nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2015‒03‒22
three papers chosen by

  1. Intuitive cooperation refuted: Commentary on Rand et al. (2012) and Rand et al. (2014) By Myrseth, Kristian Ove R.; Wollbrant, Conny E.
  2. Child Care Before Age Two and the Development of Language and Numeracy: Evidence from a Lottery By Drange, Nina; Havnes, Tarjei
  3. Testing the Validity of Item Non-Response as a Proxy for Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills By Kassenboehmer, Sonja C.; Schurer, Stefanie; Leung, Felix

  1. By: Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. (School of Management, University of St. Andrews, St Andrews, KY16 9RJ, UK); Wollbrant, Conny E. (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: We show that Rand et al. (2012) and Rand et al. (2014)—who argue that cooperation is intuitive—provide an incorrect interpretation of their own data. They make the mistake of inferring intuition from relative decision times alone, without taking into account absolute decision times. We re-examine their data and find that the vast majority of their responses are slow, exceeding four seconds, even in time-pressure treatments intended to promote intuitive responses. Further, a plot of the average cooperation rates by decision time presents no clear relationship between decision time and cooperation. However, among the few decisions that were relatively fast (less than four seconds), there appears to be a positive—not negative— correlation between decision time and cooperation. We conclude that the data presented by Rand et al. (2012) and Rand et al. (2014) fail to provide evidence for the hypothesis that cooperation is intuitive. If anything, their data indicate the opposite.
    Keywords: Cooperation; Intuition; Decision times; Pro-social behavior
    JEL: D03 D64 H40
    Date: 2015–03
  2. By: Drange, Nina (Statistics Norway); Havnes, Tarjei (University of Oslo)
    Abstract: Young children are thought to be vulnerable to separation from the primary caregiver/s. This raises concern about whether early child care enrollment may harm children's development. We use child care assignment lotteries to estimate the effect of child care starting age on early cognitive achievement in Oslo, Norway. Getting a lottery offer lowers starting age by about four months, from a mean of about 19 months in the control group. Lottery estimates show significant score gains for children at age seven. Survey evidence and an increase in labor supply of both mothers and fathers following the offer, suggest that parental care is the most relevant alternative mode of care. We document that the assignment lottery generates balance in observable characteristics, supporting our empirical approach.
    Keywords: early child care, child development
    JEL: I21 J13
    Date: 2015–03
  3. By: Kassenboehmer, Sonja C. (Monash University); Schurer, Stefanie (University of Sydney); Leung, Felix (University of Sydney)
    Abstract: Cognitive and non-cognitive skills are important determinants of labor market outcomes, but are often unobserved. We propose a proxy for these skills derived from item non-response information and a procedure to test its validity. Exploiting a unique data-collection feature of an Australian survey, we find that fraction answered on a self-completion questionnaire fulfils all necessary requirements to be a valid proxy for cognitive skills and outperforms alternative proxies derived from paradata. Fraction answered captures a third of the effect of cognitive ability on wages and education. We provide a simple solution to reduce omitted-variable biases by up to 11%.
    Keywords: paradata, item non-response, proxy-variable approach, cognitive ability, non-cognitive skills, wages, education
    JEL: J24 C18 C83 I20 J30
    Date: 2015–02

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