nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2018‒04‒23
three papers chosen by

  1. It’s So Hot in Here: Information Avoidance, Moral Wiggle Room, and High Air Conditioning Usage By Giovanna d’Adda; Yu Gao; Russell Golman; Massimo Tavoni
  2. Maternal Depression, Women’s Empowerment, and Parental Investment: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial By Victoria Baranov; Sonia Bhalotra; Pietro Biroli; Joanna Maselko
  3. A Three-Dimensional Model of the Affect Structure Based on Russian Data By Dmitry Lyusin

  1. By: Giovanna d’Adda (University of Milano, Department of Economics); Yu Gao (Politecnico di Milano, Department of Management and Economics); Russell Golman (Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Social and Decision Sciences); Massimo Tavoni (Politecnico di Milano, Department of Management and Economics and FEEM)
    Abstract: Environmental policies based on information provision are widespread, but have often proven ineffective. One possible explanation for information’s low effectiveness is that people actively avoid it. We conduct an online field experiment on air conditioning usage to test the theory of moral wiggle room, according to which people avoid information that would compel them to act morally, against the standard theory of information acquisition, and identify conditions under which each theory applies. In the experiment, we observe how exogenously imposing a feeling of moral obligation to reduce air conditioning usage and exploiting natural variation in the cost of doing so, given by outside temperature, influences subjects’ avoidance of information about their energy use impacts on the environment. Moral obligation increases information avoidance when it is hot outside, consistent with the moral wiggle room theory, but decreases it when outside temperature is low. Avoiding information positively correlates with air conditioning usage. These findings provide guidance about tailoring the use of nudges and informational tools to the decision environment.
    Keywords: Information Avoidance, Energy Efficiency, Moral Wiggle Room
    JEL: D4 Q4
    Date: 2018–03
  2. By: Victoria Baranov (University of Melbourne); Sonia Bhalotra (University of Essex); Pietro Biroli (University of Zurich); Joanna Maselko (University of North Carolina)
    Abstract: We evaluate the medium-term impacts 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 of the largest psychotherapy interventions in the world and highly successful at reducing depression. We locate mothers seven years after the end of the intervention to evaluate its longer run effects. We find that the intervention improved women’s financial empowerment, increasing their control over household spending. Additionally, the intervention increased both time- and monetary-intensive parental investments.
    Keywords: mental health, maternal depression, women's labor supply, empowerment, early life, parenting, Child Development, randomized control trials, Pakistan
    JEL: I15 I30 O15
    Date: 2018–04
  3. By: Dmitry Lyusin (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: The well-known modern dimensional models of affect include two or three dimensions. They are typically based on self-reports using English emotion terms. It remains unclear to what extent these models can be applied to different cultures and languages. The present study is aimed at finding the dimensions underlying the descriptions of emotional states in Russian and suggests a structural model of affect based on these findings. At the first stage, a comprehensive list of Russian nouns denoting emotional states was compiled. It comprised 330 words and was reduced to a list of 56 words. At the second stage, participants rated their emotional states using this list. The exploratory factor analysis yielded three dimensions that underlay participant descriptions of the emotional states – negative affect with low activation, positive affect with high activation, and tension. This model is compared to other structural models of affect and its special features are discussed. This model can be used for developing Russian-based measures for the assessment of mood.
    Keywords: affect structure, core affect, dimensional models, valence, tension.
    JEL: Z
    Date: 2018

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.