nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2019‒10‒07
four papers chosen by

  1. A Bit of Salt, a Trace of Life: Gender Norms and the Impact of a Salt Iodization Program on Human Capital Formation of School Aged Children By Deng, Zichen; Lindeboom, Maarten
  2. Activating women cognitive abilities: Impact of a financial literacy pilot program in India By Lucia, Dalla Pellegrina; Giorgio, Di Maio; Paolo, Landoni; Beatrice, Rama
  3. Indoor Air Quality and Cognitive Performance By Künn, Steffen; Palacios, Juan; Pestel, Nico

  1. By: Deng, Zichen (affiliation not available); Lindeboom, Maarten (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of a massive salt iodization program on human capital formation of school-aged children in China. Exploiting province and time variation we find strong positive effects on cognition for girls and no effects for boys. For non-cognitive skills we find the opposite. We show in a simple model of parental investment that gender preferences can explain our findings. Analyses exploiting within province, village level variation in gender attitudes confirm the importance of parental gender preferences. Consequently, large scale programs can have positive (and possibly) unintended effects on gender equality in societies where boy preferences are important.
    Keywords: iodine, parental investments, gender attitudes, cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills
    JEL: I15 J16 J24
    Date: 2019–09
  2. By: Lucia, Dalla Pellegrina; Giorgio, Di Maio; Paolo, Landoni; Beatrice, Rama
    Abstract: This study is based on a randomized control trial (RCT) aimed at understanding the effectiveness of a financial literacy pilot program conducted in 2014-2016 at the Institute for Indian Mother and Child, a non-profit microfinance institution based near Kolkata. Significant impacts are revealed in terms of improvements in saving accumulation and punctuality in the repayment of the loan instalments for borrowers belonging to the treated group, compared to the group of borrowers who did not participated to the program. In particular, positive contribution emerges from the evolution of both the cognitive skills and the level of financial knowledge developed by the beneficiaries during the training program. Estimates provide evidence that enhancing cognitive abilities turn out to be strongly beneficial in fostering the accumulation savings, whereas financial principles also had an (although weaker) impact on stimulating a more timely reimbursement of the instalments. We conclude that the financial literacy pilot program has significantly activated women cognitive abilities, giving them the opportunity to apply them both in the course and in their businesses.
    Keywords: Microfinance; financial literacy; randomized control trial, repayment performance; savings.
    JEL: I21 I24 I28 J13 J24
    Date: 2019–05
  3. By: Künn, Steffen (Maastricht University); Palacios, Juan (Maastricht University); Pestel, Nico (IZA)
    Abstract: This paper studies the causal impact of indoor air quality on the cognitive performance of individuals using data from official chess tournaments. We use a chess engine to evaluate the quality of moves made by individual players and merge this information with measures of air quality inside the tournament venue. The results show that poor indoor air quality hampers cognitive performance significantly. We find that an increase in the indoor concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) by 10 μg/m3 increases a player's probability of making an erroneous move by 26.3%. The impact increases in both magnitude and statistical significance with rising time pressure. The effect of the indoor concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) is smaller and only matters during phases of the game when decisions are taken under high time stress. Exploiting temporal as well as spatial variation in outdoor pollution, we provide evidence suggesting a short-term and transitory effect of fine particulate matter on cognition.
    Keywords: indoor air quality, cognition, worker productivity, chess
    JEL: D91 I1 J24 Q50
    Date: 2019–09
  4. By: Maryna Tverdostup; Tiiu Paas
    Abstract: This paper investigates the gender wage gap in relation to the multi-dimensional human capital measure across 17 European countries. To date, the role of cognitive and task-specific skills had a limited empirical evidence in the gender wage gap literature. We narrow this research gap by relying on PIAAC (Program of International Assessment of Adult Competencies) data and applying Gelbach’s (2016) decomposition methodology. The analysis reveals that occupation-/industry-specific work experience and task-specific cognitive and non-cognitive skills are the most rewarding human capital attainments. Work experience largely decreases the gender wage disparity in all analysed countries. Cognitive numeracy skill is another strong predictor of gender wage disparity. The effect of numeracy is rather homogeneous across countries, namely, controlling for numeracy reduces the wage gap. Unlike studies that stress the decreasing importance of human capital in gender wage gap assessments, we argue that a narrow definition of human capital may undermine the actual effect of the latter. Therefore, we conclude that human capital should be viewed as a combination of multiple characteristics and traits, each having specific valuation on the labour market, and thus, a particular role in explaining the gender wage gap.
    Keywords: gender, human capital, cognitive and non-cognitive skills, wage gap
    Date: 2019

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