nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2017‒07‒30
four papers chosen by

  1. The First 2,000 Days and Child Skills: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment of Home Visiting By Orla Doyle
  2. Self-control and crime revisited: Disentangling the effect of self-control on risk taking and antisocial behavior By Friehe, Tim; Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah
  3. Predicting norm enforcement: The individual and joint predictive power of economic preferences, personality, and self-control By Friehe, Tim; Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah
  4. The Timing of Puberty and Gender Differences in Educational Achievement By Koerselman, Kristian; Pekkarinen, Tuomas

  1. By: Orla Doyle (School of Economics and Geary Institute for Public Policy,University College Dublin)
    Abstract: Using a randomized experiment, this study investigates the impact of sustained investment in parenting, from pregnancy until age five, in the context of extensive welfare provision. Providing the Preparing for Life program, incorporating home visiting, group parenting, and baby massage, to disadvantaged Irish families raises children’s cognitive and socio-emotional/behavioral scores by two-thirds and one-quarter of a standard deviation respectively by school entry. There are few differential effects by gender and stronger gains for firstborns. The results also suggest that socioeconomic gaps in children’s skills are narrowed. Analyses account for small sample size, differential attrition, multiple testing, contamination, and performance bias.
    Keywords: Early childhood intervention; cognitive skills; socio-emotional and behavioral skills; randomized control trial; multiple hypothesis testing; permutation testing; inverse probability weighting.
    JEL: C93 D13 I26 J13
    Date: 2017–07–11
  2. By: Friehe, Tim; Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah
    Abstract: Low self-control is considered a fundamental cause of crime. The aim of our study is to provide causal evidence on the link between self-control and criminal behavior. We test whether individuals with lower self-control behave in a more antisocial manner and are less risk-averse and thus are, according to both the General Theory of Crime and the economic literature on criminal behavior, more likely to engage in criminal activities. In order to exogenously vary the level of self-control in a laboratory experiment, we use a wellestablished experimental manipulation, a so-called depletion task. We find that subjects with low self-control take more risk. The effect of self-control on antisocial behavior is small and not significant. In sum, our findings are consistent with the proposition that low selfcontrol is a facilitator of crime to the extent that individuals with lower levels of self-control are less effectively deterred by probabilistic sanctions.
    Keywords: self-control,risk taking,antisocial behavior,criminal behavior,ego-depletion,experiment
    JEL: C91 D03 K42
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Friehe, Tim; Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah
    Abstract: This paper explores the individual and joint predictive power of concepts from economics, psychology, and criminology for individual norm enforcement behavior. More specifically, we consider economic preferences (patience and attitudes towards risk), personality traits from psychology (Big Five and locus of control), and a self-control scale from criminology. Using survey data, we show that the various concepts complement each other in predicting self-reported norm enforcement behavior. The most significant predictors stem from all three disciplines: stronger risk aversion, conscientiousness and neuroticism as well as higher levels of self-control increase an individual's willingness to enforce norms. Taking a broader perspective, our results illustrate that integrating concepts from different disciplines may enhance our understanding of heterogeneity in individual behavior.
    Keywords: norm enforcement,economic preferences,personality traits,self-control
    JEL: K42 D81 D90 C21
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Koerselman, Kristian (Abo Akademi University); Pekkarinen, Tuomas (VATT, Helsinki)
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the effect of the timing of puberty on educational achievement and examine to what extent the gender differences in the timing of puberty can explain gender differences in achievement. We use British cohort data that combine information on pubertal development with test scores, behavioral outcomes as well as final educational attainment and earnings. Controlling for age 7 cognitive skills and family background, we show that late pubertal development is associated with a slower rate of cognitive skill growth during adolescence. This disadvantage in cognitive development is also reflected in lower levels of educational attainment and earnings for late developed individuals. The number of late developing boys is however too small to explain more than a fraction of the gender gap in educational outcomes. Furthermore, we find no effects on self-discipline or other behavioral outcomes in adolescence, suggesting a mechanism wholly separate from other causes of the gender gap.
    Keywords: education, gender, adolescence, puberty, cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills, attainment, earnings
    JEL: I20 J16
    Date: 2017–07

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