nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2015‒12‒20
six papers chosen by

  1. Mathematics self-confidence and the "prepayment effect" in riskless choices By Lian Xue; Stefania Sitzia; Theodore L. Turocy
  2. How a Universal Music Education Program Affects Time Use, Behavior, and School Attitude By Adrian Hille
  3. The Anticipatory Effect of Nonverbal Communication on Generosity By Brook, Rebecca; Servátka, Maroš
  4. Honesty and beliefs about honesty in 15 countries By David Hugh-Jones
  5. Explaining the Gender Gap in Financial Literacy: the Role of Non-Cognitive Skills By Alfonso Arellano; Noelia Camara; David Tuesta
  6. Gender Gaps in Early Educational Achievement By Deborah A. Cobb-Clark; Julie Moschion

  1. By: Lian Xue (University of East Anglia); Stefania Sitzia (University of East Anglia); Theodore L. Turocy (University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: We replicate and extend a simple riskless choice experiment reported recently by Hochman et al. (2014) as supporting loss aversion for money. Participants select from among sets of standard playing cards, with values defined by a simple formula. In some sessions, participants are given a prepayment associated with some of the cards, which need not be the earnings- maximizing ones. We replicate the results of Hochman et al., but find the effect of prepayment is significantly modulated by the instructions; instructions which more explicitly link payments and choices eliminate the effect. Participants who have been in many economics experiments before do not choose differently than those who are relative novices. However, we find that a self-reported measure of confidence in mathematics is a strong predictor of maximization rates. These results are more consistent with a preference for defaults when evaluating alternatives requires cognitive effort.
    Keywords: loss aversion, prepayment, replication, mathematics self-confidence, lab rats
    JEL: C91 D83
    Date: 2015–11–25
  2. By: Adrian Hille
    Abstract: It is still widely debated how non-cognitive skills can be affected by policy intervention. For example, universal music education programs are becoming increasingly popular among policy makers in Germany and other developed countries. These are intended to give children from poor families the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Moreover, policymakers present these programs as innovative policies that are important for the personality development of young children. However, the effects of universal music education on such outcomes are not yet sufficiently studied. This paper analyses the Jedem Kind ein Instrument (an instrument for every child) program in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. To do so, data from the German household panel studies SOEP and FiD are combined with regional data on primary and music schools. Using a difference-in-differences estimator, I show that the program successfully increases music participation among disadvantaged children. It does so more effectively than the alternative policy of reducing fees at public music schools. I further find that participation reduces conduct problems and improves student teacher relationships, especially among boys.
    Keywords: Music, non-cognitive skills, inequality, SOEP, policy evaluation, non-formal education
    JEL: I21 J24 Z18
    Date: 2015
  3. By: Brook, Rebecca; Servátka, Maroš
    Abstract: Is nonverbal communication capable of affecting economic outcomes? We study the effect of anticipated approval and disapproval, expressed through emoticons, on generosity and show that it discourages selfish behavior. In our experiment subjects play a one-shot dictator game at the end of which the recipient can respond to the allocation by drawing an emoticon and sending it back to the dictator. While the observed effect of nonverbal communication is somewhat weaker than the anticipation of a verbal response, our results provide evidence that people are willing to trade-off pecuniary gains to avoid disapproval or seek approval of their peers and that the sheer anticipation of receiving a response, even nonverbal, is sufficient to change their behavior.
    Keywords: approval, disapproval, nonverbal communication, emotion, experiment, fairness, generosity, dictator game
    JEL: C91 D03 D04 D63
    Date: 2015–12–08
  4. By: David Hugh-Jones (University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: The honesty of resident nationals of 15 countries was measured in two experiments: reporting a coin flip with a reward for "heads", and an online quiz with the possibility of cheating. There are large differences in honesty across countries. Average honesty correlates with per capita GDP: this relationship is driven mostly by GDP differences arising before 1950, rather than by GDP growth since 1950, suggesting that the growth-honesty relationship was more important in earlier periods than today. The experiment also elicited participants' beliefs about honesty in different countries. Beliefs were not correlated with reality. Instead they appear to be driven by cognitive biases, including self-projection.
    Date: 2015–09–25
  5. By: Alfonso Arellano; Noelia Camara; David Tuesta
    Abstract: Economic literature identifies a gender gap in financial literacy. This paper tests to what extent the gender gap is due to a misspecification problem or whether it exists because boys and girls do indeed have differing ways of acquiring financial literacy.
    Keywords: Economic Analysis , Financial Inclusion , Spain , Working Paper
    JEL: I00 D83 C81
    Date: 2015–12
  6. By: Deborah A. Cobb-Clark (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne); Julie Moschion (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne; and Brotherhood of St Laurence)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the source of the gender gap in third grade numeracy and reading. We adopt an Oaxaca-Blinder approach and decompose the gender gap in educational achievement into endowment and response components. Our estimation relies on unusually rich panel data from the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children in which information on child development reported by parents and teachers is linked to each child’s results on a national, standardized achievement test. We find that girls in low- and middle-SES families have an advantage in reading, while boys in highSES families have an advantage in numeracy. Girls score higher on their third grade reading tests in large part because they were more ready for school at age four and had better teacher-assessed literacy skills in kindergarten. Boys’ advantage in numeracy occurs because they achieve higher numeracy test scores than girls with the same education-related characteristics. Classification-J16, I21, I24
    Keywords: Gender gaps, educational achievement, education, Australia
    Date: 2015–11

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