nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2023‒09‒11
nineteen papers chosen by

  1. Nature Experiences and Pro-Environmental Behavior: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial By Sarah Lynn Flecke; Rene Schwaiger; Jürgen Huber; Michael Kirchler
  2. Rationality is not consistency By Caliari, Daniele
  3. Can Social Comparisons and Moral Appeals Induce a Modal Shift Towards Low-Emission Transport Modes? By Johannes Gessner; Wolfgang Habla; Ulrich J. Wagner
  4. Mental Accounting, Spousal Control and Intra-Household Communication: Evidence from an Experiment in India By Tara Bedi; Anu Jose; Michael King
  5. Behavioural welfare analysis and revealed preference: Theory and experimental evidence By Caliari, Daniele
  6. Commitment to the truth creates trust in market exchange: Experimental evidence By Nicolas Jacquemet; Stéphane Luchini; Jason F. Shogren; Adam Zylbersztejn
  7. Does Unfairness Hurt Women? The Effects of Losing Unfair Competitions By Stefano Piasenti; Marica Valente; Roel van Veldhuizen; Gregor Pfeifer
  8. ‘Fear of the Light’? Transparency does not reduce the effectiveness of nudges. A data-driven review By Hendrik Bruns; Adrien Fillon,; Zacharias Maniadis; Yavor Paunov
  9. Corrupted by Algorithms? How AI-generated and Human-written Advice Shape (Dis)honesty By Margarita Leib; Nils Köbis; Rainer Michael Rilke; Marloes Hagens; Bernd Irlenbusch
  10. The Effect of Framing in Sealed-Bid Auctions: Theory and Experiments By Yutaka Kayaba; Jun Maekawa; Hitoshi Matsushima
  11. Ableism differs by disability, gender and social context: Evidence from vignette experiments By Timmons, Shane; McGinnitty, Frances; Carroll, Eamonn
  12. The effect of classroom rank on learning throughout elementary school: experimental evidence from Ecuador By Pedro Carneiro; Yyannú Cruz-Aguayo; Francesca Salvati; Norbert Schady
  13. Turning worries into performance: Results from an online experiment during COVID By Eva Raiber; Daniela Horta Saenz; Timothée Demont
  14. Does Unfairness Hurt Women? The Effects of Losing Unfair Competitions By Piasenti, Stefano; Valente, Marica; Van Veldhuizen, Roel; Pfeifer, Gregor
  15. Can you spot a scam? Measuring and improving scam identification ability By Lisa Spantig; Elif Kubilay; Jana Cahlíková; Lucy Kaaria; Eva Raiber
  16. Modelling evidence-based practice in initial teacher training: causal effects on teachers' skills, knowledge and self-efficacy By Sam Sims; Harry Fletcher-Wood; Thomas Godfrey-Faussett; Peps Mccrea; Stefanie Meliss
  17. Effective community mobilization: Evidence from Mali By Maria Laura Alzua; Juan-Camilo Cardenas; Habiba Djebbari
  18. Targeting High Ability Entrepreneurs: Replication and Heterogeneity by Gender of Hussam, Rigol and Roth (2022) By Masetto, Isabella; Ubfal, Diego
  19. THE DARK TRIAD TRAITS AND ECONOMIC BEHAVIOR IN RELATION TO TOLERANCE TO UNCERTAINTY By Kornienko, Dmitriy (Корниенко, Дмитрий); Baleva, Milena (Балева, Милена); Yachmenyova, Nadezhda (Ячменёва, Надежда)

  1. By: Sarah Lynn Flecke; Rene Schwaiger; Jürgen Huber; Michael Kirchler
    Abstract: We conducted a randomized controlled trial in a lab and natural setting to investigate whether exposure to nature leads people to behave more pro-environmentally. We further investigated whether attention restoration mediates this effect. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions, in which they spent 15 minutes either walking through a park, walking through an urban area with limited greenery, viewing a video of a nature walk, or remaining seated in the lab (taking a break). Participants were given a EUR 10 endowment to keep for themselves or donate to either a conservation, social, or cultural charity. We measured the frequency and the amount donated to the conservation charity as indicators of pro-environmental behavior. We found that real nature exposure positively affects pro-environmental behavior compared to viewing a nature video. This effect was mediated by self-reported restoration, however, the mediator was not robust to controlling for environmental concern and nature identity, implying that attention restoration as a mechanism is driven by more environmentally concerned and connected individuals.
    Keywords: pro-environmental behavior, nature experience, attention restoration, restorativeness, randomized controlled trial
    JEL: C93 Q50 Q51 D91
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Caliari, Daniele
    Abstract: We challenge the standard definition of economic rationality as consistency by making use of a novel distinction between axioms of decision theory: consistency and preference axioms. We argue that this distinction has been overlooked by the literature and, as a result, evidence that consistency is a proxy of decision-making ability is often based on incorrect identification strategies. We conduct an experiment to investigate the factors that drive violations of consistency alone. While we find no evidence that consistency axioms are a proxy of decisionmaking ability, we provide suggestive evidence that some preference axioms are, confirming their potential role as confounding factors. Overall, our experimental evidence raises doubts about the choice of language that equates consistency with rationality in economics.
    Keywords: Decision Theory, Experimental Design, Consistency, Rationality
    JEL: D00 D90 D91
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Johannes Gessner; Wolfgang Habla; Ulrich J. Wagner
    Abstract: Under pressure to reduce CO2 emissions, companies are beginning to replace subsidized company car schemes with so-called mobility budgets that employees can spend on leisure and commuting trips, using a broad range of transport modes. Given their novelty, little is known about how mobility budgets should be designed to encourage sustainable choices. Since prices play a limited role in this subsidized setting, our study focuses on behavioral interventions. In a field experiment with 341 employees of a large German company, we test whether social comparisons, either in isolation or in combination with a climate-related moral appeal, can change the use of different means of transportation. We find strong evidence for a reduction in car-related mobility in response to the combined treatment, which is driven by changes in taxi and ride-sharing services. This is accompanied by substitution towards micromobility, i.e., transport modes such as shared e-scooters or bikes, but not towards public transport. We do not find any effects of the social comparison alone. Our results demonstrate that small, norm-based nudges can change transportation behavior, albeit for a limited time.
    Keywords: mobility behavior, randomized experiment, nudging, descriptive norm, injunc- tive norm, social norms, moral appeal, habit formation
    JEL: C93 D04 D91 L91
    Date: 2023–08
  4. By: Tara Bedi (Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin); Anu Jose (Central Bank of Ireland); Michael King (Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin)
    Abstract: To understand interactions between mental accounting, spousal control and couple’s communication, informed by recent innovations in the fin-tech space, we mimicked practical iterations of income type and spousal monitoring, in a pre-registered lab-in-the-field experiment with 1, 008 couples in Kolkata, India. The experimental design was a cross randomisation where, first, for half the sample the female spouse worked for resources and the other half received money as a gift, before allocation decision were made under five different monitoring frameworks that mirror potential iterations in account type: private, private labelled, visible, approval and negotiation. Our findings highlight the importance of female labour market participation and the mental accounting of earned resources. Earned income by wives was allocated to a greater extent to accounts over which she has more control. While no overall effect of workfare on consumption decisions was found, we did find that, for women who have low control over money, earning money induces her to spend more on her personal consumption. Labelling newly acquired resources for household purposes in individual accounts for both wife and husband did not alter expenditure patterns, indicating a failure of the mental accounting of household resources in individual accounts. Spousal visibility of male decision-making ensures they allocate more towards the collective and away from themselves. Conversely, spousal transparency and communication did not alter wives allocation patterns, but such innovations came at a cost for the less empowered: in households where wife has low control over money, or is more risk averse, visibility of her decisions by husband or an approval requirement from her husband for her decisions leads her to allocate more to accounts he has control in. Our findings provide important insights for the design and delivery of social protection programmes, and suggests the existence of potential welfare gains of shared, or joint, financial products for the management of household resources.
    Keywords: mentalaccounting, intrahouseholdallocation, gender, India
    JEL: J16 G50 D13
    Date: 2023–08
  5. By: Caliari, Daniele
    Abstract: Behavioural welfare economics provides tools to elicit welfare preferences when individuals use nonstandard behavioural models. Current proposals either require assumptions on the models or elicit preferences that become coarser and coarser as the dataset grows. We propose an informational property [Informational Responsiveness] that solves the coarseness problem and, as the dataset grows, characterizes the family of welfare preference elicitation tools that elicit the underlying utility function of a broad family of stochastic models, denoted as preference monotonic models. As such, we argue that Informational Responsiveness is an important property of preference elicitation tools. We then test our property in an experiment in which participants first face a sequence of questions regarding time and risk outcomes and second report their preferences over a subset of the alternatives. We find that preference elicitation tools that satisfy our requirement provide a significantly better match between the elicited and the reported welfare relation.
    Keywords: Behavioural Welfare economics, Bounded rationality, Stochastic choice, Revealed preference
    JEL: D0 D6
    Date: 2023
  6. By: Nicolas Jacquemet (Paris School of Economics and U. Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne); Stéphane Luchini (Aix-Marseille U., CNRS, EHESS, Centrale Marseille, Aix-Marseille School of Economics); Jason F. Shogren (Department of Economics, U. Wyoming); Adam Zylbersztejn (Univ Lyon, Université Lyon 2, GATE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France; research fellow at Vistula University Warsaw (AFiBV), Warsaw, Poland)
    Abstract: Social norms like the mutual belief in reciprocity facilitate economic exchange. But this reciprocity norm requires trust among traders, which can be challenging to create among strangers even with communication. The honesty oath is a time-honored mechanism that societies use to overcome this challenge – taking a solemn oath to tell the truth sends a trustworthy signal of real economic commitment given incomplete contracts. Herein we explore how the truth-telling oath creates trust within the sequential reciprocity trust game with pre-play, fixed-form, and cheap-talk communication. Four key results emerge: (1) communication under oath creates more trust and cooperative behavior; but (2) the oath induces a selection effect – it makes people more wary of using communication as a signal. (3) Although the overall net effect on cooperation is positive, the oath cannot reverse a general decay of cooperation over time. (4) By comparing the oath's performance to mild and deterrent fines for deception, we find that the oath is behaviorally equivalent to mild fines. The deterrent fine induces the highest level of cooperation.
    Keywords: Trust game; cooperation; communication; commitment; deception; fine; oath
    JEL: C72 D83
    Date: 2023
  7. By: Stefano Piasenti; Marica Valente; Roel van Veldhuizen; Gregor Pfeifer
    Abstract: How do men and women differ in their persistence after experiencing failure in a competitive environment? We tackle this question by combining a large online experiment (N=2, 086) with machine learning. We find that when losing is unequivocally due to merit, both men and women exhibit a significant decrease in subsequent tournament entry. However, when the prior tournament is unfair, i.e., a loss is no longer necessarily based on merit, women are more discouraged than men. These results suggest that transparent meritocratic criteria may play a key role in preventing women from falling behind after experiencing a loss.
    Keywords: Competitiveness, Gender, Fairness, Machine learning, Online experiment
    JEL: C90 D91 J16 C14
    Date: 2023–11
  8. By: Hendrik Bruns; Adrien Fillon,; Zacharias Maniadis; Yavor Paunov
    Abstract: Does transparency reduce the effectiveness of nudges? The question is central in recent research about nudges, since it leads to ethical and practical implications regarding responsibility, agency, the design of nudges and policy-making. We meta-analysed results from 19 studies comparing transparent to opaque nudges and found no difference in the effectiveness of the nudge. We then tested several moderators such as the type of experiment (Online, Laboratory, Field), Category (structure, information, assistance) and domain (environment, food, health, pro-social and other) and found no meaningful moderator. We note that only two studies were conducted in the field and that there is an over-representation of default nudges in the studies included. We call for an improvement of research conducted on transparent nudges and the inclusion of more types of nudges, preferably in a field setting. It is also important to define what form of transparency societies require for respecting their citizen’s autonomy.
    Keywords: nudge, transparency, meta-analysis, review
    Date: 2023–08–21
  9. By: Margarita Leib; Nils Köbis; Rainer Michael Rilke; Marloes Hagens; Bernd Irlenbusch
    Abstract: Artificial Intelligence (AI) increasingly becomes an indispensable advisor. New ethical concerns arise if AI persuades people to behave dishonestly. In an experiment, we study how AI advice (generated by a Natural-Language-Processing algorithm) affects (dis)honesty, compare it to equivalent human advice, and test whether transparency about advice source matters. We find that dishonesty-promoting advice increases dishonesty, whereas honesty-promoting advice does not increase honesty. This is the case for both AIand human advice. Algorithmic transparency, a commonly proposed policy to mitigate AI risks, does not affect behaviour. The findings mark the first steps towards managing AI advice responsibly.
    Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Behaviour, Behavioural Ethics, Advice
    Date: 2023–08
  10. By: Yutaka Kayaba (Department of Economics, University of Tokyo); Jun Maekawa (Department of Economics, Osaka University of Economics and Law); Hitoshi Matsushima (Department of Economics, University of Tokyo)
    Abstract: We investigate strategic games with imperfect information, such as sealed-bid auctions, wherein players are not good at hypothetical thinking and are therefore unable to select even dominant strategies unless devices to guide them are put in place. We propose a measure to encourage such bounded-rational players to engage in hypothetical thinking. We consider a frame as a multi-stage game format with imperfect information within a range consistent with an inherent strategic game. We showed that a well-specified frame has a significant effect on the promotion of hypothetical thinking. By comparing the second-price auction as a non-frame format and the ascending proxy auctions as framed formats, we theoretically demonstrate that framing can eliminate overbidding and encourage bidders to act more sincerely. These theoretical findings were confirmed by both online and laboratory experimental results.
    Date: 2023–08
  11. By: Timmons, Shane; McGinnitty, Frances; Carroll, Eamonn
    Date: 2023
  12. By: Pedro Carneiro (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Yyannú Cruz-Aguayo (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Francesca Salvati (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Norbert Schady (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: We study the impact of classroom rank on children’s learning using a unique experiment from Ecuador. Within each school, students were randomly assigned to classrooms in every grade between kindergarten and 6th grade. Students with the same ability can have different classroom ranks because of the (random) peer composition of their classroom. Children with higher beginning-of-grade classroom rank have significantly higher test scores at the end of that grade. The impact of classroom rank is larger for younger children and grows over time. Higher classroom rank also improves executive function, child happiness, and teacher perceptions of student ability.
    Date: 2023–08–08
  13. By: Eva Raiber (Aix-Marseille School of Economics and Center for Economic Policy Research); Daniela Horta Saenz (Aix-Marseille School of Economics); Timothée Demont (Aix Marseille Université Économiques)
    Abstract: Worrisome topics, such as climate change, economic crises, or the COVID-19 pandemic are increasingly present and pervasive because of digital media and social networks. Do worries triggered by such topics affect the cognitive capacities of the youth? In an online experiment during the COVID-19 pandemic (N=1503), we test how the cognitive performance of university students responds when exposed to topics discussing current mental health issues related to social restrictions or future labor market uncertainties linked to the economic contraction. Moreover, we study how such response is affected by a performance goal. We find that the labor market topic increases cognitive performance when the latter is motivated by a goal. The positive reaction is mainly concentrated among students with larger financial and social resources, which points to an inequality-widening mechanism. Conversely, we find no effect after the mental health topic. We even find a weak negative response among those mentally vulnerable when payout is not conditioned on reaching a goal.
    Date: 2023–08–11
  14. By: Piasenti, Stefano (Humboldt University); Valente, Marica (University of Innsbruck); Van Veldhuizen, Roel (Department of Economics, Lund University); Pfeifer, Gregor (University of Sydney)
    Abstract: How do men and women differ in their persistence after experiencing failure in a competitive environment? We tackle this question by combining a large online experiment (N=2, 086) with machine learning. We find that when losing is unequivocally due to merit, both men and women exhibit a significant decrease in subsequent tournament entry. However, when the prior tournament is unfair, i.e., a loss is no longer necessarily based on merit, women are more discouraged than men. These results suggest that transparent meritocratic criteria may play a key role in preventing women from falling behind after experiencing a loss.
    Keywords: Competitiveness; Gender; Fairness; Machine learning; Online experiment
    JEL: C14 C90 D91 J16
    Date: 2023–08–14
  15. By: Lisa Spantig (RWTH Aachen); Elif Kubilay (University of Essex); Jana Cahlíková (University of Bonn); Lucy Kaaria (University of Nairobi); Eva Raiber (Center for Economic Policy Research and Aix Marseille Université Économiques)
    Abstract: The recent expansion of digital financial products leads to severe consumer protection issues such as fraud and scams. As these potentially decrease trust in digital services, especially in developing countries, avoiding victimization has become an important policy objective. In an online experiment, we first investigate how well individuals in Kenya identify phone scams using a novel measure of scam identification ability. We then test the effectiveness of scam education, a commonly used approach by banks and institutions for fraud and scam prevention. We find that common tips on how to spot scams do not significantly improve individuals' scam identification ability, for example, the distinction of scams from genuine messages. This null effect is driven by an increase in correctly identified scams and a decrease in correctly identified genuine messages. We interpret this as an increase in caution. In addition, we find suggestive evidence that genuine messages that contain scamlike features are more likely to be misclassified, highlighting the importance of a careful design of official communication.
    Date: 2023–08–11
  16. By: Sam Sims (UCL Centre for Education Policy & Equalising Opportunities, University College London); Harry Fletcher-Wood (Ambition Institute); Thomas Godfrey-Faussett (Ambition Institute); Peps Mccrea (Ambition Institute); Stefanie Meliss (Ambition Institute)
    Abstract: Teacher education/training often incorporates observable examples of focal teaching practices - models. Yet, there is little causal evidence on the benefits of models or how best to design them. We used a classroom simulator experiment to test the effects of video models on trainee teachers' skills, knowledge, and self-efficacy in relation to using retrieval practice at the end of a primary school science unit. Results showed that models improved participants' skills, but not their knowledge or self-efficacy. Adding annotations to the models had no additional benefit. Incorporating models in initial teacher training can help new teachers make better use of evidence-based teaching practices.
    Keywords: teachers, professional development, models
    JEL: I20
    Date: 2023–08
  17. By: Maria Laura Alzua (Universidad de La Plata); Juan-Camilo Cardenas (Universidad de los Andes); Habiba Djebbari (Aix Marseille Université Économiques)
    Abstract: Experts argue that adoption of healthy sanitation practices such as handwashing and latrine use requires focusing on the whole community rather than on individual behaviors. According to this view, one limiting factor for ending open defecation lies in the capacity of the community for collective action: Each member of a community bears the private cost of contributing by washing hands and using latrines, but benefits through better health outcomes depend on whether other community members also opt out from open defecation. We rely on a community-based intervention carried out in Mali as an illustrative example (Community Led Total Sanitation or CLTS). Using a series of experiments conducted in 121 villages and designed to measure the willingness of community members to contribute to a local public good, we investigate the process of participation in a collective action problem setting. Our focus is on two types of activities: gathering of community members to encourage public discussion of the collective-action problem and facilitating the adoption of individual actions to attain the socially preferred outcome. When the facilitator starts by introducing a topic and a group discussion follows, can the facilitator further improve outcomes? Will a group discussion that follows facilitation improve, reduce, or have no effect on collective action? We find evidence that cheap talk raises public good provision and that facilitation by a community member does not improve upon open discussion.
    Date: 2023–08–11
  18. By: Masetto, Isabella; Ubfal, Diego
    Abstract: Hussam et al. (2022a) use a cash grant experiment in India to demonstrate that community knowledge can help target high-growth microentrepreneurs. In their preferred specification, the authors find that the average marginal return to the grant is 9.4 percent per month, while estimated returns for entrepreneurs reported by peers to be in the top third of the community are between 24 percent and 30 percent. First, we reproduce the paper's main findings and uncover one minor coding error, which affects the estimates for one of the main tables but does not change the overall conclusions of the paper. Second, we test the robustness of the results to: (1) different treatment of outliers, (2) dropping surveyor and survey month fixed effects, and (3) using quartiles instead of terciles for grouping the ranking of entrepreneurs. The paper's results are robust to these robustness checks. Finally, we test heterogeneity of results by gender, which was not reported in the original study.
    Date: 2023
  19. By: Kornienko, Dmitriy (Корниенко, Дмитрий) (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration); Baleva, Milena (Балева, Милена) (Perm State University); Yachmenyova, Nadezhda (Ячменёва, Надежда) (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration)
    Abstract: The relevance of this research lies in the fact that it investigates psychological characteristics as predictors of economic behavior, specifically personal financial management and risky economic decisions. The purpose of this study is to examine 1) the characteristics of economic behavior concerning tolerance to uncertainty, 2) the impact of dispositional variables in economic behavior decisions made by individuals with various levels of the Dark Triad traits (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy), and different levels of materialism. The methodological basis of the research is the theory of psychological traits. Economic behavior and decision-making were analyzed using the perspective theory and an economic-psychological approach. Two studies are presented, one using correlational method and the other using quasi-experimental design. The research was conducted online, with diagnostic methods including a survey and resolution of situational tasks. The research sampling consists of undergraduate students. Principal findings. Tolerance to ambiguity and the level of Dark Triad traits raise the chance of making risky economic decisions in actual behavior. With varying degrees of tolerance to uncertainty and the Dark Triad traits, framing has the same influence on economic decision-making. While the combination of the Dark Triad traits and materialism contributes to disparities in personal financial management, an inclination toward materialism is more predictive of economic behavior. Economic behavior varies according to the mix of materialistic orientation and the Dark Triad. The findings of the study can serve as the basis for additional research into economic behavior and the creation of practical programs to develop and prevent dangerous economic behavior.
    Keywords: personality, Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, uncertainty tolerance, economic behavior, risk, risk appetite, materialism, values
    Date: 2021–11

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