nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2015‒09‒26
ten papers chosen by

  1. How Does Household Income Affect Child Personality Traits and Behaviors? By Randall Akee; Emilia Simeonova; E. Jane Costello; William Copeland
  2. Fetal Malnutrition and Academic Success: Evidence from Muslim Immigrants in Denmark By Greve, Jane; Schultz-Nielsen, Marie Louise; Tekin, Erdal
  3. Non-Cognitive Deficits and Young Adult Outcomes: The Long-Run Impacts of a Universal Child Care Program By Michael Baker; Jonathan Gruber; Kevin Milligan
  4. Child’s Play: How to creatively promote learning for children with ASD By Kathy Ralabate Doody
  5. You sneeze, you lose: The impact of pollen exposure on cognitive performance during high-stakes high school exams By Simon Søbstad Bensnes
  6. Mixed modes and measurement error: using cognitive interviewing to explore the results of a mixed modes experiment By Campanelli, Pamela C.; Blake, Margaret; Mackie, Michelle; Hope, Steven
  7. Mother's Time Allocation, Child Care and Child Cognitive Development By Brilli, Ylenia
  8. Impact of gender aspect on self-perceived quality of life of elderly By Ghosh, Dona
  9. Resisting classical solutions: The creative mind of industrial designers and engineers. By Marine Agogué; Pascal Le Masson; Cédric Dalmasso; Olivier Houdé; Mathieu Cassotti
  10. The Interaction of Several Languages in the Cognitive System By Vladimir F. Spiridonov; Emilia V. Ezrina

  1. By: Randall Akee; Emilia Simeonova; E. Jane Costello; William Copeland
    Abstract: Existing research has investigated the effect of early childhood educational interventions on the child’s later-life outcomes. These studies have found limited impact of supplementary programs on children’s cognitive skills, but sustained effects on personality traits. We examine how a positive change in unearned household income affects children’s emotional and behavioral health and personality traits. Our results indicate that there are large beneficial effects of improved household financial wellbeing on children’s emotional and behavioral health and positive personality trait development. Moreover, we find that these effects are most pronounced for children who are lagging behind their peers in these measures before the intervention. Increasing household incomes reduce differences across adolescents with different levels of initial emotional-behavioral symptoms and personality traits. We also examine potential channels through which the increased household income may contribute to these positive changes. Parenting and relationships within the family appear to be an important mechanism. We also find evidence that a sub-sample of the population moves to census tracts with better income levels and educational attainment.
    JEL: H24 H3 H31 I14 I3 I38 J24
    Date: 2015–09
  2. By: Greve, Jane (KORA - Danish Institute for Local and Regional Government Research); Schultz-Nielsen, Marie Louise (Rockwool Foundation Research Unit); Tekin, Erdal (American University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of potential fetal malnutrition on the academic proficiency of Muslim students in Denmark. We account for the endogeneity of fetal malnutrition by using the exposure to the month of Ramadan during time in utero as a natural experiment, under the assumption that some Muslim women might have fasted during Ramadan when they were pregnant. In some of our specifications, we use a sample of students from predominantly non-Muslim countries as an additional control group to address potential seasonality in cognitive outcomes in a difference-indifferences framework. Our outcome measures are the standardized test scores from the national exams on the subjects of Danish, English, Math, and Science administered by the Danish Ministry of Education. Our results indicate that fetal exposure to Ramadan has a negative impact on the achievement scores of Muslim students, especially females. Our analysis further reveals that most of these effects are concentrated on the children with low socioeconomic status (SES) background. These results indicate that fetal insults such as exposure to malnutrition may not only hamper the cognitive development of children subject to such conditions, but it may also complicate the efforts of policy-makers in improving the human capital, health, and labor market outcomes of low-SES individuals. Our findings highlight the importance of interventions designed to help economically disadvantaged women during pregnancy.
    Keywords: Denmark, fetal, fetal origins, education, Muslim, immigrant, malnutrition, food, intrauterine
    JEL: I12 I14 I24 J15
    Date: 2015–09
  3. By: Michael Baker; Jonathan Gruber; Kevin Milligan
    Abstract: Past research has demonstrated that positive increments to the non-cognitive development of children can have long-run benefits. We test the symmetry of this contention by studying the effects of a sizeable negative shock to non-cognitive skills due to the introduction of universal child care in Quebec. We first confirm earlier findings showing reduced contemporaneous non-cognitive development following the program introduction in Quebec, with little impact on cognitive test scores. We then show these non-cognitive deficits persisted to school ages, and also that cohorts with increased child care access subsequently had worse health, lower life satisfaction, and higher crime rates later in life. The impacts on criminal activity are concentrated in boys. Our results reinforce previous evidence on the central role of non-cognitive skills for long-run success.
    JEL: I1 J13 K42
    Date: 2015–09
  4. By: Kathy Ralabate Doody (State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo State)
    Abstract: Play is the occupation of children, as they learn about the world around them. In the early formative years, the development of play is critical to skill acquisition across the domains: cognitive, physical, social-emotional, adaptive, and communicative. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often struggle to develop play skills or may engage in the same type of play without variety or advancement. Early childhood is an ideal time to encourage the development of play, but any time is the right time to address play with children with ASD. This presentation will provide an overview and brief description of an ASD, and then discuss how play can be incorporated into the everyday routines of children with ASD to foster the development of existing play and encourage novel play.
    Keywords: autism, autism spectrum disorder, ASD, play
    JEL: I29
  5. By: Simon Søbstad Bensnes (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: Pollen is known to cause allergic reactions in approximately 20% of the population. These reactions have significant detrimental effects on sleep, concentration, and cognitive performance. Coincidentally, in many countries the local proliferation of pollen is concentrated in the spring when students take high-stakes exams. Despite these observations, the effect of pollen allergies on school performance has so far received nearly no attention from economists. Using administrative data on Norwegian high school students merged with daily pollen counts, this paper examines the effect of exposure to pollen spores on exam outcomes. I take advantage of the fact that students take several exams in a variety of subjects on different dates, but at the same location, to implement a student fixed effects model. In all specifications increased pollen proliferation on the exam date is found to significantly reduce cognitive performance measured by examination grade. On average, a one standard deviation increase in the ambient pollen level at the mean leads to a 2.5% of a standard deviation decrease in test scores for the average student, with potentially larger effects for allergic students. Supporting the reduced form estimates, the effect is somewhat more pronounced in subsamples with higher prevalence rates of hay fever. Additionally, I find that an increase in the ambient pollen level across exams reduces the probability that a given student graduates on time, and enrolls in higher education. An implication of these findings is that random increases in pollen counts can temporarily reduce cognitive abilities for allergic students who will score worse relative to their peers on high stake exams, and consequently be at a disadvantage when competing for jobs or higher education.
    Keywords: High school, test score, graduation, pollen, allergic rhinitis, hay fever
    JEL: I10 I20 I21
    Date: 2015–09–02
  6. By: Campanelli, Pamela C.; Blake, Margaret; Mackie, Michelle; Hope, Steven
    Abstract: This paper explores the use of cognitive interviewing as a pre-planned follow-up to a quantitative mixed modes experiment. It describes both the quantitative and cognitive interview phases and results. The goal for both was to explore measurement error differences between (computer-assisted personal interviewing - CAPI, computer-assisted telephone interviewing - CATI and computer-assisted web interviewing - CAWI). The cognitive interviewing produced evidence that in particular circumstances, supported or challenged the quantitative results. This is illustrated through the use of five examples. In conclusion, this novel application of cognitive interviewing was useful, with implications for survey design and interpretation of quantitative findings.
    Date: 2015–09–22
  7. By: Brilli, Ylenia
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of maternal employment and non-parental child care on child cognitive development, taking into account the mother's time allocation between leisure and child-care time. I estimate a behavioral model, in which maternal labor supply, non-parental child care, goods expenditure and time allocation decisions are considered to be endogenous choices of the mother. The child cognitive development depends on maternal and non-parental child care and on the goods bought for the child. The model is estimated using US data from the Child Development Supplement and the Time Diary Section of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. The results show that the productivity of mother's child-care time substantially differs by a mother's level of education. Moreover, the child-care time of college-educated mothers is more productive than non-parental child care. The simulation of maternity leave policies, mandating mothers not to work in the first two years of the child's life, reveals that the impact on the child's test score at age five is either positive or negative, depending on whether the leave is paid or not. The heterogeneous productivity of mothers' time leads to different allocation choices between child care and leisure: college-educated mothers re-allocate a larger fraction of their time out of work to child care than do the lower educated, while the opposite holds for leisure.
    Keywords: Mother employment; Mother time allocation; Non-parental child care; Child develoment; Structural estimation
    JEL: D13 J13 J22 C15
    Date: 2015
  8. By: Ghosh, Dona
    Abstract: Quality of Life (QoL) is a complex, scattered and multidimensional approach that depends on an extensive set of biological to psychological indicators passing through various socio-economic interactions. It induces enormous heteroscedasticity among individuals in the way of ageing and spurs difference in each elderly from the other. Most of the researchers attempted either to identify indicators or develop indexes to channelize the multidimensionality towards measuring subjective appraisal of QoL but in depth analysis especially, regarding perception of female elderly is missing, even in the era of feminization of ageing i.e. increasing number of female elderly to old age, particularly in mostly and second mostly populated countries like China and India. This study mainly focuses on the gender dimension along with various socio-economic and health constructs in China and India. There are two objectives. Firstly, to analyze the difference across gender with respect to self-perceived Quality of Life (QoL) in different socio-economic and health related contexts. Secondly, to find out the determinants of QoL and try to find out whether sex is an important factor in this regard. The first section of the study consists of the descriptive statistics across gender in both the countries according to their subjective QoL, which is measured on a five point likert scale and further reduced in a trichotomous scale: Good, Moderate and Poor. In the second section Ordered Logit Regression Model has been adopted. Moreover, in determining the control variables three indexes (co-morbidity index, active daily work index and mood index) have been formulated. In both the countries females have a higher percentage to report about moderate, poor or very poor QoL, while men mostly reported very good or good QoL. The results show that age, active of daily work index, mood index and co-morbidity index have significant impact on QoL. Moreover, for females, the odds of poor QoL versus the combined moderate and good are 0.07597 times lower than for males, given the other variables are held constant.
    Keywords: Quality of Life; Gender; Active Daily Work Index; Co-morbidity Index; Mood Index
    JEL: I14
    Date: 2015–08–24
  9. By: Marine Agogué (CGS - Centre de Gestion Scientifique - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris); Pascal Le Masson (CGS - Centre de Gestion Scientifique - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris); Cédric Dalmasso (CGS - Centre de Gestion Scientifique - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris); Olivier Houdé (Centre for Imaging Neurosciences and Applications to Pathologies (CI-NAPS), CNRS, Universities of Caen and Paris Descartes (Alliance for Higher Education and Research ‘‘Sorbonne Paris Cité’’), 75005 Paris, France, Institut Universitaire de France, 103, Boulevard Saint-Michel, 75005 Paris, France); Mathieu Cassotti (LaPsyDE - Laboratoire de Psychologie du Développement et de l'Education de l'enfant - UPD5 - Université Paris Descartes - Paris 5, CGS - Centre de Gestion Scientifique - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris)
    Abstract: Industrial designers and engineers are 2 types of individuals who are typically contrasted with regard to their creative capabilities. Regarding idea-generation processes, studies have shown that individuals use existing elements to generate new ideas, which constrains their creative thinking and leads them to only focus on a narrow scope of solutions. This article explores how industrial designers and engineers behave when generating creative ideas and resisting fixation (i.e., their propensity to focus on a limited set of ideas). We used a creative task in which participants were asked to design a solution that would prevent a hen’s egg from breaking after being dropped from a height of 10 m. Our results show that engineers and industrial designers differ in their creative behaviors when they are asked to generate ideas in a creative task without any constraints. Industrial designers provide more answers and are less fixated than engineers. However, for both engineers and industrial designers, the introduction of an uncreative example reinforced the fixation effect and constrained participants’ fluency. Specifically, industrial designers who were exposed to an uncreative example behaved similarly to engineers who were not exposed to this type of example.
    Keywords: Fixation,Engineer,Industril designer
    Date: 2015–08–31
  10. By: Vladimir F. Spiridonov (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Emilia V. Ezrina (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration)
    Abstract: In this paper, we look into the interaction of several languages in a multilingual language system. Studies of three or more language-speakers are not common, with most research focused instead on various aspects of bilingualism. We believe, however, that research of processes happening when several (i.e. more than two) languages are used could provide the existing body of research with additional data about language interaction. In this study, we attempt to evaluate a multilevel network model shared between several languages which integrates lexical, semantic and syntactic information. To this end, we proposed an experimental paradigm in which trilingual participants translate phrases and sentences from their Language 2 to Language 3 (and vice versa) while they are primed subliminally with single words in Language 1. We planned to carry out a series of experiments where we manipulate the type of primes as well as the type of phrases and sentences. We hypothesized that Language 1 primes will interfere with the translation between Languages 2 and 3 leading to longer translation times and the amount of interference would vary in different conditions. Our hypotheses were confirmed only in part for some stimuli but not for others. The implications of these results for the existing models and theories are discussed.
    Keywords: Multilinguals, trilinguals, network model, parallel non-selective access, syntactic nodes, subliminal priming
    JEL: Z
    Date: 2015

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