nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2017‒04‒23
five papers chosen by

  1. Facing Yourself: A Note on Self-Image By Falk, Armin
  2. Smog in Our Brains: Gender Differences in the Impact of Exposure to Air Pollution on Cognitive Performance By Chen, Xi; Zhang, Xiaobo; Zhang, Xin
  3. Household Composition and Gender Difference in Parental Time Investments By Andrew Bibler
  4. Local thinking and skewness preferences By Dertwinkel-Kalt, Markus; Köster, Mats
  5. Information Aversion By Andries, Marianne; Haddad, Valentin

  1. By: Falk, Armin (briq, University of Bonn)
    Abstract: Numerous signaling models in economics assume image concerns. These take two forms, as relating either to social image or self-image. While empirical work has identified the behavioral importance of the former, little is known about the role of self-image concerns. We exogenously vary self-image concerns in manipulating self-directed attention and study the impact on moral behavior. The choice context in the experiment is whether subjects inflict a painful electric shock on another subject to receive a monetary payment. Three between-subjects conditions are studied. In the main treatment, subjects see their own face on the decision screen in a real-time video feed. In the two control conditions, subjects see either no video at all or a neutral video. We find that the exogenous increase in self-image concerns significantly reduces the fraction of subjects inflicting pain.
    Keywords: self-image, moral behavior
    JEL: D64 C91
    Date: 2017–03
  2. By: Chen, Xi (Yale University); Zhang, Xiaobo (Peking University); Zhang, Xin (Peking University)
    Abstract: While there is a large body of literature on the negative health effects of air pollution, there is much less written about its effects on cognitive performance for the whole population. This paper studies the effects of contemporaneous and cumulative exposure to air pollution on cognitive performance based on a nationally representative survey in China. By merging a longitudinal sample at the individual level with local air-quality data according to the exact dates and counties of interviews, we find that contemporaneous and cumulative exposure to air pollution impedes both verbal and math scores of survey subjects. Interestingly, the negative effect is stronger for men than for women. Specifically, the gender difference is more salient among the old and less educated in both verbal and math tests.
    Keywords: cognitive performance, air pollution, gender difference
    JEL: I24 Q53 Q51 J16
    Date: 2017–03
  3. By: Andrew Bibler (Institute of Social and Economic Reesarch, Department of Economics, University of Alaska Anchorage)
    Abstract: Recent research documents considerable gender gaps in non-cognitive skills among children and adolescents raised in single-parent households. However, determining the source of these gaps is complicated due to the presence of many interrelated and often unobservable inputs. One potential explanation for such gaps is that boys and girls receive different levels of parental time investments. If correlated with household structure differentially by gender, time investments could help explain gender differences in non-cognitive skills, as well as the sensitivity of outcomes and behavior of boys to household composition. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and accompanying Child Development Supplement (CDS), I estimate gender differences in parental time investments, defined as the amount of time parents spend participating in activities with the child, around changes in household composition. I find that, although both boys and girls experience reductions in parental time investments following a change from a two-parent to single-mother household, boys experience a larger reduction than girls. The largest difference is found in fathers’ time investments on weekdays, for which boys lose an additional 24 minutes per day (35% of average paternal weekday investments). Moreover, there is little to no evidence that single mothers compensate for the loss by increasing time investments to boys relative to girls.
    Keywords: education
    JEL: J12 J13 J16 J24 I20
    Date: 2017–03
  4. By: Dertwinkel-Kalt, Markus; Köster, Mats
    Abstract: We show that continuous models of stimulus-driven attention can account for skewness-related puzzles in decision-making under risk. First,we delineate that these models provide awell-defined theory of choice under risk. We therefore prove that in continuous - in contrast to discrete - models of stimulus-driven attention each lottery has a unique certainty equivalent that is monotonic in probabilities (i.e., it monotonically increases if probability mass is shifted to more favorable outcomes). Second, we show that whether an agent seeks or avoids a specific risk depends on the skewness of the underlying probability distribution. Since unlikely, but outstanding payoffs attract attention, an agent exhibits a preference for right-skewed and an aversion toward left-skewed risks. While cumulative prospect theory can also account for such skewness preferences, it yields implausible predictions on their magnitude. We show that these extreme implications can be ruled out for continuous models of stimulus-driven attention.
    Keywords: stimulus-driven attention,salience theory,focusing,certainty equivalent,monotonicity,skewness preferences
    JEL: D81
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Andries, Marianne; Haddad, Valentin
    Abstract: We propose a theory of inattention solely based on preferences, absent cognitive limitations or external costs of information. Under disappointment aversion, agents are intrinsically information averse. In a consumption-savings problem, we study how information averse agents cope with their fear of information, to make better decisions: they acquire information at infrequent intervals only, and inattention increases when volatility is high, consistent with the empirical evidence. Adding state-dependent alerts following sharp downturns improves welfare, despite the additional endogenous information costs. Our framework accommodates a broad range of applications, suggesting our approach can explain many observed features of decision under uncertainty.
    Date: 2017–03

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