New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2012‒11‒24
four papers chosen by

  1. Real and Imaginary Parts of Decidability-Making By Gilbert Giacomoni
  2. Developing expenditure questions: Findings from R1 cognitive testing By Jo d'Ardenne; Margaret Blake
  3. Developing expenditure questions: Findings from R2 cognitive testing By Jo d'Ardenne; Margaret Blake
  4. The missing link: Unifying risk taking and time discounting By Thomas Epper; Helga Fehr-Duda

  1. By: Gilbert Giacomoni (CGS - Centre de Gestion Scientifique - Mines ParisTech)
    Abstract: Firms seeking an original standpoint, in strategy or design, need to break with imitation and uniformity. They specifically attempt to understand the cognitive processes by which decision-makers manage to work, individually or collectively, through undecidable situations generated by equivalent possible choices and design innovatively. The purpose of the study is to better understand the regeneration and meta-restructuring processes of knowledge systems triggered by decision makers in order to redefine their decidable space by abstraction. The theoretical breakthroughs liable to account a dual form of reasoning, deductive to prove (then make) equivalence and abstractive to represent (then unmake) it, in subtle mechanisms of decisional symmetry, indiscernibility (antisymmetry) and asymmetry, are presented. The proposed formalism is an extension of the most widespread models of rationality based on a real dimension (for preference-making), by adding a visible imaginary one (for abstraction-making) and open up vistas capacity in the fields of information systems, knowledge and decision. This extension takes complex numbers as generalizable objects.
    Keywords: decision-making, equality, indiscernibility, undecidability, imaginary, abstraction, knowledge, information, symmetry-breaking, identity, relation,
    Date: 2012–06–29
  2. By: Jo d'Ardenne; Margaret Blake (Institute for Fiscal Studies and NatCen Social Research)
    Abstract: Currently there is no established way to measure expenditure in the context of a general purpose survey. Therefore NatCen's Questionnaire Development Testing (QDT) Hub, working in collaboration with the Institute for Fiscal Studies and collaborators from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, are looking at how best to measure expenditure in a social survey context. This report provides findings from the cognitive testing of four different question formats: 1. A 'one-shot' question i.e. a single question asking 'How much did you spend on everything in the last month?' 2. A 'two-part' question i.e. two questions, one that asks about spending on essentials and one that asks about spending on everything else. 3. A 'breakdown' question i.e. that asks respondents to say how much they spend on each item on a list of common types of expenditure 4. And 'income minus surplus' question that asks respondents to work out how much money they receive per month and how much of that income remains unspent. It is possible that spending can be calculated from this information. This project is funded by the Nuffield Foundation.
    Date: 2012–10
  3. By: Jo d'Ardenne; Margaret Blake (Institute for Fiscal Studies and NatCen Social Research)
    Abstract: The Nuffield Foundation has funded a collaborative research team from NatCen Social Research, the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Oxford and Cambridge Universities to develop a standard question or questions designed to capture household spending. This is because household spending can be an indicator of household living standards and can overcome some of the limitations of income as an indicator of living standards. The project has involved conducting focus groups with people from a range of household types to explore how people thing and talk about household spending. New questions were then designed, base on existing questions but adapted to reflect the findings of the focus groups, for example that using the term household in questions about spending can be confusing. Following a reveiw of the new questions by the steering group, a round of cognitive testing was then carried out to test these questions. Key findings from round one are presented in section 1.1.2. Following the first round of cognitive testing further adaptations were made to the questions. A second round of cognitive testing was carried out to re-test the question formats which seemed most worth developing further. Additional testing was needed as a result of changes to these questions and to ensure respondents with a range of financial situations were included. This report presents the findings of this second round of cognitive testing.
    Date: 2012–10
  4. By: Thomas Epper; Helga Fehr-Duda
    Abstract: Almost all important decisions in people’s lives entail risky and delayed consequences. Regardless of whether we make choices involving health, wealth, love or education, almost every choice involves costs and benefits that are uncertain and materialize over time. Because risk and delay often arise simultaneously, theories of decision making should be capable of explaining how behavior under risk and over time interacts. There is, in fact, a growing body of evidence indicating important interactions between behaviorally revealed risk tolerance and patience. Risk taking behavior is delay dependent, and time discounting is risk dependent. Here we show that the inherent uncertainty of future events conjointly with people’s proneness to weight probabilities nonlinearly generates a unifying framework for explaining time-dependent risk taking, risk-dependent time discounting, preferences for late resolution of uncertainty, and several other puzzling interaction effects between risk and time.
    Keywords: Risk taking, time discounting, probability weighting, decreasing impatience, increasing risk tolerance, preference for late resolution of uncertainty, preference for one-shot resolution of uncertainty
    JEL: D01 D81 D91
    Date: 2012–11

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.