New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2014‒08‒16
four papers chosen by

  1. I wanna live my life: Locus of Control and Support for the Welfare State By Ludek Kouba; Hans Pitlik
  2. Sins of the fathers: The intergenerational legacy of the 1959-1961 Great Chinese Famine on children's cognitive development: By Tan, Chih Ming; Tan, Zhibo; Zhang, Xiaobo
  3. What makes an efficient theme for a creativity session? By Sophie Hooge; Albert David
  4. Spatial Generalization in Operant Learning: Lessons from Professional Basketball By Tal Neiman; Yonatan Loewenstein

  1. By: Ludek Kouba (Department of Economics, Faculty of Business and Economics, Mendel University in Brno); Hans Pitlik (Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO), Arsenal Objekt 20, 1030 Vienna, Austria)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to propose a general informal institution determining human ways of thinking and codes of behaviour, thus, in our case, individual support for the Welfare State. For that reason, we recommend employing the two closely related and complementary psychological concepts - locus of control and self-efficacy. We follow a comprehensive concept of the Welfare State, measuring attitudes towards government intervention and income redistribution, using the survey data from the World Values Survey, as well as different indicators for perceived governance quality. Our empirical results show that people with an internal locus of control and high self-efficacy believing in their ability to control their own lives report substantially less positive attitudes towards income equalization and government interventions. Additionally, a higher confidence in government actors and low confidence in major private companies amplify the Welfare State preferences under an external locus of control.
    Keywords: Locus of control, life control, self-efficacy, informal institutions, Welfare State
    JEL: B52 I38
    Date: 2014–07
  2. By: Tan, Chih Ming; Tan, Zhibo; Zhang, Xiaobo
    Abstract: The intergenerational effect of fetal exposure to malnutrition on cognitive ability has rarely been studied for human beings in large part due to lack of data. In this paper, we exploit a natural experiment, the Great Chinese Famine of 1959–1961, and employ a novel dataset, the China Family Panel Studies, to explore the intergenerational legacy of early childhood health shocks on the cognitive abilities of the children of parents born during the famine. We find that daughters born to rural fathers who experienced the famine in early childhood score lower in major tests than sons, whereas children born to female survivors are not affected.
    Keywords: Famine, Hunger, malnutrition, Nutrition, Children, Agricultural policies, Economic development, Fathers, Mental ability, Genes, Chromosomes, epigenetics, intergenerational transmission, resilience,
    Date: 2014
  3. By: Sophie Hooge (CGS - Centre de Gestion Scientifique - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris); Albert David (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - CNRS : UMR7088 - Université Paris IX - Paris Dauphine)
    Abstract: Despite literature has widely investigated the logics of ideation, at early stages of innovation and product development processes (Bjork and Magnusson, 2009; Boeddrich, 2004; Girotra et al., 2010), very few contributions deal with the very starting point of the ideation process, i.e. the initial theme given to workshops participants. Nevertheless, scholars' works on the nature of stimuli and examples (Smith et al.,1993; Ward et al., 2004) underlined they could generate heterogeneous effects on the efficiency of the ideation stage. Moreover, whereas efficiency criteria for creativity sessions are well known (fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration), creativity techniques focus on the improvement and monitoring of ideation management: the problem of designing the initial theme is seldom included in the design parameters of creativity sessions, as if it was not considered as an issue in research on creativity management. Yet, one consequence of the above mentioned literature results is that it should be a key efficiency factor: the formulation could play a key role in conditioning cognitive involvement of individuals and managerial goals achievement. This paper focuses on this specific problem of formulating an efficient theme for a creativity session and its implications on cognitive involvement of facilitators and participants, and the achievement of managerial goals of the session. Based on a single case study led through collaborative action research with the French postal service operator, our research analyses the impacts of the formulation in three innovative-oriented creativity workshops the authors have organized and steered from May to October 2013. The three workshops themes were built to experiment the impact of the theme formulation on: 1/ creativity techniques efficiency according traditional criteria and facilitators' cognitive involvement; and 2/ participants' satisfaction assessed through their ability to link the theme, thus the generated ideas, to the company's innovation strategy. The exploratory study confirms that the formulation of the theme has important consequences, both cognitive and managerial. A first set of results suggests two main dimensions to describe the nature and structure of a theme naming: the accuracy level of the formulation and the degree of conceptual tension. A second set of results is about concrete reasoning when designing the theme and implementing in the formulation links to the firm's strategy. A third set of results is about consequences of theme formulation on the way the creativity session is designed and steered. Key dimensions include: 1/ The degree of cognitive implication of facilitators; 2/ The nature of stimuli and idea generation techniques used during the session (generic versus custom-made); 3/ The degree of commitment of the actors (designers of the theme, facilitators and participants) to the organization's strategy, i.e. to what gives value to the output of the creativity session.
    Keywords: Creativity; theme formulation; cognitive involvement; performance
    Date: 2014–06–17
  4. By: Tal Neiman; Yonatan Loewenstein
    Abstract: In operant learning, behaviors are reinforced or inhibited in response to the consequences of similar actions taken in the past. However, because in natural environments the “same” situation never recurs, it is essential for the learner to decide what “similar” is so that he can generalize from experience in one state of the world to future actions in different states of the world. The computational principles underlying this generalization are poorly understood, in particular because natural environments are typically too complex to study quantitatively. In this paper we study the principles underlying generalization in operant learning of professional basketball players. In particular, we utilize detailed information about the spatial organization of shot locations to study how players adapt their attacking strategy in real time according to recent events in the game. To quantify this learning, we study how a make\miss from one location in the court affects the probabilities of shooting from different locations. We show that generalization is not a spatially-local process, nor is governed by the difficulty of the shot. Rather, to a first approximation, players use a simplified binary representation of the court into 2pt and 3pt zones. This result indicates that rather than using low-level features, generalization is determined by high-level cognitive processes that incorporate the abstract rules of the game.
    Date: 2014–04

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