nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2024‒05‒13
nineteen papers chosen by

  1. Early child care, maternal labor supply, and gender equality: A randomized controlled trial By Hermes, Henning; Krauß, Marina; Lergetporer, Philipp; Peter, Frauke; Wiederhold, Simon
  2. Seemingly Irrelevant Factors and Willingness to Block Polluting Investments By Nicolás Ajzenman; Lenin Balza; Hernán D. Bejarano; Camilo de los Rios; Nicolás Gómez-Parra
  3. Anchoring Households’ Inflation Expectations When Inflation Is High By Giang Nghiem; Lena Dräger; Ami Dalloul
  4. Internet piracy and book sales: a field experiment By Wojciech Hardy; Michał Krawczyk
  5. Misperceived Social Norms and Willingness to Act Against Climate Change By Peter Andre; Teodora Boneva; Felix Chopra; Armin Falk
  6. Delegation to artificial agents fosters prosocial behaviors in the collective risk dilemma By Elias Fernández Domingos; Inês Terrucha; Rémi Suchon; Jelena Grujić; Juan Burguillo; Francisco Santos; Tom Lenaerts
  7. Gamblified digital product offerings: an experimental study of loot box menu designs By Adam, Martin; Roethke, Konstantin; Benlian, Alexander
  8. Application barriers and the socioeconomic gap in child care enrollment By Hermes, Henning; Lergetporer, Philipp; Peter, Frauke; Wiederhold, Simon
  9. Measuring Norms: Assessing the threat of Social Desirability Bias to the Bicchieri and Xiao elicitation method By Bogliacino, Francesco; Aycinena, Diego; Kimbrough, Erik
  10. Application Barriers and the Socioeconomic Gap in Child Care Enrollment By Hermes, Henning; Lergetporer, Philipp; Peter, Frauke; Wiederhold, Simon
  11. Misperceived Effectiveness and the Demand for Psychotherapy By Christopher Roth; Peter Schwardmann; Egon Tripodi
  12. Empathy in risky choices regarding others By Erita Narhetali; Magdalena Smyk; Marek Weretka
  13. Framed Norms. The effect of choice-belief information on tax compliance By F. Atzori; V. Pelligra
  14. Truth by Consensus: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation By Gabriele Camera; Rodney Garratt; Cyril Monnet
  15. The Consequences of Narrow Framing for Risk-Taking: A Stress Test of Myopic Loss Aversion By Rene Schwaiger; Markus Strucks; Stefan Zeisberger
  16. Discovering tax decentralization: Does it impact marginal willingness to pay taxes? By José Mª Durán-Cabré; Alejandro Esteller-Moré; Luca Salvadori
  17. Eliciting normative expectations with coordination games allowing for neutral report By Bogliacino, Francesco; Aycinena, Diego; Kimbrough, Erik
  18. Consumer impatience: A key motive for Covid-19 vaccination By Marlène Guillon; Phu Nguyen-Van; Bruno Ventelou; Marc Willinger
  19. Strategic Interactions between Large Language Models-based Agents in Beauty Contests By Siting Lu

  1. By: Hermes, Henning; Krauß, Marina; Lergetporer, Philipp; Peter, Frauke; Wiederhold, Simon
    Abstract: We provide experimental evidence that enabling access to universal early child care increases maternal labor supply and promotes gender equality among families with lower socioeconomic status (SES). Our intervention offers information and customized help with child care applications, leading to a boost in child care enrollment among lower-SES families. 18 months after the intervention, we find substantial increases in maternal full-time employment (+160%), maternal earnings (+22%), and household income (+10%). Intriguingly, the positive employment effects are not only driven by extended hours at child care centers, but also by an increase in care hours by fathers. Gender equality also benefits more broadly from better access to child care: The treatment improves a gender equality index that combines information on intra-household division of working hours, care hours, and earnings by 40% of a standard deviation, with significant increases in each dimension. For higher-SES families, we consistently observe negligible, insignificant treatment effects.
    Keywords: child care, gender equality, maternal employment, randomized controlled trial
    JEL: C93 J13 J18 J22
    Date: 2024
  2. By: Nicolás Ajzenman (McGill University/IZA); Lenin Balza (Inter-American Development Bank); Hernán D. Bejarano (CIDE/Economic Science Institute/Chapman University); Camilo de los Rios (Duke University); Nicolás Gómez-Parra (Inter-American Development Bank)
    Abstract: Using an online multi-country video-vignette survey experiment, we measure bias against extractive industries and foreign firms in individuals’ perceptions and preferencesrelated to industrial projects with potential economic benefits and environmental costs. Individuals face a hypothetical industrial investment project with arandomly 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 blockthe 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, Valuations
    JEL: C90 D70 D90 L71 Q30 Q51
    Date: 2024–05
  3. By: Giang Nghiem; Lena Dräger; Ami Dalloul
    Abstract: This paper explores communication strategies for anchoring households’ medium-term inflation expectations in a high inflation environment. We conducted a survey experiment with a representative sample of 4, 000 German households at the height of the recent inflation surge in early 2023, with information treatments including a qualitative statement by the ECB president and quantitative information about the ECB’s inflation target or projected inflation. Inflation projections are most effective, but combining information about the target with a qualitative statement also significantly improves anchoring. The treatment effects are particularly pronounced among respondents with high financial literacy and high trust in the central bank.
    Keywords: anchoring of inflation expectations, central bank communication, survey experiment, randomized controlled trial (RCT)
    JEL: E52 E31 D84
    Date: 2024
  4. By: Wojciech Hardy (University of Warsaw); Michał Krawczyk (University of Warsaw; Group for Research in Applied Economics (GRAPE); Group for Research in Applied Economics (GRAPE); University of Warsaw; Institute of Labor Economics (IZA))
    Abstract: The widespread Internet ``piracy'' continues to fuel the debate about business models impervious to copyright infringement. We studied the displacement effects of ``piracy'' on sales in the book industry. We conducted a year-long large-scale field experiment: in the treatment group, we removed unauthorized copies appearing on the Internet and observed the sales data, whereas in the control group, we simply observed sales. We were able to substantially curb the unauthorized distribution, which resulted in a small, positive effect on sales. While using classical analysis we found it not to be significantly different from zero, a Bayesian approach using previous ``piracy'' studies to generate a prior led to the conclusion that protecting from piracy resulted in a significant sales boost of about 9 percent.
    Keywords: digital piracy, copyright infringement, sales displacement, books, field experiment
    JEL: C93 D12 K42 L82 O34
    Date: 2023
  5. By: Peter Andre (Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE); Teodora Boneva (Department of Economics, University of Bonn); Felix Chopra (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Armin Falk (Department of Economics, University of Bonn)
    Abstract: We document the individual willingness to act against climate change and study the role of social norms in a large sample of US adults. Individual beliefs about social norms positively predict pro-climate donations, comparable in strength to universal moral values and economic preferences such as patience and reciprocity. However, we document systematic misperceptions of social norms. Respondents vastly underestimate the prevalence of climate-friendly behaviors and norms. Correcting these misperceptions inan experiment causally raises individual willingness to act against climate change as well as individual support for climate policies. The effects are strongest for individuals who are skeptical about the existence and threat of global warming.
    Keywords: Climate change, climate behavior, climate policies, social norms, misperception, beliefs, economic preferences, moral values, survey experiments
    JEL: D64 D83 D91 Q51 Q54 Z13
    Date: 2024–04–17
  6. By: Elias Fernández Domingos; Inês Terrucha; Rémi Suchon (ETHICS EA 7446 - Experience ; Technology & Human Interactions ; Care & Society : - ICL - Institut Catholique de Lille - UCL - Université catholique de Lille, UCL - Université catholique de Lille); Jelena Grujić; Juan Burguillo; Francisco Santos; Tom Lenaerts
    Abstract: Home assistant chat-bots, self-driving cars, drones or automated negotiation systems are some of the several examples of autonomous (artificial) agents that have pervaded our society. These agents enable the automation of multiple tasks, saving time and (human) effort. However, their presence in social settings raises the need for a better understanding of their effect on social interactions and how they may be used to enhance cooperation towards the public good, instead of hindering it. To this end, we present an experimental study of human delegation to autonomous agents and hybrid human-agent interactions centered on a non-linear public goods dilemma with uncertain returns in which participants face a collective risk. Our aim is to understand experimentally whether the presence of autonomous agents has a positive or negative impact on social behaviour, equality and cooperation in such a dilemma. Our results show that cooperation and group success increases when participants delegate their actions to an artificial agent that plays on their behalf. Yet, this positive effect is less pronounced when humans interact in hybrid human-agent groups, where we mostly observe that humans in successful hybrid groups make higher contributions earlier in the game. Also, we show that participants wrongly believe that artificial agents will contribute less to the collective effort. In general, our results suggest that delegation to autonomous agents has the potential to work as commitment devices, which prevent both the temptation to deviate to an alternate (less collectively good) course of action, as well as limiting responses based on betrayal aversion.
    Date: 2022–05–19
  7. By: Adam, Martin; Roethke, Konstantin; Benlian, Alexander
    Abstract: To augment traditional monetization strategies, digital platform providers increasingly draw on gamblification (i.e., the use of gambling design elements). By means of gambling design elements (e.g., lottery tickets, scratch cards, loot boxes), platform providers do not only entertain users but also incentivize them to purchase digital products. Yet, despite the increasing prevalence of gamblified digital platforms, little is known about how gamblification influences user purchase behaviors. Drawing on prospect theory, we investigate gamblification in the form of loot box menu designs and the associated effects of uncertainty, loss experience and behavioral control on user purchase behavior. Specifically, we conducted a contest-based online experiment with 159 participants, finding that platform providers can profit from offering loot boxes with certain (vs. uncertain) rewards in loot box menus. Furthermore, this effect intensifies when participants previously experienced a loss and decreases when they perceive to have more control over the result. Thus, our findings provide theoretical and practical insights for a better understanding of gamblification in general and of loot box menu designs for enhancing digital business models in particular.
    Date: 2024–03–26
  8. By: Hermes, Henning; Lergetporer, Philipp; Peter, Frauke; Wiederhold, Simon
    Abstract: Why are children with lower socioeconomic status (SES) substantially less likely to be enrolled in child care? We study whether barriers in the application process work against lower-SES children - the group known to benefit strongest from child care enrollment. In an RCT in Germany with highly subsidized child care (N = 607), we offer treated families information and personal assistance for applications. We find substantial, equity-enhancing effects of the treatment, closing half of the large SES gap in child care enrollment. Increased enrollment for lower-SES families is likely driven by altered application knowledge and behavior. We discuss scalability of our intervention and derive policy implications for the design of universal child care programs.
    Keywords: application barriers, child care, early childhood, educational inequality, information, randomized controlled trial
    JEL: C93 I21 J13 J18 J24
    Date: 2024
  9. By: Bogliacino, Francesco (Universidad Nacional de Colombia); Aycinena, Diego (Universidad del Rosario); Kimbrough, Erik
    Abstract: Bicchieri and Xiao (2009) pioneered a method for eliciting normative expectations. Using a two-step procedure, the method first elicits non-incentivized reports of subjects' Personal Normative Beliefs regarding the most appropriate action from a set of possible options. In the second step, subjects are incentivized to predict the distribution of beliefs reported by others in the first step, thus capturing their normative expectations. However, the lack of incentives in the first step of the method introduces the potential for belief falsification. One possible motive for falsification is Social Desirability Bias. We explain how such bias could, in theory, influence measurement of norms under this method and report pre-registered experiments designed to induce biased disclosure of beliefs in the first step. Our experiments vary the threat of sanctioning by third-party monitors: in one treatment, respondents may wish to falsify their reported beliefs about the norm in a variant of the dictator game. Pre-registered results show a relatively small and non-significant effect of SDB. We explore the underlying conditions that make SDB more likely to threaten the identification of normative expectations. Exploratory results suggest an important role of awareness of the incentives to misreport in the first stage -the information asymmetry between respondents and third parties in our design. Researchers who plan to use this method to measure sensitive local norms should be aware of the conditions under which this potential bias is likely to materialize and design their studies to minimize it.
    Date: 2024–04–02
  10. By: Hermes, Henning (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Lergetporer, Philipp (Technical University of Munich); Peter, Frauke (DZHW-German Centre for Research on Higher Education and Science Studies); Wiederhold, Simon (IWH Halle)
    Abstract: Why are children with lower socioeconomic status (SES) substantially less likely to be enrolled in child care? We study whether barriers in the application process work against lower-SES children — the group known to benefit strongest from child care enrollment. In an RCT in Germany with highly subsidized child care (N = 607), we offer treated families information and personal assistance for applications. We find substantial, equity-enhancing effects of the treatment, closing half of the large SES gap in child care enrollment. Increased enrollment for lower-SES families is likely driven by altered application knowledge and behavior. We discuss scalability of our intervention and derive policy implications for the design of universal child care programs.
    Keywords: educational inequality, information, application barriers, early childhood, child care, randomized controlled trial
    JEL: I21 J13 J18 J24 C93
    Date: 2024–04
  11. By: Christopher Roth; Peter Schwardmann; Egon Tripodi
    Abstract: While psychotherapy has been shown to be effective in treating depression, take-up remains low. In a sample of 1, 843 depressed individuals, we document that effectiveness concerns are top-of-mind when respondents consider the value of therapy. We then show that the average respondent underestimates the effectiveness of therapy and that an information treatment correcting this misperception increases participants’ incentivized willingness to pay for therapy. Information affects therapy demand by changing beliefs rather than by shifting attention. Our results suggest that information interventions that target the perceived effectiveness of therapy are a potent tool in combating the ongoing mental health crisis.
    Keywords: Mental Health, Depression, Psychotherapy, Beliefs, Effectiveness, Information policy
    Date: 2024–04–17
  12. By: Erita Narhetali (Group for Research in Applied Economics (GRAPE)); Magdalena Smyk (Group for Research in Applied Economics (GRAPE); Warsaw School of Economics); Marek Weretka (Group for Research in Applied Economics (GRAPE); University of Wisconsin-Madison)
    Abstract: One of the assumptions of the affective empathy theory is that individuals have consistent preferences over outcomes. However, there is empirical evidence showing violation of such assumption. In particular, in Asian disease experiment subjects are more likely to choose risky over safe rescue plan (with the same expected outcome) under loss than under gain framing. In this study, we induce empathy in the Asian disease study to test whether providing sympathetic or antipathetic relationship between decision-maker and the others affect the size of the framing gap (GvL gap). We find that inducing affection leads to reduction of the gap.
    Keywords: Affect empathy, Asian disease problem, empathetic altruism
    JEL: D64 C93 D91
    Date: 2023
  13. By: F. Atzori; V. Pelligra
    Abstract: Understanding the factors influencing people's choices in tax compliance decision-making is still important because tax evasion is a crucial issue for governments everywhere. This lab experiment investigates how social norms influence tax compliance behavior. We examine the effects of positive and negative empirical and normative expectations using the opinion-matching approach for measurement. According to our results, normative expectations—as opposed to empirical expectations—most strongly impact people's behavior. Surprisingly, positive empirical messages may have a negative effect, increasing tax evasion. Furthering our understanding of the causes of tax evasion, we also include a norm-following task to assess participants' propensity to adhere to norms. This study presents new viewpoints on tax compliance while replicating some established conclusions from previous research sheds new light on the interaction between tax compliance and social norms.
    Keywords: H26;E26;O17;D91;C92
    Date: 2024
  14. By: Gabriele Camera (Chapman University); Rodney Garratt (Bank for International Settlements); Cyril Monnet (University of Bern, Study Center Gerzensee)
    Abstract: Truthful reporting about the realization of a publicly observed event cannot be guaranteed by a consensus process. This fact, which we establish theoretically and verify empirically, holds true even if some individuals are compelled to tell the truth, regardless of economic incentives. We document results from an experiment where subjects routinely misreported a commonly known event when they could monetarily gain from it. Relying on majority consensus did not help uncover the truth, especially if complying with the majority granted small personal monetary gains. This highlights the difficulties in relying on shared consensus protocols to agree on specific events, and the importance of institutions with trusted, impartial observers.
    Date: 2024–04
  15. By: Rene Schwaiger; Markus Strucks; Stefan Zeisberger
    Abstract: Narrow bracketing in combination with loss aversion has been shown to reduce individual risk-taking. This is known as myopic loss aversion (MLA) and has been corroborated by many studies. Recent evidence has contested this notion indicating that MLA’s applicability is confined to highly artificial settings. Given the impact of these findings, we reevaluated the evidence on MLA involving a total of 2, 245 university students, thereby achieving substantially higher statistical power than in almost all previous studies. To clarify inconsistencies in the literature, specifically under more realistic investment environments, we systematically modified the seminal study design by Gneezy and Potters (1997) to include five key adjustments. These involved realistic, down-scaled returns, return compounding, and extended investment horizons. Contrary to some prior studies that have raised doubts about the robustness of MLA, our results—which are highly robust to analytical heterogeneity—consistently document the presence of MLA across all experimental conditions. Our findings substantiate the widespread applicability of MLA and underscore the benefits of disclosing aggregated returns in practical financial decision-making contexts.
    Keywords: myopic loss aversion, narrow framing, risk-taking, meta science, replication
    JEL: D14 D81 G02 G11
    Date: 2024–05
  16. By: José Mª Durán-Cabré (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB); Alejandro Esteller-Moré (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB); Luca Salvadori (UAB & BSE & IEB & TARC (University of Exeter))
    Abstract: Decentralized fiscal decision-making should serve to enhance welfare by promoting allocative efficiency gains and fostering greater political accountability. Within such an institutional framework, individuals are assumed to be willing to pay, at least, no less taxes than those they pay in a centralized system. We test this hypothesis by means of a survey experiment, leveraging the process of decentralization that has unfolded in Spain over the last 25 years. Our results suggest that individuals have very limited awareness of the tier of government to which they pay their taxes, frequently assuming the system to be centralized. This holds true even in regions where tax decentralization is maximum, as is the case of Spain’s foral communities. On ‘discovering decentralization’ (i.e., being informed that a tax is more decentralized than initially perceived), an individual’s marginal willingness to pay taxes undergoes only a minimal change, with the exception of that of personal income tax. These findings raise questions about the purported benefits of tax decentralization.
    Keywords: Tax Decentralization; Fiscal Knowledge; Survey Data
    JEL: H11 H71 H77
    Date: 2024
  17. By: Bogliacino, Francesco (Universidad Nacional de Colombia); Aycinena, Diego (Universidad del Rosario); Kimbrough, Erik
    Abstract: We measure normative expectations in dictator games and naturally occurring vignettes using the norm-elicitation procedure based on coordination games (Krupka & Weber, 2013). We test a five-item scale, allowing subjects to report "neither socially appropriate nor inappropriate" behavior. In principle, this category is better suited to identify heterogeneity in normative expectations or asymmetries around the most appropriate action (as in the dictator game) but provides an oddity that may constitute a focal point, biasing the report. We find no evidence of distortions but also limited evidence of changes in the shape of the distribution. The use of the neutral category is robust to the inclusion of an incentive-compatible "I don't know" response, confirming that the category is correctly interpreted by subjects. The elicitation method using the coordination game appears robust to the risk of false positives (detecting norms where they do not apply) and the risk of a competing focal point. Based on our results, scholars who intend to recover norms in settings with asymmetries and normative and non-normative actions may use the neutral category, but if these issues are not a concern, should stick with the standard scale.
    Date: 2024–04–02
  18. By: Marlène Guillon (MRE - Montpellier Recherche en Economie - UM - Université de Montpellier); Phu Nguyen-Van (EconomiX - EconomiX - UPN - Université Paris Nanterre - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Bruno Ventelou (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); Marc Willinger (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement - Institut Agro Montpellier - Institut Agro - Institut national d'enseignement supérieur pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement - UM - Université de Montpellier)
    Abstract: We study the behavioral determinants of COVID-19 vaccination uptake. The vaccine-pass policy, implemented in several countries in 2021, conditioned the access to leisure and consumption places to being vaccinated against COVID-19 and created an unprecedented situation where individuals' access to consumption goods and vaccine status were interrelated. We rely on a quasi-hyperbolic discounting model to study the plausible relationships between time preference and the decision to vaccinate in such context. We test the predictions of our model using data collected from a representative sample of the French population (N = 1034) in August and September 2021. Respondents were asked about their COVID-19 vaccination status (zero, one, or two doses), as well as their economic and social preferences. Preference elicitations were undertaken online through incentivized tasks, with parallel collection of self-stated preferences. Factors associated with COVID-19 vaccination were investigated using a logistic model. Both elicited and stated impatience were found to be positively associated with COVID-19 vaccination decisions. These results suggest that impatience is a key motivational lever for vaccine uptake in a context where the vaccination decision is multidimensional and impacts the consumption potential. Results also serve to highlight the potential effectiveness of public communications campaigns based on time preferences to increase vaccination coverage.
    Keywords: Time preferences, Time inconsistency, Health behavior, COVID-19 Vaccination
    Date: 2024–06
  19. By: Siting Lu
    Abstract: The growing adoption of large language models (LLMs) presents substantial potential for deeper understanding of human behaviours within game theory frameworks through simulations. Leveraging on the diverse pool of LLM types and addressing the gap in research on competitive games, this paper examines the strategic interactions among multiple types of LLM-based agents in a classical game of beauty contest. Drawing parallels to experiments involving human subjects, LLM-based agents are assessed similarly in terms of strategic levels. They demonstrate varying depth of reasoning that falls within a range of level-0 and 1, and show convergence in actions in repeated settings. Furthermore, I also explore how variations in group composition of agent types influence strategic behaviours, where I found higher proportion of fixed-strategy opponents enhances convergence for LLM-based agents, and having a mixed environment with agents of differing relative strategic levels accelerates convergence for all agents. There could also be higher average payoffs for the more intelligent agents, albeit at the expense of the less intelligent agents. These results not only provide insights into outcomes for simulated agents under specified scenarios, it also offer valuable implications for understanding strategic interactions between algorithms.
    Date: 2024–04

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