New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2011‒05‒24
five papers chosen by

  1. Patience, Cognitive Skill and Coordination in the Repeated Stag Hunt By Omar Al-Ubaydli; Garett Jones; Jaap Weel
  2. Cognitive load in the multi-player prisoner's dilemma game By Duffy, Sean; Smith, John
  3. The Interaction of Obesity Related Genotypes, Phenotypes, and Economics: An Experimental Economics Approach with Mice By Davis, George C.; Jacob, Jacy; Good, Deborah J
  4. Cognitive Skills, Non-Cognitive Skills, and the Employment and Wages of Young Adults in Rural China By Glewwe, Paul; Huang, Qiuqiong; Park, Albert
  5. On the Positive Effects of Overcon fident Self-Perception in Teams By Ludwig, Sandra; Wichardt, Philip C.; Wickhorst, Hanke

  1. By: Omar Al-Ubaydli (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University); Garett Jones (Department of Economics, George Mason University); Jaap Weel (Department of Economics, George Mason University)
    Abstract: Coordination games have become a critical tool of analysis in fields such as development and institutional economics. Understanding behavior in coordination games is an important step towards understanding the differing success of teams, firms and nations. This paper investigates the relationship between personal attributes (cognitive ability, risk-aversion, patience) and behavior and outcomes in coordination games, an issue that, to the best of our knowledge, has never been studied before. For the repeated coordination game that we consider, we find that: (1) cognitive ability has no bearing on any aspect of behavior or outcomes; (2) pairs of players who are more patient are more likely to coordinate well and earn higher payoffs; and (3) risk-aversion has no bearing on any aspect of behavior or outcomes. These results are robust to controlling for personality traits and demographic characteristics.
    Keywords: coordination, IQ, personality, discount rate, patience, risk-aversion
    JEL: D02 D23 O12 O43
    Date: 2011–05
  2. By: Duffy, Sean; Smith, John
    Abstract: We find that differences in the ability to devote cognitive resources to a strategic interaction imply differences in strategic behavior. In our experiment, we manipulate the availability of cognitive resources by applying a differential cognitive load. In cognitive load experiments, subjects are directed to perform a task which occupies cognitive resources, in addition to making a choice in another domain. The greater the cognitive resources required for the task implies that fewer such resources will be available for deliberation on the choice. Although much is known about how subjects make decisions under a cognitive load, little is known about how this affects behavior in strategic games. We run an experiment in which subjects play a repeated multi-player prisoner's dilemma game under two cognitive load treatments. In one treatment, subjects are placed under a high cognitive load (given a 7 digit number to recall) and subjects in the other are placed under a low cognitive load (given a 2 digit number). We find that the individual behavior of the subjects in the low load condition converges to the Subgame Perfect Nash Equilibrium prediction at a faster rate than those in the high load treatment. However, we do not find the corresponding relationship involving outcomes in the game. Specifically, there is no evidence of a significantly different convergence of game outcomes across treatments. As an explanation of these two results, we find evidence that low load subjects are better able to adjust their choice in response to outcomes in previous periods.
    Keywords: cognitive resources; experimental economics; experimental game theory; public goods game
    JEL: C72 C91
    Date: 2011–05–11
  3. By: Davis, George C.; Jacob, Jacy; Good, Deborah J
    Abstract: Food intake is greatly influenced by economic factors. Consequently, neuroeconomics has been identified as a new and important area for understanding the interaction between genotypes and phenotypes related to food intake. A foundational element of economics is choice between alternatives. Changing food choices are a central element in the explanation of the increasing obesity rates in human populations. The purpose of this research is to incorporate the key element of choice into the investigation of food intake and weight-related phenotypes for mice in an operant chamber setting. Using normal mice, and mice with a mutation in the Tubby gene (Tub-Mut) which results in adult onset obesity, this research will investigate different behavioral responses among genotypes, as well as unexplored phenotype outcomes when mice are confronted with a falling price of a high fat food relative to a low fat food. Results for both genotypes indicate that as the price of the high fat food falls, consumption of that food increases, but consumption of the low fat food does not decrease in a compensatory fashion. For both genotypes, weight and body fat percentage increases with decreasing high fat food price, but ghrelin and leptin levels do not significantly change. The Tub-Mut shows a significant increase in the area under the glucose tolerance curve, suggestive of a diabetic state. These results show that accounting for choice in neuroeconomic studies is important to understanding the complex regulation of body weight and diabetes.
    Keywords: Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety,
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Glewwe, Paul; Huang, Qiuqiong; Park, Albert
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to examine whether noncognitive skills explain differences in employment status and hourly wages even after controlling for age, experience, schooling and cognitive skills. Of particular interest is to examine the relative magnitudes of the impacts of the cognitive and noncognitive skills on these labor market outcomes. Data used in this paper come from the Gansu Survey of Children and Families (GSCF), which followed a random sample of 2,000 children in rural areas of Gansu Province who were 9-12 years old in the year 2000. Three waves of surveys were completed in 2000, 2004, and 2007-2009. The GSCF is the first large-scale data collection on child and adolescent cognitive and noncognitive skills in rural China.
    Keywords: cognitive skills, noncognitive skills, years of schooling, wage, Gansu, China, International Development, Labor and Human Capital,
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Ludwig, Sandra; Wichardt, Philip C.; Wickhorst, Hanke
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the individual payoff effects of overconfident self-perception in teams. In particular, we demonstrate that the welfare of an overconfident agent in a team of one rational and one overconfident agent or a team of two overconfident agents can be higher than that of the members of a team of two rational agents. This result holds irrespective of the assumption about the agents' awareness of their colleague's bias. Moreover, we show that an overcondent agent is always better of when he is unaware of a potential bias of his colleague.
    Keywords: Overconfidence; Team Production
    JEL: D21 D62 L23
    Date: 2011–04

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.