nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2017‒06‒04
three papers chosen by

  1. Understanding the determinants of financial outcomes and choices: the role of noncognitive abilities By Gianpaolo Parise; Kim Peijnenburg
  2. Be who you ought or be who you are? Environmental framing and cognitive dissonance in going paperless By Greer Gosnell
  3. Evidence on the Production of Cognitive Achievement from Moving to Opportunity By Aliprantis, Dionissi

  1. By: Gianpaolo Parise; Kim Peijnenburg
    Abstract: We explore how financial distress and choices are affected by noncognitive abilities. Our measures stem from research in psychology and economics. In a representative panel of households, we find that people in the bottom decile of noncognitive abilities are five times more likely to experience financial distress compared to those in the top decile. Relatedly, individuals with lower noncognitive abilities make financial choices that increase their likelihood of distress: They are less likely to plan for retirement and save, and more likely to buy impulsively and to have unsecured debt. Causality is shown using childhood trauma as an instrument.
    Keywords: Noncognitive abilities, financial distress, financial choices, saving, unsecured debt, behavioral finance, psychology and economics
    JEL: D10 D14 G02
    Date: 2017–05
  2. By: Greer Gosnell
    Abstract: This paper explores the potential for environmental information and dissonance-inducing messaging to encourage resourceful behaviour, following a study of customers of a renewable energy provider in the UK. It uses the manipulation of message framing to analyse behavioural motivators that businesses may consider when encouraging customers – in this case, those who already have revealed environmental preferences – to switch from paper to online communications. In a large-scale natural field experiment comprising 38,654 customers of renewable supplier Good Energy, the author has randomised environmental information and messaging rooted in theories of cognitive dissonance in email communications promoting an active switch to paperless billing. The study finds that environmental information and imagery are ineffective in inducing behaviour change. Interestingly, the dissonance-inducing messaging weakly improves uptake among the main sample but backfires among a sub-sample of individuals with extensive postgraduate education. Contrary to the majority of the literature on gender and environmental behaviour, females in the sample are less likely to switch to paperless billing than males.
    Date: 2017–05
  3. By: Aliprantis, Dionissi (Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland)
    Abstract: This paper performs a subgroup analysis on the effect of receiving a Moving to Opportunity (MTO) housing voucher on test scores. I find evidence of heterogeneity by number of children in the household in Boston, gender in Chicago, and race/ethnicity in Los Angeles. To study the mechanisms driving voucher effect heterogeneity, I develop a generalized Rubin Causal Model and propose an estimator to identify transition-specific Local Average Treatment Effects (LATEs) of school and neighborhood quality. Although I cannot identify such LATEs with the MTO data, the analysis demonstrates that membership in a specific demographic group is more predictive of voucher effects than is the group’s average change in school or neighborhood quality. I discuss some possible explanations.
    Keywords: Two-Dimensional Treatment; Rubin Causal Model; School Effect; Neighborhood Effect; Local Average Treatment Effect; Education Production Function; EPF; Moving to Opportunity;
    JEL: C31 C36 C50 D04 I20 I38 R23
    Date: 2017–05–12

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.