New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2009‒09‒26
five papers chosen by

  1. Conational Drivers Influencing Brand Preference among Consumers By Rajagopal
  2. The Cycle of (Legal) Violence? Child Abuse and Military Aspirations By Christopher Khawand
  3. SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING OF BEIJING TAXI DRIVERS By Ingrid Nielsen; Olga Paritski; Russell Smyth
  4. PERSONAL WELL-BEING IN URBAN CHINA By Russell Smyth; Ingrid Nielsen; Qingguo Zhai
  5. Absolute vs. Relative Notion of Wealth Changes By Kontek, Krzysztof

  1. By: Rajagopal (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Ciudad de México)
    Abstract: Consumers recognize brands by building favorable attitude towards them and through the purchase decision process. Brand preference is understood as a measure of brand loyalty in which a consumer exercises his decision to choose a particular brand in presence of competing brands. This study aims at discussing the cognitive factors that determine brand preference among consumers based on empirical research. Brand attributes including emotions, attitudes, personality, image, reputation and trust which influence consumer perceptions and temporal association with brands are critically examined in the study. The study reveals that higher brand relevance and trust build strong the association of consumers with brand in long-run.
    Keywords: Cognitive behavior, brand identity, personality traits, brand association, brand image, trust, corporate reputation, mass market, brand preference, consumer value
    JEL: D10 M31 L81
    Date: 2009–02
  2. By: Christopher Khawand (Department of Economics, Florida International University)
    Abstract: Most prior research on military enlistment has focused on characteristics that can be used to identify potential recruits, but has rarely looked at the psychological histories of those recruits. Data on Wisconsin seniors in 1957 from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study was used to build a large profile of socio-economic controls for testing the “cycle of violence” hypothesis – that physical abuse in childhood leads to violent adult impulses – as manifested through aspirations for a military career. Results were generated using a probit model with reported military aspirations as the dependent variable. For (mostly Caucasian) male Wisconsin respondents in 1957, retrospective self-reports of physical abuse by the respondents’ fathers was associated with an (average) increase in probability of an aspiration to a military career of approximately 8%, which may be underestimated due to underreporting of abuse. The relationship of military aspiration to verbal abuse and physical abuse by the respondent’s mother was unclear, likely due to collinearity or alternative, negative abuse outcomes that make military life unappealing. There are two significant implications to these results: first, that military employment serves as a psychologically similar but alternative outcome to domestic abuse or violent crime, except without the associated stigma; and second, that military life presents challenges that reward psychological adaptations and defenses deriving from childhood victimization, thereby increasing its appeal to child abuse victims.
    JEL: J12
    Date: 2009–09
  3. By: Ingrid Nielsen; Olga Paritski; Russell Smyth
    Abstract: This study investigates subjective well-being among a sample of Beijing taxi drivers in the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games using the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI). The specific aims of this study are (a) ascertain whether Beijing taxi drivers are satisfied with their lives; (b) investigate the psychometric properties of the PWI in this unique population; and (c) examine whether the responses to the PWI from participants falls within the narrow range predicted by the ???Theory of Subjective Wellbeing Homeostasis???. The PWI demonstrated good psychometric properties and was consistent with previous studies for Western and non-Western samples. The data revealed a moderate level of subjective well-being (PWI score = 61.1). While Beijing taxi drivers work long hours for low wages, the PWI was nonetheless within the normative range predicted for Chinese societies by the ???Theory of Subjective Wellbeing Homeostasis???. The results suggest that the homeostatic mechanism is fairly resilient, even when the individual leads a hard life based on objective indicators. For Beijing taxi drivers, it may be that personal relationships and feeling part of the community acts as an important buffer for the homeostatic system.
    Keywords: China, Personal Wellbeing Index, Subjective Wellbeing
    Date: 2009–03–01
  4. By: Russell Smyth; Ingrid Nielsen; Qingguo Zhai
    Abstract: This paper reports the findings of a survey administering the Personal Well-Being Index in six Chinese cities (N=3390) to ascertain the personal well-being of China's urban population.The specific aims of the study were: (a) ascertain whether Chinese urban residents are satisfied with their lives; (b) validate the PWI using an urban sample that is representative of the urban population and larger in size than that which has been utilized in existing studies for Mainland China; (c) compare the results to existing studies for Hong Kong, Macau, rural China and single city studies which have administered the PWI in Guangdong and Shandong; (d) examine whether the responses to the PWI from participants falls within the narrow range predicted by the ???Theory of Subjective Wellbeing Homeostasis??? and provide further evidence on whether this framework is applicable to Chinese samples; and (e) examine which participant characteristics predict personal well-being, examine whether own income and/or relative income predicts personal well-being and compare these results with previous studies for China and other countries. The data indicated a moderate level of personal well-being (PWI score = 67.1). The PWI demonstrated good psychometric performance in terms of its reliability, validity and sensitivity, consistent with previous published studies. The PWI was within the normative range for non-Western countries and was within the narrow band predicted by the ???Theory of Subjective Wellbeing Homeostasis???. Similar variables were found to predict personal well-being to those found in previous studies for China and elsewhere.
    Keywords: China, Personal Wellbeing Index, Subjective Wellbeing
    Date: 2009–02–01
  5. By: Kontek, Krzysztof
    Abstract: This paper discusses solutions derived from lottery experiments using two contradicting assumptions: that people perceive wealth changes as absolute amounts of money; and that people consider wealth changes as a proportion of some reference value dependant on the context of the problem under consideration. The former assumption leads to the design of Prospect Theory, the latter - to the aspiration / relative utility function (Kontek, 2009a), a solution closely resembling the utility function hypothesized by Markowitz (1952). This paper presents several crucial arguments for the latter approach, the major one being that people regard changes in wealth in a relative way is founded on Weber’s Law. This fundamental law of psychophysics contradicts the claim that gains and losses are perceived in absolute terms. Second, the absolute notion inevitably leads to the concept of probability weighting having to be incorporated into the descriptive model. This is not necessary when gains and losses are considered as relative values. Finally, the absolute notion leads to ambiguous solutions in that many different explanations for people’s behavior may be derived from the same set of experimental data. No such danger exists with the relative notion of gains and losses. This paper therefore provides strong arguments for rejecting the Prospect Theory approach and lays a foundation for a new Relative Utility Theory in the field of decision making under conditions of risk.
    Keywords: Prospect / Cumulative Prospect Theory; Probability Weighting Function; Markowitz Hypothesis; Aspiration / Relative Utility Function / Theory; Mental Accounts; Problem Framing and Scaling; Psychophysics; Weber’s Law; Experimental Design; Lottery; Decision Making Under Risk.
    JEL: D81 D01 D87 C91
    Date: 2009–09–16

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.