nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2014‒07‒05
two papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. The Impact of Education on Personality: Evidence from a German High School Reform By Sarah Dahmann; Silke Anger
  2. Keeping others in our mind or in our heart? Distribution games under cognitive load By Hauge, Karen Evelyn; Brekke, Kjell Arne; Johansson, Lars-Olof; Johansson-Stenman, Olof; Svedsäter, Henrik

  1. By: Sarah Dahmann; Silke Anger
    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 e ects. In addition to di erences between East and West Germany, we nd 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
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp658&r=neu
  2. By: Hauge, Karen Evelyn (Frisch Centre for Economic Research); Brekke, Kjell Arne; Johansson, Lars-Olof (Department of Psychology); Johansson-Stenman, Olof (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Svedsäter, Henrik
    Abstract: It has recently been argued that giving is spontaneous while greed is calculated (Rand et al. 2012). If greed is calculated we would expect that cognitive load, which is assumed to reduce the influence of cognitive processes, should affect greed. In this paper we study both charitable giving and the behavior of dictators under high and low cognitive load, to test if greed is affected by the load. In the dictator games we use both a give frame, where the dictators are given an amount that they may share with a partner, and a take frame, where dictators may take from an amount initially allocated to the partner. The results show consistently that the behavioral effect in terms of allocated money of the induced load is small if at all existent. At the same time, follow-up questions indicate that the subjects’ decisions are more driven by their feelings and less driven by their thoughts under cognitive load.
    Keywords: Cognitive load; Dictator games; Social preferences; Pro-social behavior; altruism
    JEL: C91 D64
    Date: 2014–06
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0600&r=neu

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