nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2024‒04‒08
eighteen papers chosen by

  1. Seemingly irrelevant factors and willingness to block polluting investments By Ajzenman, Nicolás; Balza, Lenin; Bejarano, Hernan; De Los Rios, Camilo; Gómez Parra, Nicolás
  2. Does Online Fundraising Increase Charitable Giving? A Nationwide Field Experiment on Facebook By Maja Adena; Anselm Hager
  3. Active Adaptive Experimental Design for Treatment Effect Estimation with Covariate Choices By Masahiro Kato; Akihiro Oga; Wataru Komatsubara; Ryo Inokuchi
  4. Experiments on the Different Numbers of Bidders in Sequential Auctions By Hikmet Gunay; Ricardo Huamán-Aguilar
  5. Information on Cancer Prevalence and Oncologic Insurance Take-up By Caceres, Daniela; Valdivia, Melissa; Barron, Manuel
  6. The Impact of Subsidy Delivery Method on Savings Behavior: Experimental Evidence By Banerjee, Abhijit; Martínez, Claudia; Puentes, Esteban
  8. Does information about inequality and discrimination in early child care affect policy preferences? By Hermes, Henning; Legetporer, Philipp; Mierisch, Fabian; Schwerdt, Guido; Wiederhold, Simon
  9. Depression Stigma By Christopher Roth; Peter Schwardmann; Egon Tripodi
  10. Does increasing inequality threaten social stability? Evidence from the lab By Abigail Barr; Anna Hochleitner; Silvia Sonderegger
  11. Human-machine interactions in pricing: Evidence from two large-scale field experiments By Huelden, Tobias; Jascisens, Vitalijs; Roemheld, Lars; Werner, Tobias
  12. The Impacts of the Social Security Statement Redesign on People’s Knowledge and Behavioral Intentions: A Survey Experiment By Francisco Perez-Arce; Lila Rabinovich
  13. Do Economic Preferences of Children Predict Behavior? By Laura Breitkopf; Shyamal Chowdhury; Shambhavi Priyam; Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch; Matthias Sutter
  14. Nudging the Trendsetters: Increasing Second-dose HPV Vaccination in Bogota, Colombia By Martínez Villarreal, Déborah; Díaz, Lina M.; Maldonado, Stanislao
  15. Social Learning with Intrinsic Preferences By Fabian Dvorak; Urs Fischbacher
  16. Price-, Taste-, and Convenience-Competitive Plant-Based Meat Would Not Currently Replace Meat (journal version) By Peacock, Jacob Robert
  17. Households' probabilistic inflation expectations in high-inflation regimes By Becker, Christoph; Dürsch, Peter; Eife, Thomas A.; Glas, Alexander
  18. Frontline Employees’ Responses to Citizens’ Communication of Administrative Burdens By Halling, Aske; Petersen, Niels Bjørn Grund

  1. By: Ajzenman, Nicolás; Balza, Lenin; Bejarano, Hernan; De Los Rios, Camilo; Gómez Parra, Nicolás
    Abstract: Using an online multi-country video-vignette survey experiment, we measure bias against extractive industries and foreign firms in individuals perceptions and preferences related to industrial projects with potential economic benefits and environmental costs. Individuals face a hypothetical industrial investment project with a randomly assigned implementing firm, which varies in one or two dimensions: nationality (foreign or national), and industrial sector (extractive or generic). We elicit several incentivized and non-incentivized measures of acceptance of hypothetical investments. We find a precisely estimated null effect on willingness to pay to block the projects across experimental treatments: respondents express similar reactions to the same information independently of the firms origin or industrial sector.
    Keywords: experimental economics;extractive industries;Perceptions;willingness– to–pay;valuation
    JEL: C90 D70 D90 L71 Q30 Q51
    Date: 2023–12
  2. By: Maja Adena; Anselm Hager
    Abstract: Does online fundraising increase charitable giving? Using the Facebook advertising tool, we implemented a natural field experiment across Germany, randomly assigning almost 8, 000 postal codes to Save the Children fundraising videos or to a pure control. We studied changes in the donation revenue and frequency for Save the Children and other charities by postal code. Our geo-randomized design circumvented many difficulties inherent in studies based on click-through data, especially substitution and measurement issues. We found that (i) video fundraising increased donation revenue and frequency to Save the Children during the campaign and in the subsequent five weeks; (ii) the campaign was profitable for the fundraiser; and (iii) the effects were similar independent of video content and impression assignment strategy. However, we also found some crowding out of donations to other similar charities or projects. Finally, we demonstrated that click data may be an inappropriate proxy for donations and recommend that managers use careful experimental designs that can plausibly evaluate the effects of advertising on relevant outcomes.
    Keywords: charitable giving, field experiments, fundraising, social media, competition
    JEL: C93 D64 D12
    Date: 2024
  3. By: Masahiro Kato; Akihiro Oga; Wataru Komatsubara; Ryo Inokuchi
    Abstract: This study designs an adaptive experiment for efficiently estimating average treatment effect (ATEs). We consider an adaptive experiment where an experimenter sequentially samples an experimental unit from a covariate density decided by the experimenter and assigns a treatment. After assigning a treatment, the experimenter observes the corresponding outcome immediately. At the end of the experiment, the experimenter estimates an ATE using gathered samples. The objective of the experimenter is to estimate the ATE with a smaller asymptotic variance. Existing studies have designed experiments that adaptively optimize the propensity score (treatment-assignment probability). As a generalization of such an approach, we propose a framework under which an experimenter optimizes the covariate density, as well as the propensity score, and find that optimizing both covariate density and propensity score reduces the asymptotic variance more than optimizing only the propensity score. Based on this idea, in each round of our experiment, the experimenter optimizes the covariate density and propensity score based on past observations. To design an adaptive experiment, we first derive the efficient covariate density and propensity score that minimizes the semiparametric efficiency bound, a lower bound for the asymptotic variance given a fixed covariate density and a fixed propensity score. Next, we design an adaptive experiment using the efficient covariate density and propensity score sequentially estimated during the experiment. Lastly, we propose an ATE estimator whose asymptotic variance aligns with the minimized semiparametric efficiency bound.
    Date: 2024–03
  4. By: Hikmet Gunay (Department of Economics University of Manitoba, Canada.); Ricardo Huamán-Aguilar (Departamento de Economía de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.)
    Abstract: In a second-price sequential auction with global and local bidders, we analyze the correct selling order of goods when the number of bidders in each leg of the auction is different with laboratory experiments. Theoretically, selling the good with a large number of bidders last should generate an (almost) efficient outcome but selling it first should result in an inefficient outcome with a positive probability. Our experimental results show that selling that good last generates a more efficient outcome than selling it first. Hence, the experimental results show that the selling order has to be taken into account while designing a sequential auction. JEL Classification-JE: C90, C91, C92, D44.
    Keywords: Experimental economics, Lab experiments, Sequential auctions, Auction theory.
    Date: 2024
  5. By: Caceres, Daniela; Valdivia, Melissa; Barron, Manuel
    Abstract: We study whether oncological insurance demand can be boosted by providing information on the likelihood of developing cancer at some point over the consumer’s lifetime. We conducted a lab- in-the-field hypothetical choice experiment on oncological insurance with adults aged 40-68 of middle to high socioeconomic status in Lima, Peru. A random subset of participants received information on the likelihood of developing cancer before the age of 75. Participants were offered partial and full insurance options. Information increased take-up for full insurance by 18 percentage points (33% of the control group rate) but did not affect demand for partial insurance. Treatment effect arose mostly from participants who do not live with an oncology patient at home, but are roughly constant by education, sex, and age. Our stylized model suggests that this effect is driven by consumers with low present bias. Our findings suggest that in developing countries, where information about the probability of developing cancer during one’s lifetime is not widely known, providing this information can boost demand for insurance, but that present- bias can hinder this effect.
    Keywords: oncologic insurance; insurance take-up; present bias; lab-in-the-field
    JEL: D91 I13 O12
    Date: 2024–02
  6. By: Banerjee, Abhijit; Martínez, Claudia; Puentes, Esteban
    Abstract: We examine the impact of offering conditional cash transfer (CCT) beneficiaries the choice to receive cash transfers in bank accounts instead of cash. We investigate the effects on savings behavior and downstream outcomes such as assets and trust. We find, on average, no significant impact on overall savings or downstream outcomes. However, among individuals with nonpositive balances prior to the offering, we observe an increase in balances in savings accounts and in the transactional accounts in which the subsidies were initially deposited. These findings underscore the potential of using bank accounts to encourage savings, particularly for individuals with limited prior savings.
    Keywords: Financial Access;Banking accounts;savings
    JEL: G20 D14 E21
    Date: 2023–11
  7. By: John List
    Abstract: In 2019, I put together a summary of data from my field experiments website that pertained to natural field experiments (Harrison and List, 2024). Several people have asked me for updates. In this document I update all figures and numbers to show the details for 2023. I also include the description from the original paper below.
    Date: 2024
  8. By: Hermes, Henning; Legetporer, Philipp; Mierisch, Fabian; Schwerdt, Guido; Wiederhold, Simon
    Abstract: We investigate public preferences for equity-enhancing policies in access to early child care, using a survey experiment with a representative sample of the German population (n ≈ 4, 800). We observe strong misperceptions about migrant-native inequalities in early child care that vary by respondents' age and right-wing voting preferences. Randomly providing information about the actual extent of inequalities has a nuanced impact on the support for equity-enhancing policy reforms: it increases support for respondents who initially underestimated these inequalities, and tends to decrease support for those who initially overestimated them. This asymmetric effect leads to a more consensual policy view, substantially decreasing the polarization in policy support between under- and overestimators. Our results suggest that correcting misperceptions can align public policy preferences, potentially leading to less polarized debates about how to address inequalities and discrimination.
    Keywords: child care, policy support, information, inequality, discrimination, survey experiment
    JEL: I24 J18 J13 D83 C99
    Date: 2024
  9. By: Christopher Roth (University of Cologne and ECONtribute, MPI for Research on Collective Goods); Peter Schwardmann (Carnegie Mellon University); Egon Tripodi (Hertie School of Governance)
    Abstract: Throughout history, people with mental illness have been discriminated against and stigmatized. Our experiment provides a new measure of perceived depression stigma and then investigates the causal effect of perceived stigma on help-seeking in a sample of 1, 844 Americans suffering from depression. A large majority of our participants overestimate the extent of stigma associated with depression. In contrast to prior correlational evidence, lowering perceived social stigma through an information intervention leads to a reduction in the demand for psychotherapy. A mechanism experiment reveals that this information increases optimism about future mental health, thereby reducing the perceived need for therapy.
    Keywords: Depression, Stigma, Information, Psychotherapy
    Date: 2024–03
  10. By: Abigail Barr (University of Nottingham); Anna Hochleitner (NHH Bergen); Silvia Sonderegger (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We study the relationship between inequality and social instability. While the argument that inequality can be damaging for the cohesion of a society is well established, the empirical evidence is mixed. We use a novel approach to isolate the causal relationship running from inequality to social instability. We run a laboratory experiment in which two groups interact repeatedly and have an incentive to coordinate even though coordination comes at the cost of inter-group inequality. Then, we vary the extent of the inequality implied by coordination. Our results show that increasing inequality has a destabilising effect; the disadvantaged initiate the destabilisation; and a worsening of the absolute situation of the disadvantaged exacerbates the destabilising effect of increasing inequality. These findings are in line with a simple model incorporating inequality aversion and myopic best response. Finally, we show that history matters. People respond differently to the same level of current inequality depending on their past experiences. More specifically, a history of stability facilitates the re-emergence of coordination in more unequal environments, and a sudden increase in inequality is more destabilising than a gradual increase.
    Keywords: Collective decision making; Conflict and Revolutions;Inequality
    Date: 2024–01
  11. By: Huelden, Tobias; Jascisens, Vitalijs; Roemheld, Lars; Werner, Tobias
    Abstract: While many companies use algorithms to optimize their pricing, additional human oversight and price interventions are widespread. Human intervention can correct algorithmic flaws and introduce private information into the pricing process, but it may also be based on less sophisticated pricing strategies or suffer from behavioral biases. Using fine-grained data from one of Europe's largest e-commerce companies, we examine the impact of human intervention on the company's commercial performance in two field experiments with around 700, 000 products. We show that sizeable heterogeneity exists and present evidence of interventions that harmed commercial performance and interventions that improved firm outcomes. We show that the quality of human interventions can be predicted with algorithmic tools, which allows us to exploit expert knowledge while blocking inefficient interventions.
    Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Human-Computer-Interaction, Uniform pricing
    JEL: C93 D22 L2 L81
    Date: 2024
  12. By: Francisco Perez-Arce (University of Southern California); Lila Rabinovich (University of Southern California)
    Abstract: Social Security information can be complex but is crucial for financial planning. The Social Security Statement, which was recently redesigned, aims to better inform the public. We assess the impact of the Statement’s redesign on people’s understanding of Social Security, their interest in acquiring further information, and their intended behavior, including their intended age for claiming retirement benefits. We do this through a randomized control trial of an information treatment that uses the revised and old versions of the Statement for the treatment and control groups, respectively. Finally, we show respondents an information screen and links that encourage them to check the revised Statement through their my Social Security account, and test whether those exposed to the revised Statement are more likely to click on them. We find that the redesigned Statement is more successful in improving understanding of critical issues around benefits. We also find evidence of higher clarity and interest in acquiring more information among those assigned to the redesigned Statement treatment, though we find no effects on clicks to my Social Security links. The redesign also affects the ages respondents intend to claim, but these effects dissipated by the time of the follow-up survey.
    Date: 2022–09
  13. By: Laura Breitkopf; Shyamal Chowdhury; Shambhavi Priyam; Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch; Matthias Sutter
    Abstract: We use novel data on nearly 6, 000 children and adolescents aged 6 to 16 that combine incen-tivized measures of social, time, and risk preferences with rich information on child behavior and family environment to study whether children’s economic preferences predict their behavior. Re-sults from standard regression specifications demonstrate the predictive power of children’s pref-erences for their prosociality, educational achievement, risky behaviors, emotional health, and behavioral problems. In a second step, we add information on a family’s socio-economic status, family structure, religion, parental preferences and IQ, and parenting style to capture household environment. As a result, the predictive power of preferences for behavior attenuates. We discuss implications of our findings for research on the formation of children’s preferences and behavior.
    Keywords: social preferences, time preferences, risk preferences, experiments with children, origins of preferences, human capital, behavior
    JEL: C91 D01
    Date: 2024
  14. By: Martínez Villarreal, Déborah; Díaz, Lina M.; Maldonado, Stanislao
    Abstract: This study investigates the effectiveness of dynamic norm nudges in promoting second-dose HPV vaccinations among trendsetters--parents who initiated the first-dose HPV vaccine for their daughters between 2017-2020. Utilizing administrative data from Bogota's Secretariat of Health in a field experiment, we measure the impact of various norm nudges, including trending, qualitative, and quantitative dynamic norms, on actual vaccination rates. Contrary to our hypothesis, dynamic norms alone fail to influence second-dose HPV vaccination rates for these trendsetters. However, the study reveals a 5.22 percent increase attributed to injunctive norms, representing a substantial 34 percent boost compared to the control groups 15.2 percent average. These findings underscore the importance of tailoring nudge strategies to the unique characteristics and preferences of the target population. This research significantly advances our understanding of norm-based interventions' efficacy in influencing minority behaviors, offering valuable insights for developing targeted and impactful public health strategies.
    Keywords: nudge;behavioral economics;health;vaccination;HPV;Field experiment;Social norms;Trendsetters
    JEL: C93 D91 I10 I12 I15 I18
    Date: 2023–12
  15. By: Fabian Dvorak; Urs Fischbacher
    Abstract: Despite strong evidence for peer effects, little is known about how individuals balance intrinsic preferences and social learning in different choice environments. Using a combination of experiments and discrete choice modeling, we show that intrinsic preferences and social learning jointly influence participants' decisions, but their relative importance varies across choice tasks and environments. Intrinsic preferences guide participants' decisions in a subjective choice task, while social learning determines participants' decisions in a task with an objectively correct solution. A choice environment in which people expect to be rewarded for their choices reinforces the influence of intrinsic preferences, whereas an environment in which people expect to be punished for their choices reinforces conformist social learning. We use simulations to discuss the implications of these findings for the polarization of behavior.
    Date: 2024–02
  16. By: Peacock, Jacob Robert (The Humane League Labs)
    Abstract: Plant-based meats, like the Beyond Sausage or Impossible Burger, and cultivated meats have become a source of optimism for public health, environmental and animal welfare advocates hoping to mitigate the myriad harms of animal-based foods by replacing them with perfect alternatives. Some have proposed that these substitutes might soon replace animal-based meats based on the supposition that price, taste and convenience are the primary drivers of food choice. Thus, it is hypothesized that if a plant-based meat matches (or exceeds) its animal-based counterpart on the basis of these three criteria, consumption will largely shift from animal-based to plant-based. However, this hypothesis has received little critical attention. To fill this gap, we will review evidence testing the PTC hypothesis, including cross-sectional surveys, hypothetical discrete choice experiments, a field experiment and commercial case studies. Ultimately, given current consumer preferences, we do not find support for the PTC hypothesis. However, PBMs may still have important potential as a tool for reducing meat consumption.
    Date: 2024–03–06
  17. By: Becker, Christoph; Dürsch, Peter; Eife, Thomas A.; Glas, Alexander
    Abstract: Central bank surveys frequently elicit households' probabilistic beliefs about future inflation. However, most household surveys use a response scale that is tailored towards low-inflation regimes. Using data from a randomized controlled trial included in the Bundesbank Online Panel Households, we show (i) that keeping the original scale in high-inflation regimes distorts estimates of histogram moments and forces households to provide probabilistic expectations that are inconsistent with the point forecasts and (ii) how shifting the scale improves the consistency of predictions by allowing respondents to state more detailed beliefs about higher inflation ranges. We also explore potential disadvantages of adjusting the response scale.
    Keywords: Probabilistic expectations, inflation, survey data
    JEL: D84 E58
    Date: 2023
  18. By: Halling, Aske (Aarhus University); Petersen, Niels Bjørn Grund
    Abstract: The literature on administrative burdens demonstrates that citizens may experience different kinds of administrative burdens when interacting with the state. However, we know little about whether citizens' communication of these experiences affects how frontline employees implement compliance demands. Building on the street-level bureaucracy and administrative burden literature, we hypothesize that citizens' communication of direct and indirect psychological costs affects frontline employees' inclination to accommodate citizens. Furthermore, we expect this effect to be stronger for members of the ethnic majority than for ethnic minority members. We test these expectations using a preregistered survey experiment on a sample of 1048 Danish public caseworkers from 32 employment agencies. Results show that frontline employees are indeed more willing to reduce demands and help citizens that communicate their experiences of direct and indirect psychological costs. Further, we find some evidence that frontline employees are more responsive to citizens from the ethnic majority.
    Date: 2024–03–04

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