nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2021‒05‒17
three papers chosen by

  1. Invention and the Life Course: Age Differences in Patenting By Mary Kaltenberg; Adam B. Jaffe; Margie E. Lachman
  2. Maternal Labor Supply: Perceived Returns, Constraints, and Social Norms By Boneva, T.; Kaufmann, K.; Rauh, C.
  3. Air Pollution and Adult Cognition: Evidence from Brain Training By Andrea La Nauze; Edson R. Severnini

  1. By: Mary Kaltenberg; Adam B. Jaffe; Margie E. Lachman
    Abstract: Previous research suggests creative ability peaks in the age decades of the 30s and early 40s, and declines thereafter, with some variation across fields. Building from the cognitive aging literature, we expect differences in the rate of creation and qualitative nature of creative works by age. Cognitive processes show aging-related changes with increases in experience-based knowledge (pragmatics or crystallized abilities) and decreases in the ability to process novel information quickly and efficiently (mechanics or fluid abilities). We describe a new database created by combining the publicly available patent data with information on inventor ages scraped from directory websites on the web for approximately 1.2 million U.S.-resident inventors patenting between 1976 and 2017. Our results suggest that cross-sectional and within-inventor patenting rates are similar, peaking at around the early 40s for both women and men. We find varying results for attributes of patents in relation to age, some of which are consistent with cognitive aging theory. For solo inventors, backward citations and originality, which are connected to experience, were found to increase with age. Forward citations, number of claims, and generality measures, as well as a citation-based measure of disruptiveness decline on average with inventor age. A similar pattern was found for performance in teams based on the average age of inventors in the team. Exploration of age diversity showed that teams with a wider age range had patents that are slightly more important (i.e., with more forward citations). The findings have the potential to advance scholarship on the life course of innovation with implications for workplace policies.
    JEL: O31 O34
    Date: 2021–05
  2. By: Boneva, T.; Kaufmann, K.; Rauh, C.
    Abstract: We design a new survey to elicit quantifiable, interpersonally comparable beliefs about pecuniary and non-pecuniary benefits and costs to maternal labor supply decisions, to study how beliefs vary across and within different groups in the population and to analyze how those beliefs relate to choices. In terms of pecuniary returns, mothers’ (and fathers’) later-life earnings are perceived to increase the more hours the mother works while her child is young. Similarly, respondents perceive higher non-pecuniary returns to children’s cognitive and non-cognitive skills the more hours a mother works and the more time her child spends in childcare. Family outcomes on the other hand, such as the quality of the mother-child relationship and child satisfaction, are perceived to be the highest when the mother works parttime, which is also the option most respondents believe their friends and family would like them to choose. There is a large heterogeneity in the perceived availability of full-time childcare and relaxing constraints could substantially increase maternal labor supply. Importantly, it is perceptions about the non-pecuniary returns to maternal labor supply as well as beliefs about the opinions of friends and family that are found to be strong predictors of maternal labor supply decisions, while beliefs about labor market returns are not.
    Keywords: Labor supply, childcare, beliefs, child penalties
    JEL: J22 J13 I26
    Date: 2021–04–30
  3. By: Andrea La Nauze; Edson R. Severnini
    Abstract: We exploit novel data from brain-training games to examine the impacts of air pollution on a comprehensive set of cognitive skills of adults. We find that exposure to particulate matter (PM2.5) impairs adult cognitive function, and that these effects are largest for those in prime working age. These results confirm a hypothesized mechanism for the impacts of air pollution on productivity. We also find that the cognitive effects are largest for new tasks and for those with low ability, suggesting that air pollution increases inequality in workforce productivity.
    JEL: I14 I24 J24 Q53
    Date: 2021–05

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