nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2018‒04‒02
six papers chosen by

  1. Mother's Time Allocation, Child Care and Child Cognitive Development By Ylenia Brilli
  2. Early Childcare and Child Non-Cognitive Outcomes By Daniela Del Boca; Enrica Maria Martino; Chiara Pronzato
  3. Locus of Control and Technology Adoption in Africa: Evidence from Ethiopia By Kibrom A. Abay; Guush Berhane; Garrick Blalock
  4. Working Hours, Work Identity and Subjective Wellbeing By Mark L. Bryan; Alita Nandi
  5. What emotional tears convey : Tearful individuals are seen as warmer, but also as less competent By van de Ven, Niels; Meijs, Maartje; Vingerhoets, A.J.J.M.
  6. Maternal Depression, Women’s Empowerment, and Parental Investment: Evidence from a Large Randomized Control Trial By Victoria Baranov; Sonia Bhalotra; Pietro Biroli; Joanna Maselko

  1. By: Ylenia Brilli
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of maternal time allocation between work, child care and leisure, and non-parental child care on a child's cognitive development. By using data for the U.S. from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I estimate a behavioral model that takes into account the heterogeneity in the mother's child-care productivity induced by her level of education, and the diversity in the non-parental child care impact given by the different child care types available in the market. The results show that mothers with at least some college education are more effective than their low-educated counterpart in boosting the child's cognitive skills through their child-care time. Moreover, formal child care is found to be more productive than the informal one, especially during the child's first years of life. The simulation of policies aimed at regulating the non-parental child care market, so that only high-quality arrangements are available, shows that the effects on the child's cognitive outcome are larger for the children of low-educated mothers, who benefit more from replacing their mother's time with the alternative care provider's time.
    Keywords: mother employment; mother time allocation; non-parental child care; child development; structural estimation
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Daniela Del Boca; Enrica Maria Martino; Chiara Pronzato
    Abstract: In this study, we analyze the impact of attendance of formal early childcare on a number of non- cognitive child outcomes, conditional on several socio-demographic characteristics of the household and the child. While several studies have explored the determinants of cognitive outcomes, in our analysis we focus on non-cognitive skills that were found to be important determinants of cognitive skills and of later life outcomes. Using a newly available data-set for Northern Italy on child care and child outcomes1, we consider the impact of attendance of formal childcare on non-cognitive outcomes, such as attitudes to schooling and social behavior, identified among children born in 2006 at the end of the first year of primary school. Using innovative empirical strategies to deal with endogeneity and imperfect measurement of non-cognitive outcomes, we show that attending an infant toddler center significantly improves school readiness and social interactions a few years later. Coherently with previous literature, these results are more significant for boys and for children of lower educated mothers.
    Keywords: non-cognitive ability, child development, childcare.
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Kibrom A. Abay; Guush Berhane; Garrick Blalock
    Abstract: We investigate the implication of farmers’ locus of control on their technology adoption decisions. Our empirical analysis is based on two longitudinal surveys and hypothetical choice exercises conducted on Ethiopian farmers. We find that locus of control significantly predicts farmers’ technology adoption decisions, including use of chemical fertilizers, improved seeds, and irrigation. We show that individuals with an internal locus of control have higher propensity of adopting agricultural technologies, while those with an external locus of control seem less likely to adopt one or more of these agricultural technologies. We observe these empirical regularities in both datasets, and for both revealed measures of farmers’ technology adoption decisions as well as farmers’ hypothetical demand for agricultural technology. The results hold even in a more conservative fixed effects estimation approach, assuming locus of control as time-variant and dynamic behavioral trait. These findings provide psychological (behavioral) explanations for the low rates of adoption of profitable agricultural technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our results highlight that improving farmers’ psychological capital and non-cognitive skills may facilitate agricultural transformation. More generally, the results suggest that anti-poverty policies that only focus on relaxing short-term external constraints, including physical access to markets and technologies, may not sufficiently alleviate agricultural underinvestment.
    Keywords: Locus of control, internal constraints, behavioral biases, technology adoption, agricultural investment, chemical fertilizers.
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Mark L. Bryan (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield); Alita Nandi (Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex)
    Abstract: Following theories of social and economic identity, we use representative data containing measures of personal identity to investigate the interplay of work identity and hours of work in determining subjective wellbeing (job satisfaction, job-related anxiety and depression, and life satisfaction). We find that work identity helps to explain wellbeing in two ways. First, for a given level of hours, having a stronger work identity is associated with higher wellbeing on most measures. Second, a strong work identity reduces the adverse effects of long hours working on some measures, notably job satisfaction and anxiety (for women) and on life satisfaction (for men). The associations of working hours and wellbeing confirm that work is a source of disutility, but these relationships are generally strengthened when controlling for identity – implying that individuals sort into jobs with work hours that match their identities. The effects of both work hours and identity are substantial relative to benchmark effects of health on wellbeing. Our work helps to rationalise recent findings in the literature on the effects of work hours and work hour preferences on wellbeing.
    Keywords: identity, wellbeing, working hours, job satisfaction, anxiety, depression
    JEL: J22 J28 J29 I31
    Date: 2018–02
  5. By: van de Ven, Niels (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management); Meijs, Maartje (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management); Vingerhoets, A.J.J.M. (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: Earlier research found that the mere sight of tears promotes the willingness to provide support to the person shedding the tears. Other research, however, found that deliberate responses towards tearful persons could be more negative as well. We think this is because tears have ambivalent effects on person perception: we predicted that tearful people are seen as warmer, but also as less competent. In three studies we asked participants (total N = 1042) to form their impression of someone based on a picture. The person either displayed visible tears, or the tears had been digitally removed. Tearful individuals were perceived as being warmer, but also as less competent. In Study 2 we also added a measure of perceived sadness. Seeing a tearful face increased perceived sadness, and this (partially) explained the reduction in perceived competence of the target person. There was no such indirect effect of the tear on perceived warmth via perceived sadness. Study 3 found that people would be more likely to approach a tearful person to offer help than a tearless individual. At the same time, tearful individuals would be more likely to be avoided in situations in which the observer needs assistance for an important task.
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Victoria Baranov; Sonia Bhalotra; Pietro Biroli; Joanna Maselko
    Abstract: We evaluate the long-term impact of treating maternal depression on women’s financial empowerment and parenting decisions. We leverage experimental variation induced by a cluster-randomized control trial that provided psychotherapy to perinatally depressed mothers in rural Pakistan. It was one the largest psychotherapy interventions in the world, and the treatment was highly successful at reducing depression. We locate mothers seven years after the end of the intervention to evaluate its long-run effects. We find that the intervention increased women’s financial empowerment, increasing their control over household spending. Additionally, the intervention increased both time- and monetary-intensive parental investments, with increases in investments tending to favor girls.
    Keywords: mental health, maternal depression, women’s labor supply, empowerment, early life, parenting, child development, randomized controlled trial, Pakistan
    Date: 2017

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