nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2013‒05‒19
five papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Education and Health: The Role of Cognitive Ability By Govert Bijwaard; Hans van Kippersluis; Justus Veenman
  2. The relation between maternal work hours and cognitive outcomes of young school-aged children By Grip A. de; Fouarge D.; Künn-Nelen A.C.
  3. The drivers of month of birth differences in children’s cognitive and non-cognitive skills: a regression discontinuity analysis By Claire Crawford; Lorraine Dearden; Ellen Greaves
  4. What can the Big Five Personality Factors contribute to explain Small-Scale Economic Behavior? By Julia Muller; Christiane Schwieren
  5. Correlation Neglect in Belief Formation By Enke, Benjamin; Zimmermann, Florian

  1. By: Govert Bijwaard (NIDI, The Hague, IZA, Bonn); Hans van Kippersluis (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Justus Veenman (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: We aim to disentangle the relative contributions of (i) cognitive ability, and (ii) education on health and mortality using a structural equation model suggested by Conti et al. (2010). We extend their model by allowing for a duration dependent variable, and an ordinal educational variable. Data come from a Dutch cohort born around 1940, including detailed measures of cognitive ability and family background at age 12. The data are subsequently linked to the mortality register 1995-2011, such that we observe mortality between ages 55 and 75. The results suggest that the treatment effect of education (i.e. the effect of entering secondary school as opposed to leaving school after primary education) is positive and amounts to a 4 years gain in life expectancy, on average. Decomposition results suggest that the raw survival differences between educational groups are about equally split between a 'treatment effect' of education, and a 'selection effect' on basis of cognitive ability and family background.
    Keywords: Education, Cognitive Ability, Mortality, Structural Equation Model, Duration Model
    JEL: C41 I14 I24
    Date: 2013–03–15
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:dgr:uvatin:2013044&r=neu
  2. By: Grip A. de; Fouarge D.; Künn-Nelen A.C. (GSBE)
    Abstract: This paper is the first that analyzes the relation between maternal work hours and the cognitive outcomes of young school-going children. When children attend school, the potential time working mothers miss out with their children, is smaller than when children do not yet attend school. At the same time, working might benefit children through, for example, greater family income. Our study is highly relevant for public policy as in most countries maternal employment rates rise when children enter school. We find no negative relation between maternal working hours and child outcomes as is often found for pre-school aged children. Instead, we find that children's sorting test score is higher when their mothers work part-time (girls) or full-time (boys). Furthermore, we find that planned parent-child activities are positively related to children's language test scores. Nevertheless, we do not find that a richer home environment in terms of the number of parent-child activities provided to the child explain the relation between maternal work hours and children's test scores.
    Keywords: Household Behavior: General;
    Date: 2013
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:dgr:umagsb:2013019&r=neu
  3. By: Claire Crawford (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Lorraine Dearden (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education, University of London); Ellen Greaves (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: This paper uses data from a rich UK birth cohort to estimate the differences in cognitive and non-cognitive skills between children born at the start and end of the academic year. It builds on the previous literature on this topic in England by using a more robust regression discontinuity design and is also able to provide new insight into the drivers of the differences in outcomes between children born in different months that we observe. Specifically, we compare differences in tests that are affected by all three of the potential drivers (age at test, age of starting school and relative age) with differences in tests sat at the same age (which are therefore not affected by the age at test effect) as a way of separately identifying the age at test effect. We find that age at test is the most important factor driving the difference between the oldest and youngest children in an academic cohort; highlighting that children born at the end of the academic year are at a disadvantage primarily because they are almost a year younger than those born at the start of the academic year when they take national achievement tests. An appropriate policy response in this case is to appropriately age-adjust these tests. However, we also find evidence that a child’s view of their own scholastic competence differs significantly between those born at the start and end of the academic year, even when eliminating the age at test effect. This means that other policy responses may be required to correct for differences in outcomes amongst children born in different months, but not necessarily so: it may be that children’s view of their scholastic competence would change in response to the introduction of appropriately age-adjusted tests, for example as a result of positive reinforcement.
    Keywords: Month of birth, regression discontinuity design
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2013–05–13
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1306&r=neu
  4. By: Julia Muller (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Christiane Schwieren (University of Heidelberg)
    Abstract: Growing interest in using personality variables in economic research leads to the question whether personality as measured by psychology is useful to predict economic behavior. Is it reasonable to expect values on personality scales to be predictive of behavior in economic games? It is undoubted that personality can influence large-scale economic outcomes. Whether personality variables can also be used to understand micro-behavior in economic games is however less clear. We discuss reasons in favor and against this assumption and test in our own experiment, whether and which personality factors are useful in predicting behavior in the trust or investment game. We can also use the trust game to understand how personality measures fare relatively in predicting behavior when situational constraints vary in strength. This approach can help economists to better understand what to expect from the inclusion of personality variables in their models and experiments, and where further research might be useful and needed.
    Keywords: Personality, Big Five, Five Factor Model, Incentives, Experiment, Trust Game
    JEL: C72 C91 D03
    Date: 2012–03–26
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:dgr:uvatin:2012028&r=neu
  5. By: Enke, Benjamin (University of Bonn); Zimmermann, Florian (University of Bonn)
    Abstract: Many information structures generate correlated rather than mutually independent signals, the news media being a prime example. This paper shows experimentally that in such contexts many people neglect these correlations in the updating process and treat correlated information as independent. In consequence, people's beliefs are excessively sensitive to well-connected information sources, implying a pattern of "overshooting" beliefs. Additionally, in an experimental asset market, correlation neglect not only drives overoptimism and overpessimism at the individual level, but also affects aggregate outcomes in a systematic manner. In particular, the excessive confidence swings caused by correlated signals give rise to predictable price bubbles and crashes. These findings are reminiscent of popular narratives according to which aggregate booms and busts might be driven by the spread of "stories". Our results also lend direct support to recent models of boundedly rational social learning.
    Keywords: beliefs, correlation neglect, experiments, markets, overshooting
    JEL: C91 D03 D83 D84 D40
    Date: 2013–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7372&r=neu

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