nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2017‒04‒30
three papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Cognitive, socioemotional, and behavioural returns to college quality By Utteeyo Dasgupta; Subha Mani; Smriti Sharma; Saurabh Singhal
  2. Can gender differences in distributional preferences explain gender gaps in competition? By Utteeyo Dasgupta; Subha Mani; Smriti Sharma; Saurabh Singhal
  3. Modeling Enrollment in and Completion of Vocational Education: The role of cognitive and non-cognitive skills by program type By Leslie S. Stratton; Nabanita Datta Gupta; David Reimer

  1. By: Utteeyo Dasgupta; Subha Mani; Smriti Sharma; Saurabh Singhal
    Abstract: We exploit the variation in the admissions process across colleges of a leading Indian university to estimate the causal effects of enrolling in a selective college on: cognitive attainment using scores on standardized university exams; behavioural preferences such as risk, competitiveness, and overconfidence; and socioemotional traits using measures of Big Five personality. Using a regression discontinuity design, we find that enrolling in a selective college leads to improvements in females’ exam scores with no effect on males’ scores. Marginally admitted females in selective colleges become less overconfident and less risk averse as compared to their counterparts in the less selective colleges. Males in selective colleges experience a decline in extraversion and conscientiousness. We find higher attendance rates among females to be one of the likely channels explaining the gender differences in returns to better college and peer environment. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper in the literature to go beyond cognitive outcomes, to causally identify the returns to college quality on both behavioural and socioemotional traits.
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Utteeyo Dasgupta; Subha Mani; Smriti Sharma; Saurabh Singhal
    Abstract: We design an experiment to examine whether egalitarian preferences, and in particular, behindness aversion as well as preference for favourable inequality affect competitive choices differently among males and females. We find that selection into competitive environments is: (a) negatively related to egalitarian preferences, with smaller negative impacts of being egalitarian on females’ choice of the tournament wage scheme, and (b) negatively associated with behindness aversion and positively related to preference for favourable inequality, with significant gender differences in the impact of these distributional preferences. Once we allow for the impact of distributional preferences, behavioural, personality, and socioeconomic characteristics to vary by gender, the pure gender effect is explained away. We find that gender gaps in distributional preferences along with selected personality traits are the most relevant explanations for gender differences in willingness to compete. This is an important result as these characteristics are per se malleable and amenable to policy interventions.
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Leslie S. Stratton (Virginia Commonwealth University); Nabanita Datta Gupta (Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University, Denmark); David Reimer (Danish School of Education, Aarhus University)
    Abstract: We examine the role of cognitive and non-cognitive skills on enrollment in and completion of three types of vocational training (VET): education/health, technical, and business. Using two nine-year panels of Danish youths, estimation proceeds separately by gender, controlling for selection and right censoring. Cognitive skills are captured with math and language exam scores, non-cognitive skills with teacher-assigned grades. We find that all skills are inversely related to enrollment and math scores are positively related to certification for all VET programs. Language skills are, however, inversely related to completion for technical VET and non-cognitive skills are important only for business VET.
    Keywords: Vocational education, Enrollment, Vocational certification
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2017–04–19

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