By Andrea Amelio
  4. Dynamic Regret Avoidance By Michele Fioretti; Alexander Vostroknutov; Giorgio Coricelli
  5. Tripping at the Finish Line Experimental Evidence on the Road of Misperceptions on Secondary School Completion By López, Carolina
  6. Do women receive less blame than men? Attribution of outcomes in a prosocial setting By Nisvan Erkal; Lata Gangadharan; Boon Han Koh
  7. Contract breaching in agricultural markets: An experiment on double moral hazard By Monteiro, Diogo Souza
  8. Leveraging the Honor Code: Public Goods Contributions under Oath By Jérôme Hergueux; Nicolas Jacquemet; Stéphane Luchini; Jason Shogren
  9. Do decision makers have subjective probabilities? An experimental test By David Ronayne; Roberto Veneziani; William R. Zame
  10. Learning in Canonical Networks By Choi, S.; Goyal, S.; Moisan, F.; To, Y. Y. T.
  11. Information, Anxiety, and Persuasion: Analyzing Return Intentions of Displaced Persons By Onah Peter Thompson; Jonathan Hall; James Igoe Walsh
  12. CSI in the tropics. Experimental evidence of improved public service delivery through coordination By Daniela Collazos; Leopoldo Fergusson; Miguel La Rota; Daniel Mejía; Daniel Ortega
  13. More Caseworkers Shorten Unemployment Durations and Save Costs. Results from a Field Experiment in an Austrian Public Employment Office By René Böheim; Rainer Eppel; Helmut Mahringer
  14. Continuous versus Discrete Time in Dynamic Common Pool Resource Game Experiments By Anmina Murielle Djiguemde; Dimitri Dubois; Alexandre Sauquet; Mabel Tidball
  15. Information Frictions Across Various Types of Inflation Expectations By Cornand Camille; Hubert Paul
  16. Inherited Inequality and the Dilemma of Meritocracy By Timo Freyer; Laurenz R. K. Günther
  17. 300 Anniversary of Smith’s Birth By Vernon L. Smith
  18. Cognitive Endurance as Human Capital By Christina L. Brown; Supreet Kaur; Geeta Kingdon; Heather Schofield
  19. A new experiment on the use of images to answer web survey questions By Bosch Jover, Oriol; Revilla, Melanie; Qureshi, Danish Daniel; Höhne, Jan
  20. Bottlenecks for Evidence Adoption By Stefano DellaVigna; Woojin Kim; Elizabeth Linos
  21. Hindsight Bias and Trust in Government: Evidence from the United States By Holger Herz; Deborah Kistler; Christian Zehnder; Christian Zihlmann
  22. Public reactions toward government-sponsored COVID-19 information in Japan By Gento Kato; Susumu Annaka; Masahisa Endo
  23. Markovian Interference in Experiments By Vivek F. Farias; Andrew A. Li; Tianyi Peng; Andrew T. Zheng
  24. Essays on the application of behavioural insights to environmental policy By Rita Abdel Sater
  25. Optimal experimental design for linear time invariant state–space models By Duarte, Belmiro P.M.; Atkinson, Anthony C.; Oliveira, Nuno M.C
  26. How Does Choice Affect Beliefs? By Hajdu, Gergely; Krusper, Balázs
  27. Motivating Farmer Trainers. Experimental evidence from rural Uganda By Bertelli, Olivia; Fall, Fatou
  28. A nation-wide experiment: fuel tax cuts and almost free public transport for three months in Germany -- Report 1 Study design, recruiting and participation By Allister Loder; Fabienne Cantner; Lennart Adenaw; Markus Siewert; Sebastian Goerg; Markus Lienkamp; Klaus Bogenberger
  29. Developing a Framework for Real-Time Trading in a Laboratory Financial Market By Mark Marner-Hausen

  1. By: Lian Xue (Wuhan University); Stefania Sitzia (University of East Anglia); Theodore L. Turocy (University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: We report experimental results from a dynamic real-time bargaining experiment. Players earn flows of income from the assets they control at any point in the bargaining process (concord), while they incur costs which are proportional to the size of the conflict between players current claims (contention). We find that most bargaining interactions are characterised by small but non-zero amounts of contention, which arises from the process of tacitly coordinating claims, including from negotiating turn-taking approaches. Interactions with large losses from contention occur in a sizeable minority of interactions. We find differences across participants in how much contention they engage in, and the number of assets they hold.
    Keywords: Bargaining; continuous time; turn-taking; locus of control; experiment.
    JEL: C72 C91 C92
    Date: 2022–06
  2. By: de Brauw, Alan; Kramer, Berber
    Abstract: Adoption of high-quality yet more expensive agricultural inputs remains low, in part because most inputs are experience goods: before purchase, buyers observe only price—not quality—providing sellers with opportunities to cheat on quality. Our lab-in-the-field experiment in Bangladesh replicates markets for such inputs, with input retailers (sellers) choosing price and quality, and farmers (buyers) choosing from which seller to purchase inputs. We analyze market behavior, including buyers’ trust and sellers’ reciprocity, and study the effects of buyer-driven accreditation and loyalty rewards for accredited sellers of high-quality products. Trust and reciprocity remain low: Sellers provide mostly low-quality products, and buyers reveal low demand for more expensive, high-quality inputs. Accrediting sellers when their buyers are satisfied leads to higher input quality and more repeat purchases, but only when combined with loyalty rewards, because buyers’ quality signals are weak and do not incentivize sellers to change their behavior. We conclude that small incentives are effective at improving seller behavior, but this behavior change does not necessarily enhance quality signals and farmer welfare.
    Keywords: BANGLADESH; SOUTH ASIA; ASIA; farm inputs; markets; field experimentation; behaviour; consumer behaviour; merchants; trust; reciprocity
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Andrea Amelio (University of Bonn)
    Abstract: Overconfidence is one of the most ubiquitous cognitive bias. There is copious evidence of overconfidence being relevant in a diverse set of economic domains. In this paper, we relate the recent concept of cognitive uncertainty with overconfidence. Cognitive uncertainty represents a decision maker's uncertainty about her action optimality. We present a simple model of overconfidence based on the concept of cognitive uncertainty. The model relates the concepts theoretically and generates testable predictions. We propose an experimental paradigm to cleanly identify such theoretical relationships. In particular, we focus on overplacement and we find that, as predicted, cognitive uncertainty is inversely related to overplacement. Exogenously manipulating cognitive uncertainty through compound choices, we are able to show a causal relationship with overplacement. Evidence on these relationships allows to link overplacement with other behavioral anomalies explained through cognitive uncertainty.
    Keywords: Cognitive Uncertainty, Overconfidence, Overplacement, Cognitive Noise, Experiments
    JEL: D91 C91 D83
    Date: 2022–06
  4. By: Michele Fioretti (ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Alexander Vostroknutov (Maastricht University [Maastricht]); Giorgio Coricelli (USC - University of Southern California)
    Abstract: In a stock market experiment, we examine how regret avoidance influences the decision to sell an asset while its price changes over time. Participants know beforehand whether they will observe the future prices after they sell the asset or not. Without future prices, participants are affected only by regret about previously observed high prices (past regret), but when future prices are available, they also avoid regret about expected after-sale high prices (future regret). Moreover, as the relative sizes of past and future regret change, participants dynamically switch between them. This demonstrates how multiple reference points dynamically influence sales. (JEL C91, G12, G41)
    Keywords: stock market behavior,behavioral finance,regret avoidance,dynamic regret,dynamic discrete choice,structural models,experiments,multiple reference points
    Date: 2022–02–01
  5. By: López, Carolina
    Abstract: In Argentina, more than 90 percent of teenagers are enrolled in upper secondary school, but only 50 percent graduate on time. I conducted a field experiment in Salta, Argentina, to test if lack of information about how inputs translate into outputs may prevent students who attend classes until the last day of high school from getting their diploma. To measure the relative importance of this treatment, I conducted a returns-to-education information intervention in a separate treatment arm. Providing information about the probability of graduation conditional on current standing and discussing intermediate steps to translate effort during students’ senior year of high school into graduation raises timely high school graduation by 5 percentage points, a 10 percent increase relative to the control group. Poor-performing students at baseline respond most to the treatment. The returns-to-education arm increases graduation rates by 10 percentage points. Both treatments increase the probability of university en-rollment by 5 percentage points, more than 30 percent relative to the control group. Together, these findings indicate that inaccu-rate beliefs about own future performance explain a significant share of the “graduation gap.â€
    Keywords: Desarrollo social, Educación, Estudiantes, Evaluación de impacto, Investigación socioeconómica, Jóvenes, Sector académico,
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Nisvan Erkal (Department of Economics, University of Melbourne); Lata Gangadharan (Department of Economics, Monash University); Boon Han Koh (School of Economics and Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science, University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: We examine gender biases in the attribution of leaders’ outcomes to their choices versus luck. Leaders make unobservable investment choices that affect the payoffs of group members. High investment is costly to the leader but increases the probability of a good outcome (high payoff). We observe gender biases in the attribution of bad outcomes. Bad outcomes of male (female) leaders are attributed more to their decisions (luck). These biases are driven by male evaluators and evaluators who are prosocial. We find no gender differences in the attribution of good outcomes. We conjecture that benevolent sexism may be driving our results.
    Keywords: Gender biases; Beliefs; Attribution biases; Benevolent sexism; Social preferences; Laboratory experiments
    JEL: C92 D91 J16
    Date: 2022–06
  7. By: Monteiro, Diogo Souza
    Abstract: Contract farming is increasingly used to coordinate transactions between farmers and buyers downstream in food chains. However, the potential gains of contracts are often undermined by contract breaches from both buyers and sellers. In this paper we develop a simple buyer-seller contract model where we introduce the option of buyers to choose whether or not to offer a binding price to sellers. We assume agents are rational and self-interested, and that in single or double moral hazard settings there should not be differences in profits between buyers and sellers. We test our model in a laboratory experiment where we vary whether: (i) only the seller can renege on the initial agreement (single moral hazard), (ii) both the buyer and the seller can renege (double moral hazard), (iii) buyers can choose whether they are bound by their initial contract offer or not when the contract is determined. In contrast to theoretical predictions, we find that the single moral hazard setting is Pareto superior to the double moral hazard one, as it increases total profits and reduces income inequality. In the third treatment, we find that buyers opt to retain the right to renege on the initial contract offer and use it as a substitute for a lower price offer.
    Keywords: Agricultural Finance, Farm Management
    Date: 2022–04
  8. By: Jérôme Hergueux (BETA - Bureau d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - AgroParisTech - UNISTRA - Université de Strasbourg - UL - Université de Lorraine - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Nicolas Jacquemet (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Stéphane Luchini (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Jason Shogren (UW - University of Wyoming)
    Abstract: Public good games are at the core of many environmental challenges. In such social dilemmas, a large share of people endorse the norm of reciprocity. A growing literature complements this finding with the observation that many players exhibit a self-serving bias in reciprocation: "weak reciprocators" increase their contributions as a function of the effort level of the other players, but less than proportionally. In this paper, we build upon a growing literature on truth-telling to argue that weak reciprocity might be best conceived not as a preference, but rather as a symptom of an internal trade-off at the player level between (i) the truthful revelation of their private reciprocal preference, and (ii) the economic incentives they face (which foster free-riding). In truth-telling experiments, many players misrepresent private information when this is to their material benefit, but to a significantly lesser extent than what would be expected based on the profit-maximizing strategy. We apply this behavioral insight to strategic situations, and test whether the preference revelation properties of the classic voluntary contribution game can be improved by offering players the possibility to sign a classic truth-telling oath. Our results suggest that the honesty oath helps increase cooperation (by 33% in our experiment). Subjects under oath contribute in a way which is more consistent with (i) the contribution they expect from the other players and (ii) their normative views about the right contribution level. As a result, the distribution of social types elicited under oath differs from the one observed in the baseline: some free-riders, and many weak reciprocators, now behave as pure reciprocators.
    Keywords: Cooperation,Reciprocity,Social preferences,Public goods,Truth-telling oath
    Date: 2022–03
  9. By: David Ronayne (ESMT European School of Management and Technology GmbH); Roberto Veneziani (Queen Mary University of London); William R. Zame (University of California at Los Angeles)
    Abstract: Anscombe & Aumann (1963) offer a definition of subjective probability in terms of comparisons with objective probabilities. That definition - which has provided the basis for much of the succeeding work on subjective probability - presumes that the subjective probability of an event is independent of the prize consequences of that event, a property we term Prize Independence. We design experiments to test Prize Independence and find that a large fraction of our subjects violate it; thus, they do not have subjective probabilities. These findings raise questions about the empirical relevance of much of the literature on subjective probability.
    Keywords: subjective probability, choice under uncertainty, online experiments
    JEL: D01 D81 D84
    Date: 2022–06–21
  10. By: Choi, S.; Goyal, S.; Moisan, F.; To, Y. Y. T.
    Abstract: Subjects observe a private signal and then make an initial guess; they observe their neighbors’ guesses and guess again, and so forth. We study learning dynamics in three networks: Erdös-Rényi, Stochastic Block (reflecting homophily) and Royal Family (that accommodates both highly connected celebrities and local intearctions). We find that the Royal Family network is more likely to sustain incorrect consensus and that the Stochastic Block network is more likely to persist with diverse beliefs. These aggregate patterns are consistent with individuals following DeGroot updating rule.
    Keywords: consensus, experimental social science, social learning, social networks
    JEL: C91 C92 D83 D85
    Date: 2022–06–01
  11. By: Onah Peter Thompson (University of North Carolina at Charlotte); Jonathan Hall (Uppsala University); James Igoe Walsh (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)
    Abstract: Anxiety influences how people attend to, interpret, and respond to information and potential threats. How does anxiety influence attempts to persuade? We hypothesize that the relationship depends on the interaction between an individual's level of anxiety and the trustworthiness of a source that provides information. Individuals with lower levels of anxiety can be persuaded by a trustworthy source. But persistent and high levels of anxiety lead to hypervigiliance and mistrust in others. This means that even trustworthy sources of information cannot persuade anxious individuals. We test our hypotheses with a factoral survey experiment, drawing participants from residents of internally displaced person (IDP) camps in northeastern Nigeria. We find that information from a more trustworthy source leads to increased return intentions. However, the more participants exhibit psychological distress the less of an effect source trustworthiness has on their return intentions. We conclude by discussing the implications for return of displaced persons and political and personal decision-making more generally.
    Keywords: Stress, psychosocial function, political psychology, displacement, conflict
    Date: 2021–12
  12. By: Daniela Collazos (Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía); Leopoldo Fergusson (Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía); Miguel La Rota (Crime and Justice Lab); Daniel Mejía (Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía); Daniel Ortega (Latin America Development Bank - CAF, and IESA business school)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the impacts of increased coordination, accountability, and leadership among teams of responsible public officials, with evidence from homicide investigations in Colombia. We randomly assigned the investigations of 66% of the 1,683 homicides occurring in Bogota, Colombia, during 2016 to a new investigation procedure emphasizing these features. We find a statistically significant 30% increase in the conviction rate in the treatment group relative to the control group. Indicators of the quality of the investigative process also improve, as well as the rate at which a formal accusation is presented before a court. Complementary findings suggest that the treatment produces well-coordinated teams that can communicate more fluently. Also, a survey of investigative team members reveal that work motivation, the extent to which they receive feedback on their performance, the pertinence and effectiveness of their roles, and the perceived quality and coordination of the team all improve under the new scheme.
    Keywords: Crime, Homicides, Team work, Public sector
    JEL: C93 D73 J45 K14 K42
    Date: 2021–11
  13. By: René Böheim (WIFO); Rainer Eppel (WIFO); Helmut Mahringer (WIFO)
    Abstract: In a randomised controlled trial in Austria, lower caseloads in public employment offices led to more meetings of the unemployed with their caseworkers, more job offers, more program assignments, and more sanctions for noncompliance with job search requirements. More intensive counselling led to shorter unemployment episodes due to faster job entry, but also to more exits from the labour force in the two years following treatment. We find effects for different subgroups of unemployed. We find no effects on wages. A cost-benefit analysis suggests that lower caseloads not only shorten the duration of unemployment but are also cost-effective.
    Keywords: Active Labour Market Policy, Public Employment Services, Caseworkers, Counseling, Job Placement, Field Experiment
    Date: 2022–06–22
  14. By: Anmina Murielle Djiguemde (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement - Institut Agro - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut Agro - Institut national d'enseignement supérieur pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement); Dimitri Dubois (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement - Institut Agro - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut Agro - Institut national d'enseignement supérieur pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement); Alexandre Sauquet (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement - Institut Agro - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut Agro - Institut national d'enseignement supérieur pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement); Mabel Tidball (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement - Institut Agro - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut Agro - Institut national d'enseignement supérieur pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement)
    Abstract: We study the impact of discrete versus continuous time on the behavior of agents in the context of a dynamic common pool resource game. To this purpose, we consider a linear quadratic model and conduct a lab experiment in which agents exploit a renewable resource with an infinite horizon. We use a differential game for continuous time and derive its discrete time approximation. In the single agent setting, we fail to detect, on a battery of indicators, any difference between agents' behavior in discrete and continuous time. Conversely, in the two-player setting, significantly more agents can be classified as myopic and end up with a low resource level in discrete time. Continuous time seems to allow for better cooperation and thus greater sustainability of the resource than does discrete time.
    Keywords: Common Pool Resource,Differential Games,Experimental Economics,Continuous Time,Discrete Time
    Date: 2022
  15. By: Cornand Camille; Hubert Paul
    Abstract: Understanding how the degree of information frictions varies among economic agents is of utmost importance for macroeconomic dynamics. We document and compare the frequency of forecast revisions and cross-sectional disagreement in inflation expectations among five categories of agents: households, firms, professional forecasters, policymakers and participants to laboratory experiments. First, we provide evidence of a heterogeneous frequency of forecast revisions across categories of agents, with policymakers revising more frequently their forecasts than firms and professional forecasters. Households revise less frequently. Second, all categories exhibit cross-sectional disagreement. There is however a strong heterogeneity: while policymakers and professional forecasters exhibit low disagreement, firms and households show strong disagreement. Our analysis suggests that the nature of information frictions is closer to noisy information model features. We also explore the external validity of experimental expectations.
    Keywords: Disagreement, Forecast Revisions, Experimental Forecasts, Survey Forecasts, Central Bank Forecasts
    JEL: E3 E5 E7
    Date: 2022
  16. By: Timo Freyer (University of Bonn); Laurenz R. K. Günther (Bonn Graduate School of Economics)
    Abstract: A defining feature of meritocratic societies is that resource distributions reflect individual effort levels. However, this introduces a dilemma in a world where parents care for their children. If one pair of parents works harder than a second pair of parents, the first pair has merited the option to bequest more resources for their child. However, none of the two children has merited to inherit more resources than the other. Hence, if the two children end up with different amounts of resources, this inherited inequality may be considered simultaneously fair and unfair from a meritocratic standpoint. We develop a theoretical framework and run a preregistered survey experiment with about 550 subjects representative of the US population to investigate how people resolve this dilemma. In the experiment, impartial spectators redistribute payments between pairs of individuals. We vary whether inequality in the initial distribution is based on luck or effort and whether spectators redistribute between individuals who have worked on a task themselves to earn money (Non-Inherited Inequality) or between individuals who differentially benefit from the work of real-life friends (Inherited Inequality). Spectators equalize a much larger fraction of initial inequality if it is based on luck instead of effort. Yet, they do not differentiate much between situations in which they redistribute between individuals who have worked themselves and situations in which they redistribute between individuals who have differentially profited from their friends' work. The results suggest that most people find inequality fair if it is grounded in differential effort at some stage. This may help explain why many oppose redistributive policies in the real world.
    Keywords: Inequality, Fairness, Redistribution, Inheritance
    JEL: Q12 C22 D81
    Date: 2022–06
  17. By: Vernon L. Smith (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)
    Abstract: Thousand-word brief on key quotes from Adam Smith’s two books (TMS, WN) modelling Society and Economy
    Keywords: Experiment, theory, history of economic thought
    Date: 2022
  18. By: Christina L. Brown; Supreet Kaur; Geeta Kingdon; Heather Schofield
    Abstract: Schooling may build human capital not only by teaching academic skills, but by expanding the capacity for cognition itself. We focus specifically on cognitive endurance: the ability to sustain effortful mental activity over a continuous stretch of time. As motivation, we document that globally and in the US, the poor exhibit cognitive fatigue more quickly than the rich across field settings; they also attend schools that offer fewer opportunities to practice thinking for continuous stretches. Using a field experiment with 1,600 Indian primary school students, we randomly increase the amount of time students spend in sustained cognitive activity during the school day—using either math problems (mimicking good schooling) or non-academic games (providing a pure test of our mechanism). Each approach markedly improves cognitive endurance: students show 22% less decline in performance over time when engaged in intellectual activities—listening comprehension, academic problems, or IQ tests. They also exhibit increased attentiveness in the classroom and score higher on psychological measures of sustained attention. Moreover, each treatment improves students’ school performance by 0.09 standard deviations. This indicates that the experience of effortful thinking itself—even when devoid of any subject content—increases the ability to accumulate traditional human capital. Finally, we complement these results with quasi-experimental variation indicating that an additional year of schooling improves cognitive endurance, but only in higher-quality schools. Our findings suggest that schooling disparities may further disadvantage poor children by hampering the development of a core mental capacity.
    JEL: D90 I24 I25 O12
    Date: 2022–06
  19. By: Bosch Jover, Oriol; Revilla, Melanie; Qureshi, Danish Daniel; Höhne, Jan
    Abstract: Images might provide richer and more objective information than text answers to open-ended survey questions. Little is known, nonetheless, about the consequences for data quality of asking participants to answer open-ended questions with images. Therefore, this paper addresses three research questions: (1) What is the effect of answering web survey questions with images instead of text on breakoff, noncompliance with the task, completion time and question evaluation? (2) What is the effect of including a motivational message on these four aspects? (3) Does the impact of asking to answer with images instead of text vary across device types? To answer these questions, we implemented a 2 × 3 between-subject web survey experiment (N = 3043) in Germany. Half of the sample was required to answer using PCs and the other half with smartphones. Within each device group, respondents were randomly assigned to (1) a control group answering open-ended questions with text; (2) a treatment group answering open-ended questions with images; and (3) another treatment group answering open-ended questions with images but prompted with a motivational message. Results show that asking participants to answer with images significantly increases participants' likelihood of noncompliance as well as their completion times, while worsening their overall survey experience. Including motivational messages, moreover, moderately reduces the likelihood of noncompliance. Finally, the likelihood of noncompliance is similar across devices.
    Keywords: breakoff; images; motivational messages; noncompliance; smartphone; web survey; e European Unions Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme; Grant/Award Number: 849165; Wiley deal
    JEL: C1
    Date: 2022–05–20
  20. By: Stefano DellaVigna; Woojin Kim; Elizabeth Linos
    Abstract: Governments increasingly use RCTs to test innovations before scale up. Yet, we know little about whether and how they incorporate the results of the experiments into policy-making. We follow up with 67 U.S. city departments which collectively ran 73 RCTs in collaboration with a national Nudge Unit. Compared to most contexts, the barriers to adoption are low. Yet, city departments adopt a nudge treatment in follow-on communication in 27% of cases. As potential determinants of adoption we consider (i) the strength of the evidence, as determined by the RCT itself, (ii) features of the organization, such as “organizational capacity” of the city and whether the city staff member working on the RCT has been retained, and (iii) the experimental design, such as whether the RCT was implemented as part of pre-existing communication. We find (i) a limited impact of strength of the evidence and (ii) some impact of city features, especially the retention of the original staff member. By far, the largest predictor of adoption is (iii) whether the communication was pre-existing, as opposed to a new communication. We consider two main interpretations of this finding: organizational inertia, in that changes to pre-existing communications are more naturally folded into year-to-year city processes, and costs, since new communications may require additional funding. We find the same pattern for electronic communications, with zero marginal costs, supporting the organizational inertia explanation. The pattern of results differs from the predictions of both experts and practitioners, who over-estimate the extent of evidence-based adoption. Our results underline the importance of considering the barriers to evidence adoption, beginning at the stage of experimental design and continuing after the RCT completion.
    JEL: D72 D9 H1 H70
    Date: 2022–06
  21. By: Holger Herz; Deborah Kistler; Christian Zehnder; Christian Zihlmann
    Abstract: We empirically assess whether hindsight bias has consequences on how citizens evaluate their political actors. Using an incentivized elicitation technique, we demonstrate that people systematically misremember their past policy preferences regarding how to best fight the Covid-19 pandemic. At the peak of the first wave in the United States, the average respondent mistakenly believes they supported significantly stricter restrictions at the onset of the first wave than they actually did. Exogenous variation in the extent of hindsight bias, induced through random assignment to survey structures, allows us to show that hindsight bias causally reduces trust in government.
    Keywords: hindsight bias, trust in government, evaluation distortion, biased beliefs
    JEL: D72 D83 D91
    Date: 2022
  22. By: Gento Kato (Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Nazarbayev University; Associate Researcher, Waseda Institute of Political Economy, Waseda University.); Susumu Annaka (Assistant Professor, Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda University); Masahisa Endo (Associate Professor, School of Social Sciences, Waseda University.)
    Abstract: Given the criticism of the Japanese government-sponsored information despite Japan’s relatively successful pandemic control, we designed a survey experiment to test how and when COVID-19 statistics and messages sponsored by the Japanese government influences people’s risk perception, policy evaluation, behavioral intentions, and future pandemic expectations. On average, government-sponsored statistics and messages rarely induced intended reactions from the public and could even cause backlash. Institutional trust partially played a moderating role in these effects but only slightly. Combined with outcome measures’ correlational analysis, the Japanese public was found to separate pandemic severity from government performance when forming attitudes and behaviors. This implication provides insights into the seeming disconnection between the pandemic state and government evaluation in Japan.
    Keywords: COVID-19, government-sponsored information, public opinion, Japan, survey experiment
    Date: 2022–06
  23. By: Vivek F. Farias; Andrew A. Li; Tianyi Peng; Andrew T. Zheng
    Abstract: We consider experiments in dynamical systems where interventions on some experimental units impact other units through a limiting constraint (such as a limited inventory). Despite outsize practical importance, the best estimators for this `Markovian' interference problem are largely heuristic in nature, and their bias is not well understood. We formalize the problem of inference in such experiments as one of policy evaluation. Off-policy estimators, while unbiased, apparently incur a large penalty in variance relative to state-of-the-art heuristics. We introduce an on-policy estimator: the Differences-In-Q's (DQ) estimator. We show that the DQ estimator can in general have exponentially smaller variance than off-policy evaluation. At the same time, its bias is second order in the impact of the intervention. This yields a striking bias-variance tradeoff so that the DQ estimator effectively dominates state-of-the-art alternatives. From a theoretical perspective, we introduce three separate novel techniques that are of independent interest in the theory of Reinforcement Learning (RL). Our empirical evaluation includes a set of experiments on a city-scale ride-hailing simulator.
    Date: 2022–06
  24. By: Rita Abdel Sater (ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: The works compiled in this thesis are concrete examples of how methods, insights and evidence from behavioural science and economics could enlighten policy makers wishing to understand and reinforce pro-environmentalism. The 1st part is an application of methods and insights from psychology to environmental public policy and is the product of a collaboration with policy makers in the French Parisian region, to tackle two polluting behaviours: littering and household combustion. The 1st chapter shows how laboratory experiments using psychometric methods from vision research could be crucial to inform policy makers on how to maximise the effectiveness of littering interventions, by quantifying the increase in visual salience following a change in the colour of trash bins in an urban setting. The 2nd chapter, using a field experimental setting, shows that while information provision is not enough to change household combustion behaviour, increasing the salience of indoor pollution by combining feedback provision and social comparison is effective in changing behaviour and decreasing indoor air pollution. The 2nd part of this thesis examines the relationship between socioeconomic status and the psychological mechanisms underlying pro-environmentalism and behavioural interventions. The 3rd chapter shows that the positive association between socioeconomic status and pro-environmental attitudes is partially mediated by individual time preferences. Chapter 4 is a short review suggesting that socioeconomic backgrounds could moderate the effectiveness of popular environmental behavioural interventions that leverage on biases likely to be heterogeneous across income groups.
    Abstract: Les travaux compilés dans cette thèse représentent des exemples de la manière dont les méthodes, connaissances et résultats des sciences comportementales et économiques pourraient informer les décideurs publics souhaitant comprendre et renforcer les politiques environnementales. La 1ère partie est une application des méthodes de la psychologie aux politiques publiques environnementales, et le produit d'une collaboration avec des décideurs publics de la région parisienne, abordant deux comportements polluants : les déchets et la combustion domestique. Le premier chapitre illustre comment les expérimentations en laboratoire utilisant des méthodes psychométriques peuvent informer les décideurs sur la manière de maximiser l'efficacité des interventions contre les ordures dans la rue. Le 2ème chapitre, utilisant un cadre expérimental sur le terrain, montre qu'une combinaison de feedback personnalisé et des éléments de comparaison sociale est efficace pour modifier le comportement de combustion domestique et réduire la pollution de l'air intérieur. La 2ème partie de cette thèse examine la relation entre le statut socioéconomique et les mécanismes psychologiques qui sous-tendent le pro-environnementalisme et les interventions comportementales. Le chapitre 3 montre que l'association positive entre le statut socio-économique et les attitudes pro-environnementales est partiellement médiée par les préférences temporelles. Le chapitre 4 suggère que les antécédents socioéconomiques peuvent modérer l'efficacité des interventions comportementales environnementales couramment employées qui s'appuient sur des biais susceptibles d'être hétérogènes entre les différents niveaux de revenus.
    Keywords: Experiments,Environmental policy,Behavioural science,Expérimentation,Politiques environnementales,Sciences comportementales
    Date: 2021–09–27
  25. By: Duarte, Belmiro P.M.; Atkinson, Anthony C.; Oliveira, Nuno M.C
    Abstract: The linear time invariant state–space model representation is common to systems from several areas ranging from engineering to biochemistry. We address the problem of systematic optimal experimental design for this class of model. We consider two distinct scenarios: (i) steady-state model representations and (ii) dynamic models described by discrete-time representations. We use our approach to construct locally D–optimal designs by incorporating the calculation of the determinant of the Fisher Information Matrix and the parametric sensitivity computation in a Nonlinear Programming formulation. A global optimization solver handles the resulting numerical problem. The Fisher Information Matrix at convergence is used to determine model identifiability. We apply the methodology proposed to find approximate and exact optimal experimental designs for static and dynamic experiments for models representing a biochemical reaction network where the experimental purpose is to estimate kinetic constants.
    Keywords: optimal design of experiments; linear time invariant systems; state-space models; model identifiability; biochemical reaction networks
    JEL: C1
    Date: 2021–07–01
  26. By: Hajdu, Gergely; Krusper, Balázs
    Abstract: People tend to think more favorably about a product when they own it compared to when they do not own it. Going beyond the effect of ownership, we study how choosing a product affects beliefs about the values of products in the choice set. In the laboratory, participants either choose a product from a binary choice set or have one of the two products randomly assigned to them. To deal with the endogeneity in choices, we construct information that is both sufficiently clear to make choices predictable and sufficiently unclear to leave room for belief distortions. We find that making a choice increases the difference in beliefs between the two alternatives, and the effect is driven by pessimism: when a product is non-chosen, it is believed to be worse than when the same product is not assigned. When participants choose a product, but we shift their attention toward product evaluation, pessimism disappears, suggesting attention as an important driver. Since choices are often made under uncertainty, the effect we identify may play a role in a potentially wide range of settings. Our findings also have policy implications: active choice policies may be more effective tools than opt-out defaults.
    Keywords: biased beliefs, ownership, behavioral economics, choice effect
    Date: 2022–05
  27. By: Bertelli, Olivia; Fall, Fatou
    Abstract: Finding the most effective ways for motivating agents to volunteer for the benefit of the community is a main concern for resource-constrained organizations. This paper tests the effects of three non-monetary mechanisms in the context of a large-scale volunteer Farmer Trainer program in rural Uganda. Farmers identified by local communities were randomly selected to become Farmer Trainers in dairy farming. To encourage their volunteer activity of trainer, three non-monetary mechanisms were randomly assigned to a subset of Farmer Trainers: (i) vouchers for accessing professional Extension Agents, (ii) sign-post advertising their trainer’s activity, (iii) extra training to learn to customize training sessions based on the farmers’ needs. Results show that connecting Farmer Trainers to professional extension agents is the most effective way to increase their training efforts and to diffuse information to a large number of farmers even outside of their social network. This evidence speaks in favor of providing cost-effective non-monetary incentives to Farmer Trainers for the diffusion of information.
    Keywords: Farm Management, Institutional and Behavioral Economics
    Date: 2022–04
  28. By: Allister Loder; Fabienne Cantner; Lennart Adenaw; Markus Siewert; Sebastian Goerg; Markus Lienkamp; Klaus Bogenberger
    Abstract: In spring 2022, the German federal government agreed on a set of measures that aim at reducing households' financial burden resulting from a recent price increase, especially in energy and mobility. These measures include among others, a nation-wide public transport ticket for 9 EUR per month and a fuel tax cut that reduces fuel prices by more than 15% . In transportation research this is an almost unprecedented behavioral experiment. It allows to study not only behavioral responses in mode choice and induced demand but also to assess the effectiveness of transport policy instruments. We observe this natural experiment with a three-wave survey and an app-based travel diary on a sample of hundreds of participants as well as an analysis of traffic counts. In this first report, we inform about the study design, recruiting and initial participation of study participants.
    Date: 2022–06
  29. By: Mark Marner-Hausen (University of Cologne)
    Abstract: One of the challenges that economic experiments that use artificial financial markets to explore high-frequency trading face, is the development of a sufficiently sophisticated software. Moreover, it is not trivial to adequately communicate the complex financial market rules to non-experts. The present paper is part of an ongoing project with Peter Cramton, Daniel Friedman, Kristian Lopez Vargas, and Axel Ockenfels in which a novel framework enabling algorithmic real-time trading at millisecond speeds is being developed. This novel framework provides a more accurate laboratory replication of the financial market mechanisms relevant to high-frequency trading than has been achieved up to this point. This will provide a basis for comparing the current financial market design with new, exciting market design approaches, both under normal and stressful market conditions. The ongoing project includes the development of the theoretical foundations, as well as the experimental design and the analysis of the corresponding data. The contribution of the present study consists of deriving parameters for the replication of short-lived financial market crashes that can be adopted by the new framework for real-time trading; to provide means for an adequate communication of complex financial market rules to non-experts; and to provide solutions to technical and conceptual difficulties encountered in the preparation for the realization of the experiment. In addition, a thorough review of the literature most relevant to the new framework for real-time trading is provided.
    Date: 2022–06

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