nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2017‒01‒29
four papers chosen by

  1. Implicit Motivation Makes the Brain Grow Younger: Improving Executive Functions of Older Adults By Shira Cohen-Zimerman; Ran R. Hassin
  2. Locus of Control and Mothers' Return to Employment By Eva M. Berger; Luke Haywood
  3. Locus of Control and Investment in Training By Marco Caliendo; Deborah A. Cobb-Clark; Helke Seitz; Arne Uhlendorff
  4. Response Error in a Web Survey and a Mailed Questionnaire: The Role of Cognitive Functioning By Martin Kroh; Denise Lüdtke; Sandra Düzel; Florin Winter

  1. By: Shira Cohen-Zimerman; Ran R. Hassin
    Abstract: The dominant view of cognitive aging holds that while controlled processes (e.g., working memory and executive functions) decline with age, implicit (automatic) processes do not. In this paper we challenge this view by arguing that high-level automatic processes (e.g., implicit motivation) decline with age, and that this decline plays an important and as yet unappreciated role in cognitive aging. Specifically, we hypothesized that due to their decline, high-level automatic processes are less likely to be spontaneously activated in old age, and so their subtle, external activation should have stronger effects on older (vs. younger) adults. In two experiments we used different methods of implicitly activating motivation, and measured executive functions of younger and older adults via the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. In Experiment 1 we used goal priming to subtly increase achievement motivation. In Experiment 2 motivation was manipulated by subtly increasing engagement in the task. More specifically, we introduce the Jerusalem Face Sorting Test (JFST), a modified version of the WCST that uses cards with faces instead of geometric shapes. In both experiments, implicitly induced changes in motivation improved older- but not younger- adults’ executive functioning. The framework we propose is general, and it has implications as to how we view and test cognitive functions. Our case study of older adults offers a new look at various aspects of cognitive aging. Applications of this view to other special populations (e.g., ADHD, schizophrenia) and possible interventions are discussed.
    Date: 2017–01
  2. By: Eva M. Berger; Luke Haywood
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of locus of control (LOC) on the length of mothers’ employment break after childbirth. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), duration data reveals that women with an internal LOC return to employment more quickly than women with an external LOC.We find that this effect is particularly pronounced in jobs in which the penalties in terms of lower wage growth are highest. We thus argue that the effect of LOC on return is mainly related to differential appreciation of the career costs of longer maternity leave.
    Keywords: Locus of Control, Noncognitive Skills, Personality, Maternal Employment, Female Labor Supply, Survival Analysis
    JEL: J22 J24
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Marco Caliendo; Deborah A. Cobb-Clark; Helke Seitz; Arne Uhlendorff
    Abstract: This paper extends standard models of work-related training by explicitly incorporating workers' locus of control into the investment decision. Our model both differentiates between general and specific training and accounts for the role of workers and firms in training decisions. Workers with an internal locus of control are predicted to engage in more general training than are their external co-workers because their subjective expected investment returns are higher. In contrast, we expect little relationship between specific training and locus of control because training returns largely accrue to firms rather than workers. We then empirically test the predictions of our model using data from the German Socioeconomic Panel (SOEP). We find that, consistent with our model, locus of control is related to participation in general but not specific training. Moreover, we provide evidence that locus of control influences participation in general training through its effect on workers' expectations about future wage increases. Specifically, general training is associated with a much larger increase in the expected likelihood of receiving a future pay raise for those with an internal rather than external locus of control, while we do not find any relationship in the case of specific training. Actual post-training wages for those who receive general or specific training do not depend on locus of control.
    Keywords: Human Capital Investment, On-the-job Training, Locus of Control, Wage Expectations
    JEL: J24 C23 D84
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Martin Kroh; Denise Lüdtke; Sandra Düzel; Florin Winter
    Abstract: Web-based interviewing is gradually replacing traditional modes of data collection, in particular telephone and mailed surveys. This global trend takes place despite the fact that established knowledge of its consequences on response error is incomplete. This paper studies differences between a web (CAWI) and a mailed version (MAIL) of a questionnaire in various forms of response error, namely item nonresponse, satisficing, person-reliability, and social desirable responding. We posit 1) that response error depends on respondents cognitive functioning, namely in the domains of global reading abilities, fluid intelligence, as well as working and episodic memory; and 2) that these effects differ across modes of data collection with generally higher prevalence in the CAWI mode since this mode is more demanding. The analysis builds on a randomized mode experiment implemented in the context of the Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II), a survey that primarily focuses on multidimensional processes of physical and mental aging (see Bertram et al. 2014). The analysis reveals a high impact of cognitive functioning at the various stages of the survey response process. While we do found moderate mode-differences in response error, such as higher item nonresponse rates in the CAWI mode, we did not find cognitive functioning to be a better predictor of response error in web-based interviewing.
    Keywords: Mixed-mode design, CAWI, cognitive functioning, response quality
    Date: 2016

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