nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2015‒11‒15
eight papers chosen by

  1. The neural bases of framing effects in social dilemmas By Julian Macoveanu; Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy; Martin Skov; Hartwig R. Siebner; Toke Reinholt Fosgaard
  2. Statistical mechanics of neocortical interactions: large-scale EEG influences on molecular processes By L. Ingber
  3. Testing Models of Belief Bias: An Experiment By Coutts, Alexander
  4. Nonmonetary Job Characteristics and Employment Transitions at Older Ages By Marco Angrisani; Arie Kapteyn; Erik Meijer
  5. Genetic Distance and Cognitive Human Capital: A Cross-National Investigation By Kodila-Tedika, Oasis; Asongu, Simplice
  6. Gender Gap in Application to Selective Schools: Are Grades a Good Signal? By Miroslava Federicova
  7. Early Maternal Employment and Non-cognitive Outcomes in Early Childhood and Adolescence: Evidence from British Birth Cohort Data By Warn N. Lekfuangfu; Nattavudh Powdthavee; Andrew E. Clark; George Ward
  8. A computational model of implicit memory captures dyslexics’ perceptual deficits By Sagi Jaffe-Dax; Ofri Raviv; Nori Jacoby; Yonatan Loewenstein; Merav Ahissar

  1. By: Julian Macoveanu (Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre); Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy (Center for Decision Neuroscience, Dept. of Marketing, Copenhagen Business School); Martin Skov (Center for Decision Neuroscience, Dept. of Marketing, Copenhagen Business School); Hartwig R. Siebner (Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre); Toke Reinholt Fosgaard (Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: Human behavior in social dilemmas is strongly framed by the social context, but the mechanisms underlying this framing effect remains poorly understood. To identify the behavioral and neural responses mediating framing of social interactions, subjects underwent functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging while playing a Prisoners Dilemma game. In separate neuroimaging sessions, the game was either framed as a cooperation game or a competition game. Social decisions where subjects were affected by the frame engaged the hippocampal formation, precuneus, dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and lateral temporal gyrus. Among these regions, the engagement of the left hippocampus was further modulated by individual differences in empathy. Social decisions not adhering to the frame were associated with stronger engagement of the angular gyrus and trend increases in lateral orbitofrontal cortex, posterior intraparietal cortex, and temporopolar cortex. Our findings provide the first insight into the mechanisms underlying framing of behavior in social dilemmas, indicating increased engagement of the hippocampus and neocortical areas involved in memory, social reasoning and mentalizing when subjects make decisions that conform to the imposed social frame.
    Keywords: Social reasoning, prisoners dilemma, fMRI, framing
    JEL: C90
    Date: 2015–11
  2. By: L. Ingber
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Coutts, Alexander
    Abstract: Optimistic beliefs affect important areas of economic decision making, yet direct knowledge on how belief biases operate remains limited. To better understand these biases I conduct an experiment examining beliefs about binary events with financial stakes. By varying financial prizes in outcomes, as well as incentive payments for accuracy, the experiment is able to distinguish between two leading theories of optimistic belief formation that differ in their assumptions about how such beliefs are constrained. The Optimal Expectations theory of Brunnermeier and Parker (2005) models beliefs as being constrained through the future costs of holding incorrect beliefs, while the Affective Decision Making model of Bracha and Brown (2012) argues that beliefs are constrained by mental costs of distorting reality. The results suggest that people hold optimistically biased beliefs, and comparative statics indicate that these beliefs are not constrained by increasing the costs of making inaccurate judgments. In fact, the results support the theory of Bracha and Brown (2012), as observed bias is increasing in the size of incentive payments for accuracy.
    Keywords: Beliefs, Optimism, Pessimism, Overconfidence, Anticipation, Affective expected utility.
    JEL: C91 D03 D80 D81 D83 D84
    Date: 2015–08
  4. By: Marco Angrisani (University of Southern California); Arie Kapteyn (University of Southern California); Erik Meijer (University of Southern California)
    Abstract: This paper studies to what extent job characteristics such as physical and cognitive demands, use of technologies, responsibility, difficulty, stress, peer pressure, and relations with co-workers are related to full or partial retirement. We study employment transitions and retirement expectations of older workers by exploiting the wealth of information about individuals older than age 50 in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), and characteristics of different occupations provided by the Occupation Information Network (O*NET) database. Controlling for basic demographics, wages, benefits, health, cognitive ability, personality, and other personal characteristics, we find strong and statistically significant relationships between labor force transitions and job characteristics. These relationships are typically more pronounced and more precisely estimated when we use objective job attributes taken from the O*NET than when we use self-reported job characteristics taken from the HRS, but self-reported characteristics are more strongly related to moves from full-time to part-time employment. Using expected retirement age or subjective probabilities of working full-time at older ages gives similar results to using actual labor force transitions as the dependent variable. The estimated effects of job characteristics are again stronger and more robust to alternative specifications when measures of job attributes are taken from the O*NET than from the HRS. Our findings suggest that nonmonetary job characteristics are important determinants of labor supply decisions at older ages, but our analysis is still preliminary in its attempt to uncover causal relationships: Unobservable individual characteristics responsible for sorting into specific occupations may also shape retirement decisions.
    Date: 2015–09
  5. By: Kodila-Tedika, Oasis; Asongu, Simplice
    Abstract: This paper explores the determinants of intelligence by focusing on the role played by barriers to the diffusion of competence and human capital. The results based on cross-sectional data from 167 countries consisting of 1996-2009 averages suggest that, genetic distance to global frontiers has a negative relationship with human capital. Countries that are genetically far from leading nations tend to have lower levels of human capital with the negative correlation from the USA frontier higher relative to the UK frontier. The sign is consistent with the relationship of genetic diversity and robust to the control of macroeconomic, geographical, institutional and influential variables. Policy implications are discussed.
    Keywords: Intelligence, Human Capital, Genetic distance
    JEL: F15 G15 N10 O16 O50
    Date: 2015–04
  6. By: Miroslava Federicova
    Abstract: Grades are one of the most important factors in the transition between different levels of education. However, conditional on cognitive skills, grades differ substantially between girls and boys. This gender disparity in grade assignments according to cognitive skills may create asymmetrical signals of the probability of admission for girls and boys. This paper examines the role of grades in explaining the gender difference in application rates to selective schools. Using data about transition from primary to selective schools in the Czech Republic, the paper shows that girls apply at significantly higher rates. This difference remains the same after controlling for probability of admission. Test scores collected by an international testing program have no effect on gender differences in applications that are, however, explained by grades. This finding is consistent with grades acting as a signal that provides imperfect and incomplete information about the probability of being admitted, and consequently causes the gender difference in application.
    Keywords: grading; school choice; admissions; gender gap;
    JEL: I21 I24
    Date: 2015–09
  7. By: Warn N. Lekfuangfu (LSE - London School of Economics, Chulalongkorn University (THAILAND) - Chulalongkorn University (THAILAND), CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR); Nattavudh Powdthavee (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR, LSE - London School of Economics); Andrew E. Clark (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR); George Ward (LSE - London School of Economics, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR)
    Abstract: We analyse the relationship between early maternal employment and child emotional and behavioural outcomes in early childhood and adolescence. Using rich data from a cohort of children born in the UK in the early 1990s, we find little evidence of a strong statistical relationship between early maternal employment and any of the emotional outcomes. However, there is some evidence that children whose mother is in full-time employment at the 18th month have worse behavioural outcomes at ages 4, 7, and 12. We suggest that these largely insignificant results may in part be explained by mothers who return to full-time work earlier being able to compensate their children: we highlight the role of fathers’ time investment and alternative childcare arrangements in this respect.
    Keywords: Child outcomes,Maternal employment,Well-being,Conduct,ALSPAC
    Date: 2015–11
  8. By: Sagi Jaffe-Dax; Ofri Raviv; Nori Jacoby; Yonatan Loewenstein; Merav Ahissar
    Abstract: Dyslexics are diagnosed for their poor reading skills. Yet they characteristically also suffer from poor verbal memory, and often from poor auditory skills. To date, this combined profile has been accounted for in broad cognitive terms. Here, we hypothesize that the perceptual deficits associated with dyslexia can be understood computationally as a deficit in integrating prior information with noisy observations. To test this hypothesis we analyzed the performance of human participants in an auditory discrimination task using a two-parameter computational model. One parameter captures the internal noise in representing the current event, and the other captures the impact of recently acquired prior information. Our findings show that dyslexics’ perceptual deficit can be accounted for by inadequate adjustment of these components; namely, low weighting of their implicit memory of past trials relative to their internal noise. Underweighting the stimulus statistics decreased dyslexics’ ability to compensate for noisy observations. ERP measurements (P2 component) while participants watched a silent movie, indicated that dyslexics’ perceptual deficiency may stem from poor automatic integration of stimulus statistics. Taken together, this study provides the first description of a specific computational deficit associated with dyslexia.
    Date: 2015–09

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