New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2010‒03‒13
five papers chosen by

  1. The Role of Early-Life Conditions in the Cognitive Decline due to Adverse Events Later in Life By van den Berg, Gerard J.; Deeg, Dorly J. H.; Lindeboom, Maarten; Portrait, France
  2. Bending arms, bending discounting functions. How motor actions affect intertemporal decision-making. By Van den Bergh, Bram; Schmitt, Julien; Dewitte, Siegfried; Warlop, Luk
  3. The Costs of a Quiet Disorder: Direct and Indirect Costs of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension By Daniel Friesner; Robert Rosenman; Brenna Lobb; Emanuel Tanne
  4. Evolutionary theories of cultural change. By Wenseleers, Tom; Dewitte, Siegfried; De Block, Andreas
  5. On the Origin of the Family By Marco Francesconi; Christian Ghiglino; Motty Perry

  1. By: van den Berg, Gerard J. (University of Mannheim); Deeg, Dorly J. H. (VU University Amsterdam); Lindeboom, Maarten (VU University Amsterdam); Portrait, France (VU University Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Cognitive functioning of elderly individuals may be affected by events such as the loss of a (grand)child or partner or the onset of a serious chronic condition, and by negative economic shocks such as job loss or the reduction of pension benefits. It is conceivable that the impact of such events is stronger if conditions early in life were adverse. In this paper we address this using a Dutch longitudinal database that follows elderly individuals for more than 15 years and contains information on demographics, socio-economic conditions, life events, health, and cognitive functioning. We exploit exogenous variation in early-life conditions as generated by the business cycle. We also examine to what extent the cumulative effect of consecutive shocks later in life exceeds the sum of the separate effects, and whether economic and health shocks later in life reinforce each other in their effect on cognitive functioning.
    Keywords: cognitive functioning, business cycle, bereavement, developmental origins, retirement, health, long-run effects, dementia
    JEL: I12 I10 J14 E32
    Date: 2010–02
  2. By: Van den Bergh, Bram; Schmitt, Julien; Dewitte, Siegfried; Warlop, Luk
    Abstract: In five studies we demonstrate that task-irrelevant somatic activity influences intertemporal decision making: Arm movements associated with approach (arm flexion), rather than avoidance (arm extension), instigate present-biased preferences. We show that the preference for immediate over delayed gratification is moderated by the sensitivity of the approach system and, owing to learning principles, restricted to arm positions of the dominant hand. This research extends the effects of somatic activity beyond attitude formation and cognition, and provides empirical evidence for the effect of somatic activity on motivational systems.
    Date: 2009–10
  3. By: Daniel Friesner; Robert Rosenman; Brenna Lobb; Emanuel Tanne (School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University)
    Abstract: Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH; pseudotumor cerebri) is a disorder with a reported incidence rate of one to three per 100,000 people in the general population. The rate among obese females of childbearing age is approximately 20 out of every 100,000 (1,9,17,25). As its name suggests, the disorder arises from unknown causes, and manifests itself in the form of elevated cerebrospinal fluid pressure within the skull. Those afflicted with IIH often experience an array of signs and symptoms suggestive of IH, including papilledema, severe headaches, visual disturbances and pulsatile synchronous tinnitus, which can severely limit functional independence and quality of life (8,19,20).
    Keywords: idiopathic intracranial hypertension, economic costs, shunts, medical costs, pseudotumor cerebri
    JEL: I1
    Date: 2009–07
  4. By: Wenseleers, Tom; Dewitte, Siegfried; De Block, Andreas
    Abstract: Over the last decades, many scholars have hinted at the possibility of a grand evolutionary synthesis, which would revolutionize the social sciences by bringing genetic and cultural evolution under a common umbrella. Yet, the many perceived idiosyncrasies of cultural evolution have long posed an obstacle for such an interdisciplinary synthesis. New discoveries in biology as well as recent developments in theoretical evolutionary biology, however, show that the alleged differences between genetic and cultural evolution may be smaller than previously suspected. In addition, important applications of cultural evolution theory have started to appear in diverse fields within the social sciences. A general evolutionary theory of cultural change, therefore, finally seems to be within reach.
    Keywords: cultural evolution;
    Date: 2010
  5. By: Marco Francesconi; Christian Ghiglino; Motty Perry
    Abstract: This paper presents an overlapping generations model to explain why humans live in families rather than in other pair groupings. Since most non-human species are not familial, something special must be behind the family. It is shown that the two necessary features that explain the origin of the family are given by uncertain paternity and overlapping cohorts of dependent children. With such two features built into our model, and under the assumption that individuals care only for the propagation of their own genes, our analysis indicates that fidelity families dominate promiscuous pair bonding, in the sense that they can achieve greater survivorship and enhanced genetic fitness. The explanation lies in the free riding behavior that characterizes the interactions between competing fathers in the same promiscuous pair grouping. Kin ties could also be related to the emergence of the family. When we consider a kinship system in which an adult male transfers resources not just to his offspring but also to his younger siblings, we find that kin ties never emerge as an equilibrium outcome in a promiscuous environment. In a fidelity family environment, instead, kinship can occur in equilibrium and, when it does, it is efficiency enhancing in terms of greater survivorship and fitness. The model can also be used to shed light on the issue as to why virtually all major world religions are centered around the importance of the family.
    Date: 2010–02

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NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.