nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2019‒10‒21
five papers chosen by

  1. The Nurture Effects of Multidimensional Parental Skills on College Attainment By Jiaming Soh; Kegon T. K. Tan
  2. Solving stumpers, CRT and CRAT: Are the abilities related? By Maya Bar-Hillel; Tom Noah; Shane Frederick
  3. Stress and Food Preferences: A Lab Experiment with Low-SES Mothers By Belot, Michèle; James, Jonathan; Vecchi, Martina; Vitt, Nicolai
  4. Long-Term Consequences of Growing up in a Recession on Risk Preferences By Hitoshi Shigeoka
  5. Creativity over Time and Space By Serafinelli, Michel; Tabellini, Guido

  1. By: Jiaming Soh; Kegon T. K. Tan
    Abstract: While many studies have shown that parental skills are important for child outcomes, whether this derives from non-genetic mechanisms is less clear. We investigate the nurture effects of parental cognitive and socio-emotional skills in producing college attainment of offspring, modeling socio-emotional skills as latent factors based on the Big Five taxonomy of personality. By studying a sample of adopted children whose parents are respondents of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, we identify non-genetic effects of parental skills on college attainment. We address possible non-random adoption assignment by accounting for institutional policies regarding the adoption process and the compositional change of adoptees in Wisconsin during the period covered by our sample. We find that parental IQ and Openness act positively on child college attainment, while Agreeableness has a negative impact. A 1 s.d. difference in each of the skills translates to a 5-6 p.p. difference in college attainment, similar to the effect size of income. Finally we find that the nurture effects of IQ and Agreeableness are largely driven by fathers, whilst that of Openness is driven by mothers.
    Keywords: human capital, intergenerational mobility, cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills, nurture
    JEL: I24 J24 J62
    Date: 2019–10
  2. By: Maya Bar-Hillel; Tom Noah; Shane Frederick
    Abstract: Bar-Hillel, Noah and Frederick (2018) studied a class of riddles they called stumpers, which have simple, but curiously elusive, solutions. A canonical example is: "Andy is Bobbie's brother, but Bobbie is not Andy's brother. How come?" Though not discussed there, we found that the ability to solve stumpers correlates significantly with performance on items resembling the CRT (Cognitive Reflection Test) but not with performance on items from the CRAT (Compound Remote Associates Test). We report those results here.
    Date: 2019–10
  3. By: Belot, Michèle (European University Institute); James, Jonathan (University of Bath); Vecchi, Martina (University of Bath); Vitt, Nicolai (Pennsylvania State University)
    Abstract: We investigate whether short-term everyday stressors leads to unhealthier dietary choices among low socioeconomic status mothers. We propose a novel stress protocol that aims to mimic everyday stressors experienced by this population, involving time and financial pressure. We evaluate the impact of stress on immediate and planned food choices, comparing a group exposed to our stress protocol relative to a control group. Immediate consumption is measured with in-laboratory consumption of low calorie and high calorie snacks; planned consumption is measured with an incentivized food shopping task. The stressfulness of the stress protocol is evaluated using subjective assessments, as well as physiological measurements (heart rate and salivary cortisol levels). We find no evidence of an effect of stress on the nutritional content of immediate or planned food consumption, thus no support for the hypothesis that everyday stressors are a likely explanation for unhealthy food choices.
    Keywords: diet, acute stress, everyday stressors, lab experiment
    JEL: I12 D91
    Date: 2019–10
  4. By: Hitoshi Shigeoka
    Abstract: Risk preferences play a fundamental role in individuals’ economic decision-making. We examine whether the historical macroeconomic environment shapes individuals’ willingness to take risks. Using nationally representative samples from Japan and exploiting regional variation in economic conditions, we find that men who experienced severe economic conditions in youth are more risk averse in adulthood and the effect is long-lasting. In addition, those men are less likely to be self-employed and they have longer tenure, which are consistent with elevated risk aversion. This study highlights the importance of experience at a critical period of life on the formation of risk preferences.
    JEL: D81 J24 Z13
    Date: 2019–10
  5. By: Serafinelli, Michel (University of California, Berkeley); Tabellini, Guido (Bocconi University)
    Abstract: Creativity is often highly concentrated in time and space, and across different domains. What explains the formation and decay of clusters of creativity? In this paper we match data on thousands of notable individuals born in Europe between the XIth and the XIXth century with historical data on city institutions and population. Our main variable of interest is the number of famous creatives (scaled to local population) born in a city during a century, but we also look at famous immigrants (based on location of death). We first document several stylized facts: famous births and immigrants are spatially concentrated and clustered across disciplines, creative clusters are persistent but less than population, and spatial mobility has remained stable over the centuries. Next, we show that the emergence of city institutions protecting economic and political freedoms and promoting local autonomy facilitates the attraction and production of creative talent.
    Keywords: innovation, agglomeration, political institutions, immigration, gravity
    JEL: R10 O10 J61 J24
    Date: 2019–09

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