nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2014‒05‒04
three papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Gender Differences in Risk Aversion: Do Single-Sex Environments Affect their Development? By Alison L. Booth; Lina Cardona-Sosa; Patrick Nolen
  2. Average player traits as predictors of cooperation in a repeated prisoner's dilemma By Al-Ubaydli, Omar; Jones, Garett; Weel, Jaap
  3. The Impact of Education on Personality: Evidence from a German High School Reform By Dahmann, Sarah; Anger, Silke

  1. By: Alison L. Booth; Lina Cardona-Sosa; Patrick Nolen
    Abstract: Single-sex classes within coeducational environments are likely to modify students' risktaking attitudes in economically important ways. To test this, we designed a controlled experiment using first year college students who made choices over real-stakes lotteries at two distinct dates. Students were randomly assigned to weekly classes of three types: all female, all male, and coeducational. They were not allowed to change group subsequently. We found that women are less likely to make risky choices than men at both dates. However, after eight weeks in a single-sex class environment, women were significantly more likely to choose the lottery than their counterparts in coeducational groups. These results are robust to the inclusion of controls for IQ and for personality type, as well as to a number of sensitivity tests. Our findings suggest that observed gender differences in behaviour under uncertainty found in previous studies might partly reflect social learning rather than inherent gender traits.
    Keywords: Gender, risk preferences, single-sex groups, cognitive ability
    JEL: C9 C91 C92 J16 D01 D80 J16 J24
    Date: 2013–10–28
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:col:000094:010988&r=neu
  2. By: Al-Ubaydli, Omar; Jones, Garett; Weel, Jaap
    Abstract: Many studies have looked at how individual player traits influence individual choice in the repeated prisoner’s dilemma, but few studies have looked at how the average traits of pairs of players influence the average choices of pairs. We consider cognitive ability, patience, risk tolerance, and the Big Five personality measures as predictors of individual and average group choices in a ten-round repeated prisoner’s dilemma. We find that a pair’s average cognitive ability measured by the Raven’s IQ test predicts average cooperation rates robustly and average earnings more modestly. Higher individual cognitive ability also predicts a greater probability of sustaining cooperation in the second round, suggesting that positive reciprocity is more likely among players with higher Raven’s scores. Openness is the only control variable that predicts first-round cooperative behavior.
    Keywords: cooperation; IQ; personality; discount rate; patience; risk-aversion; prisoner's dilemma
    JEL: D02 D23 O12 O43
    Date: 2014–02–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:55383&r=neu
  3. By: Dahmann, Sarah (DIW Berlin); Anger, Silke (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the short-term effects of a reduction in the length of high school on students' personality traits using a school reform carried out at the state level in Germany as a quasi-natural experiment. Starting in 2001, academic-track high school (Gymnasium) was reduced from nine to eight years in most of Germany's federal states, leaving the overall curriculum unchanged. This enabled students to obtain a university entrance qualification (Abitur) after a total of only 12 rather than 13 years of schooling. We exploit the variation in the length of academic-track high school over time and across states to identify the effect of schooling on students' Big Five personality traits and on their locus of control. Using rich data on adolescents and young adults from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) study, our estimates show that shortening high school caused students on average to be more extroverted and less emotionally stable. Our estimates point to important heterogeneous effects. In addition to differences between East and West Germany, we find that male students and students from disrupted families showed stronger personality changes following the reform: they became more agreeable and more extroverted, respectively. We conclude that the educational system plays an important role in shaping adolescents' personality traits.
    Keywords: non-cognitive skills, Big Five, locus of control, skill formation, high school reform
    JEL: I21 I28 J24
    Date: 2014–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8139&r=neu

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