nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2021‒12‒13
five papers chosen by

  1. The Intergenerational Transmission of Cognitive Skills: An Investigation of the Causal Impact of Families on Student Outcomes By Hanushek, Eric A.; Jacobs, Babs; Schwerdt, Guido; Van der Velden, Rolf; Vermeulen, Stan; Wiederhold, Simon
  2. The Roots of Cooperation By Zvonimir Bašic; Parampreet Christopher Bindra; Daniela Glätzle-Rützler; Angelo Romano; Matthias Sutter; Claudia Zoller
  3. The “Human Factor” in Prisoner’s Dilemma Cooperation By Iván Barreda-Tarrazona; Ainhoa Jaramillo-Gutiérrez; Marina Pavan; Gerardo Sabater-Grande
  4. Self-Control and Vulnerability to Food Insecurity: Exploring Impacts and Pathways By Meyer, Stefan; Santos, Paulo
  5. Individualism, Human Capital Formation, and Labor Market Success By Hartinger, Katharina; Resnjanskij, Sven; Ruhose, Jens; Wiederhold, Simon

  1. By: Hanushek, Eric A. (Stanford University); Jacobs, Babs (Maastricht University); Schwerdt, Guido (University of Konstanz); Van der Velden, Rolf (ROA, Maastricht University); Vermeulen, Stan (Maastricht University); Wiederhold, Simon (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: The extensive literature on intergenerational mobility highlights the importance of family linkages but fails to provide credible evidence about the underlying family factors that drive the pervasive correlations. We employ a unique combination of Dutch survey and registry data that links math and language skills across generations. We identify a causal connection between cognitive skills of parents and their children by exploiting within-family between-subject variation in these skills. The data also permit novel IV estimation that isolates variation in parental cognitive skills due to school and peer quality. The between-subject and IV estimates of the key intergenerational persistence parameter are strikingly similar and close at about 0.1. Finally, we show the strong influence of family skill transmission on children's choices of STEM fields.
    Keywords: intergenerational mobility, parent-child skill transmission, causality, STEM
    JEL: I24 I26 J12 J24 J62
    Date: 2021–11
  2. By: Zvonimir Bašic; Parampreet Christopher Bindra; Daniela Glätzle-Rützler; Angelo Romano; Matthias Sutter; Claudia Zoller
    Abstract: We study the development of cooperation in 929 young children, aged 3 to 6. In a unified experimental framework, we examine pre-registered hypotheses about which of three fundamental pillars of human cooperation – direct and indirect reciprocity, and third-party punishment – emerges earliest as a means to increase cooperation in a repeated prisoner’s dilemma game. We find that third-party punishment doubles cooperation rates in comparison to a control condition. Children also reciprocate others’ behavior, yet direct and indirect reciprocity do not increase overall cooperation rates. We also examine the influence of children’s cognitive skills and parents’ socioeconomic background on 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
  3. By: Iván Barreda-Tarrazona (LEE and Department of Economics, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain); Ainhoa Jaramillo-Gutiérrez (LEE and Department of Economics, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain); Marina Pavan (LEE & Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón-Spain); Gerardo Sabater-Grande (LEE and Department of Economics, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain)
    Abstract: We design a rich setting to study cooperation in the finitely Repeated Prisoners’ Dilemma (RPD), controlling for beliefs, emotions, and personal characteristics. In the baseline, the subjects play one-shot and repeated games with other human subjects. In the treatment, participants play against an artificial intelligence (AI) trained upon data from the previous “all human” sessions to mimic human decisions. We design the experiment so that our sessions are homogeneous in terms of gender composition, altruism, and reasoning ability. In all games, we elicit players’ beliefs regarding cooperation using an incentive compatible method. Besides, after each individual decision, we collect self-reported information on the main reason for it (rational or emotional). We find that expectations of partner cooperation at the beginning of each task are not significantly different between treatments. Despite this, we observe that initial human cooperation is actually much higher with other humans than with an AI. Cooperation continues to be higher in all periods of the RPD tasks: cooperation rates range between 60% and 80% in the baseline, while they range between 20% and 40% in the AI treatment. Last, decisions appear to be less emotion-driven in the AI treatment. Lack of empathy with, rather than fear of, the machine seems to be driving the results.
    Keywords: cooperation, prisoner’s dilemma, artificial intelligence, experiment
    JEL: C91 C73
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Meyer, Stefan; Santos, Paulo
    Keywords: Food Security and Poverty
    Date: 2021–08
  5. By: Hartinger, Katharina (Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt); Resnjanskij, Sven (CESifo); Ruhose, Jens (University of Kiel); Wiederhold, Simon (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: There is an ongoing debate about the economic effects of individualism. We establish that individualism leads to better educational and labor market outcomes. Using data from the largest international adult skill assessment, we identify the effects of individualism by exploiting variation between migrants at the origin country, origin language, and person level. Migrants from more individualistic cultures have higher cognitive skills and larger skill gains over time. They also invest more in their skills over the life-cycle, as they acquire more years of schooling and are more likely to participate in adult education activities. In fact, individualism is more important in explaining adult skill formation than any other cultural trait that has been emphasized in previous literature. In the labor market, more individualistic migrants earn higher wages and are less often unemployed. We show that our results cannot be explained by selective migration or omitted origin-country variables.
    Keywords: cognitive skills, culture, individualism, labor market, international comparisons
    JEL: D91 J24 I20 Z13
    Date: 2021–10

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