nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2019‒08‒19
six papers chosen by

  1. Many Balls in the Air Makes Time Fly: The Effect of Multitasking on Time Perception and Time Preferences By Hardardottir, Hjördis
  2. Adverse Outcome Pathway on inhibition of Na+/I- symporter (NIS) leads to learning and memory impairment By Alexandra Rolaki; Francesca Pistollato; Sharon Munn; Anna Bal-Price
  3. Child-cognitive son preference, birth order and cognitive skills in early childhood By Cara Ebert; Sebastian Vollmer
  4. Labor Demand Shocks at Birth and Cognitive Achievement during Childhood By Regmi, Krishna; Henderson, Daniel J.
  5. Mental Health around Pregnancy and Child Development from Early Childhood to Adolescence By Stephanie von Hinke; Nigel Rice; Emma Tominey
  6. Self-Control: Determinants, Life Outcomes and Intergenerational Implications By Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.; Dahmann, Sarah C.; Kamhöfer, Daniel A.; Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah

  1. By: Hardardottir, Hjördis (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: In this paper, we study how increasing the cognitive demands of multitasking affects time preferences. The novelty of this paper is that it studied how time perception mediates the effect of multitasking on time preferences. Results from experimental psychology have demonstrated that people tend to experience the passage of time as quicker when they are busy with cognitively-demanding tasks. If time is experienced as passing faster, the future should be experienced as being closer, and patience should increase. However, a standard prediction from behavioral economics is that being cognitively loaded leads to less patient decisions. Our hypothesis is that increases in patience, driven by the speeding up of time, and decreases in patience, driven by decreased cognitive capacity, added together explain the total effect of increasing the cognitive demands of multitasking on time preferences. We also shed light on whether the observed relationship between time preferences and time perception within subjects is mirrored when comparing between subjects.
    Keywords: Time preferences; Multitasking; Cognitive load; Time perception; Foundations of preferences
    JEL: C91 D91
    Date: 2019–08–09
  2. By: Alexandra Rolaki (Joint Research Centre - European Commission); Francesca Pistollato (Joint Research Centre - European Commission); Sharon Munn (Joint Research Centre - European Commission); Anna Bal-Price (Joint Research Centre - European Commission)
    Abstract: The thyroid hormones (TH) are essential for brain development, maturation, and function as they regulate the early key developmental processes. Normal human brain development and cognitive function relays on sufficient production of TH during the perinatal period. The function of Na+/I- symporter (NIS) is critical for the physiological production of TH levels in the serum. The present AOP describes causative links between inhibition of NIS function leading to the decreased levels of TH in the blood and consequently in the brain, causing learning and memory deficit in children. Learning and memory depend upon the coordinated action of different brain regions and neurotransmitter systems creating functionally integrated neural networks. Hippocampus and cortex are the most critical brain structures involved in the process of cognitive functions. The function of NIS and its essentiality for TH synthesis is well known across species, however, quantitative information of KERs is limited.
    Date: 2019–07–30
  3. By: Cara Ebert; Sebastian Vollmer
    Abstract: We propose an innovative child-specific measure of son preference. It allows to explicitly address birth order and sex composition effects. We first establish that, when using this child-specific measure, son preference is more common among later born children and in families with fewer sons. We then study the son preference-specific girl-penalty in early cognitive and non-cognitive skills. Son preferences have adverse effects on cognitive and language skills of two-year-old girls at higher birth orders, for girls with sisters and for girls of mothers with a high number of desired sons.
    Keywords: son preferences, gender discrimination, early childhood, cognitive and non-cognitive skills
    JEL: I12 J13 J16 J24 O15
  4. By: Regmi, Krishna (Montana State University); Henderson, Daniel J. (University of Alabama)
    Abstract: As epidemiological studies have shown that conditions during gestation and early childhood affect adult health outcomes, we examine the effect of local labor market conditions in the year of birth on cognitive development in childhood. To address the endogeneity of labor market conditions, we construct gender-specific predicted employment growth rates at the state level by interacting an industry's share in a state's employment with the industry's national growth rate. We find that an increase in employment opportunities for men leads to an improvement in children's cognitive achievement as measured by reading and math test scores. Additionally, our estimates show a positive and significant effect of male-specific employment growth on children's Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test scores and in home environment in the year of birth. We find an insignificant positive effect of buoyancy in females' employment opportunities on said test scores.
    Keywords: labor market conditions, cognitive ability, child's well-being
    JEL: J20 J21 I20 I30
    Date: 2019–07
  5. By: Stephanie von Hinke (University of Bristol); Nigel Rice (University of York); Emma Tominey (University of York)
    Abstract: We identify the causal effect of mothers' mental health during early - and soon after pregnancy on a range of child psychological, socio-emotional and cognitive outcomes measured between ages 4-16. Results suggest a negative effect on children's psychological and socio-emotional skills in early childhood, but these effects fade-out between the ages of 11-13. We find no significant effect on cognitive outcomes. The fade-out of effects may be partly explained by compensatory behaviour of parents, as we find that mental health during or soon after pregnancy raises breastfeeding and improves measures of interaction between mother and child.
    Keywords: Prenatal psychological health, child psychological outcomes, child socio-emotional outcomes, child cognitive outcomes
    JEL: I12 I14
    Date: 2019–08
  6. By: Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. (University of Sydney); Dahmann, Sarah C. (University of Sydney); Kamhöfer, Daniel A. (Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE)); Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
    Abstract: This paper studies self-control in a nationally representative sample. Using the well-established Tangney scale to measure trait self-control, we find that people’s age as well as the political and economic institutions they are exposed to have an economically meaningful impact on their level of self-control. A higher degree of self-control is, in turn, associated with better health, educational and labor market outcomes as well as greater financial and overall well-being. Parents’ self-control is linked to reduced behavioral problems among their children. Importantly, we demonstrate that self-control is a key behavioral economic construct which adds significant explanatory power beyond other more commonly studied personality traits and economic preference parameters. Our results suggest that self-control is potentially a good target for intervention policies.
    Keywords: self-control, Tangney scale, personality traits, intergenerational transmission
    JEL: D91 J24
    Date: 2019–07

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