nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2018‒08‒27
four papers chosen by

  1. It’s So Hot in Here: Information Avoidance, Moral Wiggle Room, and High Air Conditioning By d’Adda , Giovanna; Gao , Yu; Golman, Russell; Tavoni, Massimo
  2. Use of extra-school time and child behaviours. Evidence from the UK. By Meroni, Elena Claudia; Piazzalunga, Daniela; Pronzato, Chiara
  3. Food leftovers in workplace cafeterias: an investigation of beliefs and psychosocial factors By Sebbane, Maxime
  4. Working Hard or Working Smart? By Bracha, Anat; Fershtman, Chaim

  1. By: d’Adda , Giovanna; Gao , Yu; Golman, Russell; Tavoni, Massimo
    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: Environmental Economics and Policy
    Date: 2018–03–12
  2. By: Meroni, Elena Claudia; Piazzalunga, Daniela; Pronzato, Chiara (University of Turin)
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the effects of extra-school activities on children’s non-cognitive development, using data from the Millennium Cohort Study (UK) and focusing on children aged 7-11 years old. We classify the time spent out of school into six homogenous groups of activities, using principal component analysis, and estimate the relationship thereof with five behavioural dimensions drawn from the Strength and Difficulties questionnaire, exploiting the panel structure of the data. Results show the beneficial effects on children’s behaviour of sports, school-related activities, time with parents and household chores, while a small detrimental effect of video-screen time is detected. We test the robustness of our estimates against omitted variable bias, and the results are confirmed. We also observe that children from more advantaged backgrounds have easier access to more beneficial activities. Overall, our results suggest that different uses of time may reinforce inequalities across children from different backgrounds.
    Date: 2018–06
  3. By: Sebbane, Maxime
    Abstract: Reducing food waste is a major challenge in achieving a more sustainable food system. This research analyzes the psychosocial factors and cognitions that determine actual food waste behaviors in mass catering services. 216 customers of a French worksite cafeteria completed an online questionnaire based on the theory of planned behavior extended to moral norms. Over a period of four days, the quantity of food left by each respondent was weighed and linked to the answers. Findings indicate that food waste behaviors in mass catering setting are mainly drive by perceived behavioral control. Analysis of the underlying control beliefs suggests that interventions should focus on two specific aspects: improving food quality and making portion sizes more flexible.
    Keywords: Consumer/Household Economics, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety
    Date: 2017–10–11
  4. By: Bracha, Anat; Fershtman, Chaim
    Abstract: Almost all jobs require a combination of cognitive effort and labor effort. The focus of the paper is on the effect of different incentive schemes on the chosen combination of these types of efforts. We use an experimental approach to show that tournament incentives may induce agents to work harder but not necessarily smarter. This effect was stronger for women. We then ran a "managerial bonus" experiment in which a preassigned manager receives a bonus whenever the overall performance of his/her group is above a given threshold level. Although the bonus does not affect the participants' direct incentives, it induces participants to lower their cognitive effort and increase their labor effort.
    Keywords: Financial Economics, Labor and Human Capital
    Date: 2018–05

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