New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2013‒05‒22
three papers chosen by

  1. Self investments of adolescents and their cognitive development By D. Del Boca; C. Monfardini; C. Nicoletti
  2. Two Studies on the Interplay between Social Preferences and Individual Biological Features. By Santiago Sanchez-Pages (University of Barcelona, University of Edinburgh)
  3. Performance in Mathematics and Digit Ratio: Evidence from 500 University Students By Ángeles Sánchez-Domínguez; José Sánchez-Campillo; Dolores Moreno-Herrero; Virginia Rosales

  1. By: D. Del Boca; C. Monfardini; C. Nicoletti
    Abstract: While a large literature has focused on the impact of parental investments on child cognitive development, very little is known about the role of child's own in- vestments. Information on how children invest their time separately from parents is probably little informative for babies and toddlers, but it becomes more and more important in later stages of life, such as adolescence, when children start to take decisions independently. By using the Child Development Supplement of the PSID (Panel Study of Income Dynamics), we model the production of cognitive ability of adolescents and extend the set of inputs to include the child's own time investments. Looking at investments during adolescence, we find that child's investments matter more than mother's investments. On the contrary, looking at investments during childhood, it is the mother's investments that are more important. Our results are obtained accounting for potential unobserved child's and family's endowments and are robust across several specifications and samples, e.g. considering and not considering father's investments and non-intact families.
    Keywords: time-use, cognitive ability, child development, adolescence
    JEL: J13 D1
    Date: 2012
  2. By: Santiago Sanchez-Pages (University of Barcelona, University of Edinburgh)
    Abstract: Biological features and social preferences have been studied separately as factors influencing human strategic behaviour. We run two studies in order to explore the interplay between these two sets of factors. In the first study, we investigate to what extent social preferences may have some biological underpinnings. We use simple one-shot distribution experiments to attribute subjects one out of four types of social preferences: Self-interested (SI), Competitive (C), Inequality averse (IA) and Efficiency-seeking (ES). We then investigate whether these four groups display differences in their levels of facial Fluctuating Asymmetry (FA) and in proxies for exposure to testosterone during phoetal development and puberty. We observe that development-related biological features and social preferences are relatively independent. In the second study, we compare the relative weight of these two set of factors by studying how they affect subjects’ behaviour in the Ultimatum Game (UG). We find differences in offers made and rejection rates across the four social preference groups. The effect of social preferences is stronger than the effect of biological features even though the latter is significant. We also report a novel link between facial masculinity (a proxy for exposure to testosterone during puberty) and rejection rates in the UG. Our results suggest that biological features influence behaviour both directly and through their relation with the type of social preferences that individuals hold.
    Keywords: Testosterone; Ultimatum Game; Fluctuating Asymmetry; Facial masculinity;2D:4D; Social preferences.
    Date: 2013–03–29
  3. By: Ángeles Sánchez-Domínguez (Departament of Applied Economics, University of Granada, Spain.); José Sánchez-Campillo (Departament of Applied Economics, University of Granada, Spain.); Dolores Moreno-Herrero (Departament of Applied Economics, University of Granada, Spain.); Virginia Rosales (Departament of Applied Economics, University of Granada, Spain.)
    Abstract: We analyze the association between performance in a mathematics course among university students at the Faculty of Business and Economics and exposure to prenatal sex hormones using the second-to-fourth digit ratio. In a sample of 516 freshmen (304 women), we find an inverted U-shaped relationship between digit ratio and mathematics grades. Males and females show the same pattern in that subjects with both high and low digit ratios earn lower grades in mathematics, while subjects with the highest grades in mathematics have intermediate digit ratios. We also find that there is no statistically significant relationship between the digit ratio and the average grades earned by students in other courses except mathematics taken in the first semester at the Faculty of Business and Economics.
    Keywords: Prenatal Sex Hormones, 2D:4D Digit Ratios, Performance
    Date: 2013–04–27

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