nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2022‒09‒19
fourteen papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Measuring Preferences for Competition By Lina Lozano; Ernesto Reuben
  2. Selecting names for experiments on ethnic discrimination By Stijn Baert; Louis Lippens; Hannah Van Borm
  3. Motivate the crowd or crowd-them out? The impact of local government spending on the voluntary provision of a green public good By Lara Bartels; Martin Kesternich
  4. Social preferences and the variability of conditional cooperation Abstract. We experimentally examine how the incentive to defect in a social dilemma affects conditional cooperation. In our first study we conduct online experiments in which subjects play eight Sequential Prisoner’s Dilemma games with payoffs systematically varied across games. We find that few second movers are conditionally cooperative (i.e., cooperate if and only if the first mover cooperates) in all eight games. Instead, most second-movers change strategies between games. The rate of conditional cooperation is higher when the own gain from defecting is lower and when the loss imposed on the first mover from defecting is higher. This pattern is consistent with both social preference models and stochastic choice models. To explore which model explains our findings we employ a second study to jointly estimate noise and social preference parameters at the individual level. The majority of our subjects place significantly positive weight on others’ payoffs, supporting the underlying role of social preferences in conditional cooperation. By Malte Baader; Simon Gaechter; Kyeongtae Lee; Martin Sefton
  5. Does Voluntary Information Disclosure Lead to Less Cooperation than Mandatory Disclosure? Evidence from a Sequential Prisoner’s Dilemma Experiment By Georg Kirchsteiger; Tom Lenaerts; Remi Suchon
  6. Do Pre-registration and Pre-analysis Plans Reduce P-Hacking and Publication Bias? By Brodeur, Abel; Cook, Nikolai; Hartley, Jonathan S.; Heyes, Anthony
  7. "They Never Had a Chance": Unequal Opportunities and Fair Redistributions By Lu Dong; Lingo Huang; Jaimie W Lien
  8. Causal Narratives By Chad W. Kendall; Constantin Charles
  9. Measuring “group cohesion” to reveal the power of social relationships in team production By Simon Gaechter; Chris Starmer; Fabio Tufano
  10. We Need to Talk about Mechanical Turk: What 22,989 Hypothesis Tests Tell Us about Publication Bias and p-Hacking in Online Experiments By Brodeur, Abel; Cook, Nikolai; Heyes, Anthony
  11. Extensive-Form Level-k Thinking By Burkhard C. Schipper; Hang Zhou
  12. Measuring Beliefs and Ambiguity Attitudes Towards Discrete Sources of Uncertainty By Yao Thibaut Kpegli; Maria Alejandra Erazo Diaz
  13. Material Incentive Motivation and Working Memory Performance of Kindergartners: A Large-Scale Randomized Controlled Trial By Warabud Suppalarkbunlue; Sartja Duangchaiyoosook; Varunee Khruapradit; Weerachart Kilenthong
  14. Agency, Gender, and Endowments Effects in the Efficiency and Equity of Team Allocation Decisions By Marcel Fafchamps; Bereket Kebede

  1. By: Lina Lozano; Ernesto Reuben (Division of Social Science)
    Abstract: Recent research has found that competitive behavior measured in experiments strongly predicts individual differences in educational and labor market outcomes. However, there is no consensus on the underlying factors behind competitive behavior in these experiments. Are participants who compete more capable, more confident, and more tolerant of risk, or are they competing because they enjoy competition per se? In this study, we present an experiment designed to measure individuals’ preferences for competition. Compared to previous work, our experiment rules out risk preferences by design, measures beliefs more precisely, and allows us to measure the magnitude of preferences for competition. In addition, we collect multiple decisions per participant, which lets us evaluate the impact of noisy decision-making. We find strong evidence that many individuals possess preferences for competition. Most participants are either reliably competition-seeking or competition averse, and their choices are highly consistent with expected utility maximization. We also find that preferences for competition depend on the number of competitors but not on the participants’ gender.
    Date: 2022–08
  2. By: Stijn Baert; Louis Lippens; Hannah Van Borm (-)
    Abstract: In recent decades, researchers have found compelling evidence of discrimination in the labor and housing market toward ethnic minorities based on field experiments using fictitious job applications. However, these findings may be exaggerated as the names used for ethnic minorities in various experiments may have also signaled low socioeconomic class. Therefore, in this study, we perform a name categorization experiment in the United States that yields 56 names associated with six ethnicity groups, which signal different ethnicities and genders but similar social classes. These names should greatly improve the validity of future experiments on ethnic discrimination.
    Keywords: ethnic discrimination, social class, experiments
    JEL: C91 C93 J71
    Date: 2022–08
  3. By: Lara Bartels (University of Kassel); Martin Kesternich (University of Kassel)
    Abstract: Cities are increasingly hold accountable for climate action. By demonstrating their pro-environmentality through own climate-related activities, they not at least aspire to encourage individual climate protection efforts. Based on standard economic theory there is little reason to assume that this is a promising strategy. Financed by taxpayers’ money, cities’ contributions are considered as substitutes that crowd-out private contributions to the same public good. Inspired by research on providing information on reference group behavior, we challenge this argument and conduct a framed-field experiment to analyze the impact of reference group information on the voluntary provision of a green public good. We investigate whether information on previous contributions by fellow citizens or the city affect individual contributions. We do not find statistical evidence that city-level information crowds-out additional individual contributions. A reference to fellow citizens significantly increases the share of contributors as it attracts subjects that are not per-se pro-environmentally oriented.
    Keywords: Voluntary provision of environmental public goods; Social Norms; Crowding-out; Willingness to pay; Framed-field experiment
    JEL: C93 C83 D9 H41 Q54
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Malte Baader (University of Zurich); Simon Gaechter (University of Nottingham); Kyeongtae Lee (Bank of Korea); Martin Sefton (University of Nottingham)
    Keywords: sequential prisoner’s dilemma, conditional cooperation, social preferences
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Georg Kirchsteiger; Tom Lenaerts; Remi Suchon
    Abstract: In sequential social dilemmas with stranger matching, initiating cooperation is inherently risky for the first mover. The disclosure of the second mover’s past actions may be necessary to instigate cooperation. We experimentally compare the effect of mandatory and voluntary disclosure with non disclosure in a sequential prisoner’s dilemma situation. Our results confirm the positive effects of disclosure on cooperation. We also find that voluntary disclosure is as effective as mandatory one, which is surprising given the results of existing literature on this topic. With voluntarydisclosure, second movers with a good track record decided to disclose because they expect that not disclosing signals non-cooperativeness. First movers interpret nondisclosure correctly as a signal of non-cooperativeness. Therefore, they cooperate less than half as often when the second mover does not disclose.
    Date: 2022–08
  6. By: Brodeur, Abel (University of Ottawa); Cook, Nikolai (Wilfrid Laurier University); Hartley, Jonathan S. (Stanford University); Heyes, Anthony (University of Ottawa)
    Abstract: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are increasingly prominent in economics, with pre-registration and pre-analysis plans (PAPs) promoted as important in ensuring the credibility of findings. We investigate whether these tools reduce the extent of p-hacking and publication bias by collecting and studying the universe of test statistics, 15,992 in total, from RCTs published in 15 leading economics journals from 2018 through 2021. In our primary analysis, we find no meaningful difference in the distribution of test statistics from pre-registered studies, compared to their non-pre-registered counterparts. However, pre-registerd studies that have a complete PAP are significantly less p-hacked. This results point to the importance of PAPs, rather than pre-registration in itself, in ensuring credibility.
    Keywords: pre-analysis plan, pre-registration, p-hacking, publication bias, research credibility
    JEL: B41 C13 C40 C93
    Date: 2022–08
  7. By: Lu Dong (Nanjing Audit University); Lingo Huang (Nanjing Audit University); Jaimie W Lien (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
    Abstract: A meritocratic fairness ideal is generally believed to regard income inequality as fair if it stems from performance differentials rather than luck. In this study, we present experimental evidence showing that merit judgments are shaped by the source of performance differentials while holding fixed the underlying impact on willingness to perform. Inspired by real-world phenomena which generate inequality, we investigate two types of unequal opportunities that impact performance: educational quality and employment opportunity. Contrary to some previous findings that merit judgements are often insensitive to unequal circumstances, we find that individuals are more inclined to split resources equally when the performance differential involves either type of unequal opportunity. We also find that when participants were given the option to expend personal effort to reveal information about the presence of unequal opportunity, a substantial number of them declined to do so, but held optimistic beliefs about the social norm of seeking such information. These findings enrich our understanding of the factors that lead individuals to support income redistribution, while also obtaining an assessment regarding to what degree redistributing third-party decision-makers are vested in these choices.
    Keywords: Meritocracy, fairness, redistribution, socio-economic inequality, unequal opportunity, procedural fairness attitude
    Date: 2022–11
  8. By: Chad W. Kendall; Constantin Charles
    Abstract: We study the generation, transmission, and effects of causal narratives - narratives which describe a (potentially incorrect) causal relationship between variables. In a controlled experiment, we show that exogenously generated causal narratives manipulate the beliefs and actions of subjects in ways predicted by theory. We then show how to ‘grow’ these types of narratives organically by asking subjects who observe a dataset of variables to advise future subjects on what actions to take. Subjects have a strict preference to share their homegrown narratives with other subjects, who are then persuaded by them. Finally, we show that factual, statistical information does not eliminate the power of causal narratives.
    JEL: D03 D90
    Date: 2022–08
  9. By: Simon Gaechter (University of Nottingham); Chris Starmer (University of Nottingham); Fabio Tufano (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We introduce “group cohesion” to study the economic relevance of social relationships in team production. We operationalize measurement of group cohesion, adapting the “oneness scale” from psychology. A series of experiments, including a pre-registered replication, reveals strong positive associations between group cohesion and performance assessed in weak-link coordination games, with high-cohesion groups being very likely to achieve superior equilibria. In exploratory analysis, we identify beliefs rather than social preferences as the primary mechanism through which factors proxied by group cohesion influence group performance. Our evidence provides proof-of-concept for group cohesion as a useful tool for economic research and practice.
    Keywords: group cohesion; social relationships; team production
    Date: 2022–12
  10. By: Brodeur, Abel (University of Ottawa); Cook, Nikolai (Wilfrid Laurier University); Heyes, Anthony (University of Ottawa)
    Abstract: Amazon Mechanical Turk is a very widely-used tool in business and economics research, but how trustworthy are results from well-published studies that use it? Analyzing the universe of hypotheses tested on the platform and published in leading journals between 2010 and 2020 we find evidence of widespread p-hacking, publication bias and over-reliance on results from plausibly under-powered studies. Even ignoring questions arising from the characteristics and behaviors of study recruits, the conduct of the research community itself erode substantially the credibility of these studies' conclusions. The extent of the problems vary across the business, economics, management and marketing research fields (with marketing especially afflicted). The problems are not getting better over time and are much more prevalent than in a comparison set of non-online experiments. We explore correlates of increased credibility.
    Keywords: online crowd-sourcing platforms, Amazon Mechanical Turk, p-hacking, publication bias, statistical power, research credibility
    JEL: B41 C13 C40 C90
    Date: 2022–08
  11. By: Burkhard C. Schipper; Hang Zhou (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)
    Abstract: Level-k thinking and Cognitive Hierarchy have been widely applied as a normal-form solution concept in behavioral and experimental game theory. We consider the extension of level-k thinking to extensive-form games. Player’s may learn about levels of opponents’ thinking during the play of the game because some information sets may be inconsistent with certain levels. In particular, for any information set reached, a level-k player attaches the maximum level-l thinking for l
    Keywords: Level-k thinking, Cognitive hierarchy, Theory-of-Mind, Rationalizability, Iterated admissibility, Extensive-form rationalizability, ∆-rationalizability, Mutual belief in rationality, Experimental game theory.
    JEL: C72 C92 D91
    Date: 2022–09–01
  12. By: Yao Thibaut Kpegli (Univ Lyon, Université Lyon 2, GATE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France); Maria Alejandra Erazo Diaz (Univ Lyon, Université Lyon 2, GATE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France)
    Abstract: This paper proposes a new method to measure beliefs and ambiguity attitudes towards events that are not necessarily equally likely and belong to a discrete set (i.e., discrete sources of uncertainty). Our method increases robustness to misspecification and allows flexibility in parametric choices compared to previous methods. We implement our method experimentally to both equal and different sources of uncertainty in two contexts: trust and coordination games. We find two main results. First, for equal sources of uncertainty, our method successfully reveals that subjects have context-independent beliefs on events, but context-dependent utility and weighting functions. This result indicates that comparing different sources of uncertainty requires a complete measurement of the utility and weighting functions. Second, different sources of uncertainty where the events are not equally likely lead to an increase in likelihood insensitivity, which indicates that the beliefs formation process of unknown events is cognitively demanding.
    Keywords: Subjective beliefs; Ambiguity attitudes; Sources of uncertainty; Trust game; Coordination game
    JEL: D81 C91
    Date: 2022
  13. By: Warabud Suppalarkbunlue; Sartja Duangchaiyoosook; Varunee Khruapradit; Weerachart Kilenthong
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of material incentive motivation on the working memory performance of kindergartners using a large-scale randomized controlled trial covering 7,123 children from 19 provinces of Thailand. This study measures working memory of young children using the digit span task. The first gfinding is that material incentive motivation raises the working memory performance of young children (p
    Keywords: Working memory; Material incentive motivation; Extrinsic motivation; Early childhood; School readiness; Skill measurementm
    Date: 2022–08
  14. By: Marcel Fafchamps; Bereket Kebede
    Abstract: We conduct a novel lab experiment in which pairs of subjects make separable decisions about allocative efficiency and equity in different agency structures. In terms of equity, subjects appropriate all surplus when they can, and share equally when they have to negotiate. They achieve high efficiency in general, albeit less so when the allocation of surplus is negotiated and negotiations fail. Allocative efficiency is reduced by input and output endowment effects, particularly in negotiated allocation games where subjects seek to create a sense of entitlement over joint surplus so as to achieve a more equitable income distribution. We find few differences across gender or gender pairings. Subjects are then given a choice between negotiating, paying to decide alone, or be paid to let their assigned partner decide. We find that demand for agency or delegation is sensitive to the price of agency, irrespective of gender. But female subjects are more likely to delegate to their partner if it is a male. We also find that a large fraction of both male and female subjects show a preference for negotiating that appears intrinsically motivated.
    JEL: D03 L23
    Date: 2022–08

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