nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2018‒10‒29
four papers chosen by

  1. The Bilingual Gap in Children’s Language and Emotional Development By Deborah A. Cobb-Clark; Colm Harmon; Anita Staneva
  2. The cognitive foundations of cooperation By Carlos Alós-Ferrer; Michele Garagnani
  3. The Many Faces of Human Sociality: Uncovering the Distribution and Stability of Social Preferences By Adrian Bruhin; Ernst Fehr; Daniel Schunk
  4. Adverse Outcome Pathway on chronic binding of antagonist to N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors during brain development leading to neurodegeneration with impairment in learning and memory in aging By Florianne Tschudi-Monnet; Rex FitzGerald

  1. By: Deborah A. Cobb-Clark (The University of Sydney); Colm Harmon (University of Sydney); Anita Staneva (The University of Sydney)
    Abstract: In this paper we examine whether – conditional on other family inputs – bilingual children achieve different outcomes in language and emotional development. Our data come from the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) which allows us to analyze children’s language and emotional development in depth. We relax the usual assumption that the production function underpinning child development is not itself a function of the age of the child and estimate the bilingual gap in children’s language and emotional development as a cumulative process that depends on current and past endowments of cognitive and non-cognitive capacity. We find that the language development of bilingual children is not significantly different to that of their monolingual peers; however, there is evidence of a positive effect of bilingualism on emotional development.
    Keywords: cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills, production function, value-added model, cohort study
    JEL: I20 J24 D10
    Date: 2018–10
  2. By: Carlos Alós-Ferrer; Michele Garagnani
    Abstract: Why do some individuals cooperate with their fellow human beings while others take advantage of them? The human drive for cooperation and altruism is one of the most powerful forces shaping our society, but there is an enormous behavioral variance in individual behavior. At the same time, whether it is intuitive to behave in a cooperative manner or whether such behaviors are calculated deeds remains an unanswered question. Indeed, recent empirical investigations regarding the spontaneity of human cooperation have found mixed evidence, possibly due to a failure to induce compliance in the behavioral manipulations employed. We conducted a laboratory experiment inducing intuitive and deliberative behavior through gradual economic incentives that ensure compliance. To account for individual heterogeneity, we independently measured social value orientation and aversion to interpersonal (strategic) uncertainty. We find that these measures determine the intrinsic predisposition towards cooperation. Subjects with more altruistic social values or a higher tolerance towards interpersonal uncertainty are more cooperative. Crucially, we find causal evidence that there is no universal default mode of behavior. Rather, intuition enhances intrinsic predispositions, while deliberation moderates them towards socially acceptable behavior. That is, subjects with a higher (resp. lower) predisposition towards cooperation became more (resp. less) cooperative under time pressure compared with time delay.
    Keywords: Cooperation, heterogeneity, time manipulations
    JEL: D01 D81 C9
    Date: 2018–10
  3. By: Adrian Bruhin (University of Lausanne); Ernst Fehr (Universität Zürich); Daniel Schunk (Johanes Gutenberg - Universität Mainz)
    Abstract: We uncover heterogeneity in social preferences with a structural model that accounts for outcome-based and reciprocity-based social preferences and assigns individuals to endogenously determined preferences types. We find that neither at the aggregate level nor when we allow for several distinct preference types do purely selfish types emerge, suggesting that other-regarding preferences are the rule and not the exemption. There are three temporally stable other-regarding types. When ahead, all types value others' payoffs more than when behind. The first, strongly altruistic type puts a large weight on others' payoffs even when behind and displays moderate levels of reciprocity. The second, moderately altruistic type also puts positive weight on others’ payoff, yet at a lower level, and displays no positive reciprocity. The third, behindness averse type puts a large negative weight on others’ payoffs when behind and is selfish otherwise. In addition, we show that individual-specific estimates of preferences offer only very modest improvements in out-of-sample predictions compared to our three-type model. Thus, a parsimonious model with three types captures the bulk of the information about subjects' social preferences.
    Keywords: social preferences, heterogeneity, Stability, finite mixture models
    JEL: C49 C91 D03
    Date: 2018–10
  4. By: Florianne Tschudi-Monnet (University of Lausanne); Rex FitzGerald
    Abstract: This AOP links chronic NMDA receptors inhibition during brain development to neurodegeneration in hippocampus and cortex with amyloid plaque deposition and tau hyperphosphorylation, and impairment of learning and memory, which are considered as hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. It makes use of some KEs and KERs from AOP 13 and introduces Neuroinflammation as KE, which is involved in several neurodegenerative diseases. This AOP is based on the hypothesis of Landrigan and coworkers (2005) proposing an early origin of neurodegenerative diseases in later life. The chemical initiator used in this AOP for the empirical support is lead (Pb). In adults, cumulative lifetime Pb exposure is also associated with decline in cognition, suggesting that long-term exposure during development or occupational exposure increases the risk to develop neurodegenerative disease. The long latency period between exposure and late-onset of effects gives a very broad life-stage applicability. The gap of knowledge is mainly due to limited quantitative evaluations.
    Date: 2018–10–12

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.