nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2021‒11‒08
five papers chosen by

  1. The Roots of Cooperation By Zvonimir Bašic; Parampreet C. Bindra; Daniela Glätzle-Rützler; Angelo Romano; Matthias Sutter; Claudia Zoller
  2. Children’s patience and school-track choices several years later: Linking experimental and field data By Silvia Angerer; Jana Bolvashenkova; Daniela Glätzle-Rützler; Philipp Lergetporer; Matthias Sutter
  3. How Do Acquisitions Affect the Mental Health of Employees? By Baghai, Ramin; Bos, Marieke; Bach, Laurent; Silva, Rui
  4. Socioemotional Skills and Refugees’ Language Acquisition By Yuliya Kosyakova
  5. Child Development in the Early Years: Parental Investment and the Changing Dynamics of Different Domains By Orazio Attanasio; Raquel Bernal; Michele Giannola; Milagros Nores

  1. By: Zvonimir Bašic (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods); Parampreet C. Bindra (University of Innsbruck); Daniela Glätzle-Rützler (University of Innsbruck); Angelo Romano (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods); Matthias Sutter (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, University of Cologne, University of Innsbruck, IZA Bonn, and CESifo Munich); Claudia Zoller (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)
    Abstract: Understanding the roots of human cooperation among strangers is of great importance for solving pressing social dilemmas and maintening public goods in human societies. We study the development of cooperation in 929 young children, aged 3 to 6. In a unified experimental framework, we examine which of three fundamental pillars of human cooperation – direct and indirect reciprocity as well as third-party punishment – emerges earliest as an effective means to increase cooperation in a repeated prisoner’s dilemma game. We find that third-party punishment exhibits a strikingly positive effect on cooperation rates by doubling them in comparison to a control condition. It promotes cooperative behavior even before punishment of defectors is applied. Children also engage in reciprocating others, showing that reciprocity strategies are already prevalent at a very young age. However, direct and indirect reciprocity treatments do not increase overall cooperation rates, as young children fail to anticipate the benefits of reputation building. We also show that the cognitive skills of children and the socioeconomic background of parents play a vital role in the early development of human cooperation.
    Keywords: Cooperation, reciprocity, third-party punishment, reputation, children, parents, cognitive abilities, socioeconomic status, prisoner’s dilemma game, experiment
    JEL: C91 C93 D01 D91 H41
    Date: 2021–06–11
  2. By: Silvia Angerer (UMIT – Private University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology); Jana Bolvashenkova (ifo Institute at the University of Munich); Daniela Glätzle-Rützler (University of Innsbruck); Philipp Lergetporer (Ohio University); Matthias Sutter (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, University of Cologne, University of Innsbruck, IZA, and CESifo)
    Abstract: We present direct evidence on the link between children’s patience and educational-track choices years later. Combining an incentivized patience measure of 493 primary-school children with their high-school track choices taken at least three years later at the end of middle school, we find that patience significantly predicts choosing an academic track. This relationship remains robust after controlling for a rich set of covariates, such as family background, school-class fixed effects, risk preferences, and cognitive abilities, and is not driven by sample attrition. Accounting for middle-school GPA as a potential mediating factor suggests a direct link between patience and educational-track choice.
    Keywords: patience, education, school track choice, children, lab-in-the-field experiment
    JEL: C91 D90 I21 J2
    Date: 2021–05–21
  3. By: Baghai, Ramin (Mistra Center for Sustainable Markets (Misum)); Bos, Marieke (Mistra Center for Sustainable Markets (Misum)); Bach, Laurent (ESSEC Business School Paris); Silva, Rui (Nova School of Business and Economics)
    Abstract: Using employer-employee level data linked to individual health records, we document that the incidence of stress, anxiety, depression, psychiatric medication usage, and even suicide increase following acquisitions. These effects are prevalent among employees from both targets and acquirers, in weak as well as in growing, profitable firms. Employees who experience negative career developments within the merging firms, ’blue-collar’ workers, and employees with lower cognitive and non-cognitive skills are most affected. A variety of tests address endogeneity concerns, including an analysis exploiting failed mergers. Our findings point to mental illness as a significant non-pecuniary cost of acquisitions.
    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Corporate Restructuring; Mental Health; Mental Illness
    JEL: G34 J81 L23
    Date: 2021–10–26
  4. By: Yuliya Kosyakova (Yuliya Kosyakova)
    Abstract: This paper contributes to the existing literature by extending Chiswick and Miller’s (2001) model to include socioemotional skills. While the theoretical model predicts that exposure, efficiency, and incentives determine language proficiency, we additionally assume that socioemotional skills influence these three constructs and thereby language proficiency. Specifically, we seek to answer the following research questions: How do socioemotional skills affect the language attainment of recent refugees? What is the relative importance of socioemotional skills in refugees’ language learning process? Given the findings of the prior literature that personality traits may compensate for socioeconomic adversity (e.g. Damian et al. 2015), we further ask whether socioemotional skills may compensate for refugees’ resource disadvantages. Empirically, we rely on growth curve models and recent longitudinal data from the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Refugee Sample.
    Keywords: language acquisition, refugees, socioemotional skills, Big Five, risk aversion, locus of control, Germany
    JEL: J15 D91 I26 J24
    Date: 2021–10
  5. By: Orazio Attanasio (Yale, IFS, FAIR NHH and NBER); Raquel Bernal (Universidad de Los Andes); Michele Giannola (University College London, Università di Napoli Federico II and CSEF.); Milagros Nores (Rutgers University)
    Abstract: This paper uses the data on child development collected around the evaluation of a nursery program to estimate the details of the process of human development. We model development as made of three latent factors, reflecting health, cognitive and socio-emotional skills. We observe children from age 1 to age 7. We assume that, at each age, these factors interact among themselves and with a variety of other inputs to determine the level of development at following ages. The richness of the data we use allows us to: (i) let the dynamics be rich and flexible; (ii) let each factors play a role in the production of any other factor; (iii) estimate age-specific functional forms; (iv) treat parental investment as an endogenous input. We show that considering parental investment as endogenous affects the estimated level of its productivity. Furthermore, we find that the dynamics of the process can be richer than usually assumed, which determines the degree of persistence of different inputs in time. Persistence also changes with age. The way the productivity of different inputs and the persistence of the process change with age have important implications for the targeting of investment and interventions, and, therefore, the identification of windows of opportunities.
    Keywords: Child development, Human capital, Dynamic production function, Parental investment, Cognitive skills, Health, Socio-emotional skills, Development.
    JEL: I15 I25 I32 J13 J24 O15
    Date: 2021–10–07

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