New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2010‒01‒30
three papers chosen by

  1. Family Violence and Football: The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior By David Card; Gordon Dahl
  2. Homeostasis and Well Being By Malcolm Dowling; Yap Chin-Fang
  3. Genome-wide Association Studies and the Genetics of Entrepreneurship By Loos, M. van der; Koellinger, Ph.D.; Groenen, P.J.F.; Thurik, A.R.

  1. By: David Card (University of California Berkeley); Gordon Dahl (University of California, San Diego)
    Abstract: Family violence is a pervasive and costly problem, yet there is no consensus on how to interpret the phenomenon of violence by one family member against another. Some analysts assume that violence has an instrumental role in intra-family incentives. Others argue that violent episodes represent a loss of control that the offender immediately regrets. In this paper we specify and test a behavioral model of the latter form in which the strength of an emotional cue depends on outcomes relative to expectations and individuals exhibit loss aversion. Our key hypothesis is that negative emotional cues -- benchmarked relative to a rationally expected reference point -- make a breakdown of control more likely. We test this hypothesis using data on police reports of family violence on Sundays during the professional football season. Controlling for location and time fixed effects, weather factors, the pre-game point spread, and the size of the local viewing audience, we find that upset losses by the home team (losses in games that the home team was predicted to win by more than 3 points) lead to an 8 percent increase in police reports of at-home male-on-female intimate partner violence. There is no corresponding effect on female-on-male violence. Consistent with the behavioral prediction that losses matter more than gains, upset victories by the home team have (at most) a small dampening effect on family violence. We also find that unexpected losses in highly salient or frustrating games have a 50% to 100% larger impact on rates of family violence. The evidence that payoff-irrelevant events affect the rate of family violence leads us to conclude that at least some fraction of family violence is better characterized as a breakdown of control than as an intra-family incentive system. More generally, the empirical findings suggest that gain-loss utility with a rational reference point could be a useful approach to modeling other cues and visceral influences.
    Date: 2009–10
  2. By: Malcolm Dowling; Yap Chin-Fang (Singapore Management University)
    Abstract: The paper suggests that maintenance of a homeostatic equilibrium provides a rationale for many actions of economic agents. Homeostatic equilibrium has physical, economic, emotional, psychological and environmental dimensions. The characteristics of this equilibrium include feelings of safety, trust, connectedness with friends, family and community, and a predictable and welcoming social and work environment. Individuals generally make decisions that help them move toward and achieve this state of equilibrium. Departure from homeostasis reduces well being and stimulates agents to take actions that will return them to a state of homeostasis. This hypothesis is tested with probit analysis using sample responses from the four waves of the World Values Surveys conducted between 1980 and 2002. Results generally support the homeostasis hypothesis. Variables that reflect departure from homeostasis such as divorce and poor health are highly significant, pointing to a reduction in well being. Variables that reflect the importance of friends, family, a trusting social and work environment have significant impacts to raise well being.
    Keywords: Homeostatic equilibrium, development
    JEL: I3
    Date: 2010–01
  3. By: Loos, M. van der; Koellinger, Ph.D.; Groenen, P.J.F.; Thurik, A.R. (Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), RSM Erasmus University)
    Abstract: We are currently investigating genetic influences on self-employment in an international research consortium using genome-wide association studies (GWAS). By meta-analysing results from numerous independent samples we address identification issues arising from multiple testing. To our knowledge, this is the earliest attempt to apply GWAS to an economic outcome of a relatively general nature. Our study will reveal potentials and limitations of this approach for economic research.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship;genetics
    Date: 2010–01–15

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