nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2018‒01‒01
two papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Diffusion of being pivotal and immoral outcomes By Falk, Armin; Szech, Nora
  2. Safe options induce gender differences in risk attitudes By Crosetto, P.; Filippin, A.

  1. By: Falk, Armin; Szech, Nora
    Abstract: We study how the diffusion of being pivotal affects immoral outcomes. In a first set of experiments, subjects decide about agreeing to kill mice and receiving money versus objecting to kill mice and foregoing the monetary amount. In a baseline condition, subjects decide individually about the life of one mouse. In the main treatment, subjects are organized into groups of eight and decide simultaneously. Eight mice are killed if at least one subject supports the killing. The fraction of subjects agreeing to kill is significantly higher in the main condition compared to the baseline condition. In the second set of experiments, we run the same baseline and main conditions but use a charity context and additionally study sequential decisions. We replicate our main finding from the mouse paradigm and additionally show that in the sequential treatment, prosocial behavior is even less pronounced. We further show that the observed effects increase with experience, i.e., when we repeat the experiment for a second time. Finally, we report evidence on beliefs, elicited in our main experiments but also from a treatment of noninvolved observers, and show that beliefs about being pivotal are a main driver of our results.
    Keywords: committees,diffusion of being pivotal,group decisions,morality,replacement logic
    JEL: C91 D01 D03 D23 D63
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Crosetto, P.; Filippin, A.
    Abstract: Gender differences in risk attitudes are frequently observed, although recent literature has shown that they are context dependent rather than ubiquitous. In this paper we try to rationalize the heterogeneity of results investigating experimentally whether the presence of a safe option among the set of alternatives explains why females are more risk averse than males. We manipulate three widely used risk elicitation methods finding that the availability of a safe option causally affects risk attitudes. The presence of a riskless alternative does not entirely explain the gender gap but it has a significant effect in triggering or magnifying (when already present) such differences. Despite the pronounced instability that usually characterizes the measurement of risk preferences, we show, estimating a structural model, that the effect of a safe option is remarkably stable accross tasks. This paper constitutes the first successful attempt to shed light on the determinants of gender differences in risk attitudes.
    JEL: C81 C91 D81
    Date: 2017

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