New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2009‒05‒23
five papers chosen by

  1. Is brain activity observable that leads to an evaluation of a probability of 0.5 that is different from 0.5 in binary lottery choices? By Marcus Heldmann; Ralf Morgenstern; Thomas Münte; Bodo Vogt
  2. Birth Weight and the Dynamics of Early Cognitive and Behavioural Development By Del bono E; Ermisch J
  3. Noncognitive Skills, School Achievements and Educational Dropout By Katja Coneus; Johannes Gernandt; Marianne Saam
  4. Happiness and age cycles – return to start… By Fischer, Justina AV
  5. The China Great Leap Forward Famine: The Lasting Impact of Mothers’ Fetal Malnutrition on Their Offspring By Belton M. Fleisher; Seonghoon Kim

  1. By: Marcus Heldmann (Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg); Ralf Morgenstern (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg); Thomas Münte (Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg); Bodo Vogt (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)
    Abstract: This paper focuses on the problem of probability weighing in the evaluation of lotteries. According to Prospect Theory a probability of 0.5 has a weight of smaller than 0.5. We conduct an EEG experiment in which we compare the results of the evaluation of binary lotteries by certainty equivalents with the results of the bisection method. The bisection method gives the amount of money that corresponds to the midpoint of the utilities of the two payoffs in a binary lottery as it has been shown previously. In this method probabilities are not evaluated. We analyzed EEG data focused on whether a probability is evaluated or not. Our data show differences between the two methods connected with the attention towards sure monetary payoffs, but they do not show brain activity connected with a devaluation of the probability of 0.5.
    Date: 2009–01
  2. By: Del bono E (Institute for Social and Economic Research); Ermisch J (Institute for Social and Economic Research)
    Abstract: In this paper we explore the impact of birth weight on childrenÂ’s cognitive and behavioural outcomes using data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study. In order to deal with the endogeneity of birth weight we propose an eliminant estimator, which exploits the availability of multiple outcomes for the same individual at the same point in time. The results show that birth weight has significant but very small effects on male cognitive development at age 3 and on female cognitive and behavioural outcomes at age 3. We also find that birth weight affects age 5 outcomes only through previous achievements, and that the overall impact fades out over time. These findings call into question the effectiveness of birth weight as a policy target.
    Date: 2009–05–14
  3. By: Katja Coneus; Johannes Gernandt; Marianne Saam
    Abstract: We analyse the determinants of dropout from secondary and vocational education in Germany using data from the Socio-Economic Panel from 2000 to 2007. In addition to the role of classical variables like family background and school achievements, we examine the effect of noncognitive skills. Both, better school grades and higher noncognitive skills reduce the risk to become an educational dropout. The influence of school achievements on the dropout probability tends to decrease and the influence of noncognitive skills tends to increase with age.
    Keywords: Noncognitive skills, school grades, secondary education, vocational training
    JEL: I21 J13 J24
    Date: 2009
  4. By: Fischer, Justina AV
    Abstract: Previous happiness research has explicitly assumed that subjective well-being is U-shaped in age. This paper sheds new light on this issue testing several functional forms. Using micro data from the World Values Survey on 44’000 persons in 30 economically well-developed OECD countries with long life expectancies, we reveal that age follows a hyperbolic form. We find that life satisfaction reaches another local maximum around the age of 83, with a level identical to that of a 26-years old. This hyperbolic well-being-age relation is robust to the inclusion of cohort effects. We corroborate the functional form using a sample of non-OECD countries.
    Keywords: Subjective Well-Being; cohorts; happiness; aging; life-course; OECD; WVS; cross-national; life satisfaction
    JEL: C51 J14 I31
    Date: 2009–02–15
  5. By: Belton M. Fleisher (Department of Economics, Ohio State University); Seonghoon Kim (Department of Economics, Ohio State University)
    Abstract: Mothers born around the China Great Leap Forward Famine (famine-born mothers) are likely to have worse adult outcomes due to a negative relationship between fetal malnutrition and their health and cognitive ability. Using data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey, I investigate whether famine-born mothers transmit less human capital to their offspring through various channels, including less cognitive ability and other innate traits and by the choice of less investment in children’s human capital. My study also focuses on possible gender differences in these effects. I find that in-utero famine experience of famine-born mothers is negatively related to the education and labor outcomes of their offspring. However, female children are less affected by mothers’ famine experience than are men. This outcome suggests that Trivers-Willard (1973) effects dominate parental-choice effects despite the well-known son-preference of China.
    Keywords: Gender difference, Malnutrition, Health, Labor Market Outcomes, Schooling, Barker hypothesis, Trivers-Willard hypothesis, China Famine
    JEL: I12 J16 P36
    Date: 2009–05

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