New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2014‒03‒22
three papers chosen by

  1. Self Control and Intertemporal Choice: Evidence from Glucose and Depletion Interventions By Michael A. Kuhn; Peter Kuhn; Marie Claire Villeval
  2. Donations, Risk Attitudes and Time Preferences: A Study on Altruism in Primary School Children By Angerer, Silvia; Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela; Lergetporer, Philipp; Sutter, Matthias
  3. Subjective Life Expectancy By Nicky Nicholls; Alexander Zimper

  1. By: Michael A. Kuhn (Department of Economics, University of California - University of California, San Diego); Peter Kuhn (Department of Economics, University of California - University of California, Santa Barbara); Marie Claire Villeval (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - École Normale Supérieure (ENS) - Lyon - PRES Université de Lyon - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne - Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I)
    Abstract: Recent developments in economic theory model intertemporal choice decisions as problems of restraining one's natural impulse to consume today. We use interventions that have been shown in the psychology literature to affect impulse control to examine whether this is indeed the case for laboratory elicitations of time preference. In other words, is savings behavior affected by manipulations of willpower? Our results are mixed, with one widely used willpower-reducing intervention increasing subjects' savings, and with evidence of a substantial placebo effects with respect to another intervention based on sugared beverage consumption. Since all our treatment effects -which are substantial in magnitude- are driven by increases in the intertemporal substitution elasticity (i.e. greater sensitivity to high prices), we suspect that the primary mechanism behind them is an increase in subjects' attention to the decision, rather than their ability to resist the temptation to get money sooner.
    Keywords: Time preferences ; self-control ; depletion ; sucrose ; experiment
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Angerer, Silvia (University of Innsbruck); Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela (University of Innsbruck); Lergetporer, Philipp (University of Innsbruck); Sutter, Matthias (European University Institute)
    Abstract: We study with a sample of 1,070 primary school children, aged seven to eleven years, how altruism in a donation experiment is related to children's risk attitudes and intertemporal choices. Examining such a relationship is motivated by theories of reciprocal altruism that provide a cornerstone to understand human social behavior. We find that higher risk tolerance and patience in intertemporal choice increase, in general, the level of donations, albeit the effects are non-linear. We confirm earlier results that altruism increases with age during childhood and that girls are more altruistic than boys. Having older brothers makes subjects less altruistic.
    Keywords: altruism, donations, risk attitudes, intertemporal choices, experiment, children
    JEL: C91 D03 D63 D64
    Date: 2014–03
  3. By: Nicky Nicholls (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria); Alexander Zimper (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria)
    Abstract: Individuals' subjective life-expectancy, as elicited in large-scale surveys, shows underestimation of survival chances at young versus overestimation at old ages. These distorted perceptions of objective survival chances may cause young people to save too little and old people to accumulate too much wealth late in life with respect to the rational expectations benchmark model. Alternative explanations for these differences between perceived and objective survival chances include cognitive shortcomings or/and preference-based (motivational) reasons. To know the exact nature of these differences would be relevant for judging policy interventions that aim at influencing people’s savings behaviour.
    Keywords: Health Retirement Study, Undersaving, Oversaving, Cumulative Prospect Theory, Likelihood Insensitivity
    Date: 2014–03

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