nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2021‒09‒20
three papers chosen by

  1. Maternal depression and child human capital: A genetic instrumental-variable approach By Menta, Giorgia; Lepinteur, Anthony; Clark, Andrew E.; Ghislandi, Simone; D’Ambrosio, Conchita
  2. Reaping the Rewards Later: How Education Improves Old-Age Cognition in South Africa By Plamen Nikolov; Steve Yeh
  3. The Australian Twins Economic Preferences Survey By Kettlewell, Nathan; Tymula, Agnieszka

  1. By: Menta, Giorgia; Lepinteur, Anthony; Clark, Andrew E.; Ghislandi, Simone; D’Ambrosio, Conchita
    Abstract: We here address the causal relationship between maternal depression and child human capital using UK cohort data. We exploit the conditionally-exogenous variation in mothers’ genomes in an instrumental-variable approach, and describe the conditions under which mother’s genetic variants can be used as valid instruments. An additional episode of maternal depression between the child’s birth up to age nine reduces both their cognitive and non-cognitive skills by 20 to 45% of a SD throughout adolescence. Our results are robust to a battery of sensitivity tests addressing, among others, concerns about pleiotropy and the maternal transmission of genes to her child.
    Keywords: Mendelian Randomisation, Maternal Depression, Human Capital, Instrumental Variables, ALSPAC
    Date: 2021–09
  2. By: Plamen Nikolov; Steve Yeh
    Abstract: Cognitive abilities are fundamental for decision-making, and understanding the causes of human capital depreciation in old age is especially important in an aging society. Using a longitudinal labor survey that collects direct proxy measures of cognitive skills, we study the effect of educational attainment on cognitive performance in late adulthood in South Africa. We find robust evidence that an increase in a year of schooling improves memory performance and general cognition. We also find evidence of heterogeneous effects of educational attainment on cognitive performance. We explore the mechanisms through which education can affect cognitive performance. We show that a more supportive social environment, improved health habits, and reduced stress levels likely play a critical role in mediating the beneficial effects of educational attainment on cognition among the elderly.
    Date: 2021–09
  3. By: Kettlewell, Nathan (University of Technology, Sydney); Tymula, Agnieszka (University of Sydney)
    Abstract: This paper describes the Australian Twins Economic Preferences Survey (ATEPS). The dataset comprises a wide variety of preference and behavioral measures (risk aversion, impatience, ambiguity aversion, trust, confidence) elicited using incentivised decision tasks. 1,120 Australian adult twins (560 pairs) completed the survey, making it one of the largest datasets containing incentivised preference measures of twins. As the survey was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, we also collected information on experiences related to the pandemic, along with a variety of questions on political attitudes and mental wellbeing. We hope that ATEPS can make a valuable contribution to social science and genetics research.
    Keywords: economic preferences, twins, twin study
    JEL: D90 D91 I10 Y90
    Date: 2021–08

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