nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2022‒02‒28
four papers chosen by

  1. Self-Control and Unhealthy Body Weight: The Role of Impulsivity and Restraint By Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.; Dahmann, Sarah C.; Kamhöfer, Daniel A.; Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah
  2. The Impact Evaluation of Vietnam's Escuela Nueva (New School) Program on Students' Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills By Dang, Hai-Anh; Glewwe, Paul; Lee, Jongwook; Vu, Khoa
  3. The Stability of Self-Control in a Population Representative Study By Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.; Kong, Nancy; Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah
  4. The Variability and Volatility of Sleep: An Archetypal Approach By Hamermesh, Daniel S.; Pfann, Gerard A.

  1. By: Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. (University of Sydney); Dahmann, Sarah C. (University of Melbourne); Kamhöfer, Daniel A. (Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE)); Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
    Abstract: We examine the relationship between trait self-control and body weight. Data from a population representative household survey reveal that limited self-control is strongly associated with both objective and subjective measures of unhealthy body weight. Those with limited self-control are characterized by reduced exercising, repeated dieting, unhealthier eating habits, and poorer nutrition. We propose an empirical method to isolate two facets of self-control limitations—high impulsivity and low restraint. Each has differential predictive power. Physical activity, dieting, and overall body weight are more strongly associated with restraint; impulsivity is more predictive of when, where, and what people eat.
    Keywords: brief self-control scale, obesity, body mass index, diet, exercise
    JEL: D91 I12
    Date: 2022–01
  2. By: Dang, Hai-Anh (World Bank); Glewwe, Paul (University of Minnesota); Lee, Jongwook (University of Minnesota); Vu, Khoa (University of Minnesota)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates how Vietnam's Escuela Nueva (VNEN) program, an educational reform for primary schools supported by the World Bank, affected the cognitive (mathematics and Vietnamese) and non-cognitive (socioemotional) skills of students in that country. We use propensity score matching to estimate both short-term (1-3 years) and long-term (5-7 years) average treatment effects on the treated (ATT). We find that the impacts of VNEN on students' cognitive skills are relatively small in the short-term, and that they are larger for boys, ethnic minorities, and students in Northern Vietnam. The VNEN program modestly increased primary school students' non-cognitive skills in the short-term; these impacts on non-cognitive skills are sizable and significant for ethnic minority students, although there seems to be little gender difference. The long-term impacts are less precisely estimated, but they appear to fade away, showing little or no impact of the VNEN program on cognitive skills. There is little variation of long-term impacts by gender or geographical region, although the imprecision of the estimates for ethnic minority students does not allow us to rule out large long-term impacts on cognitive skills for those students. The program's impacts on non-cognitive skills also seem to have dissipated in the long-term.
    Keywords: VNEN, Vietnam Escuela Nueva, education, cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills, impact evaluation, propensity score matching, IV
    JEL: I2 O1
    Date: 2022–01
  3. By: Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. (University of Sydney); Kong, Nancy (University of Sydney); Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
    Abstract: We investigate the stability of self-control at the population level. Analyzing repeated Brief Self-Control Scale scores, we demonstrate that self-control exhibits a high degree of mean-level, rank-order, and individual-level stability over the medium term. Changes in self-control are not associated with major life events, nor are they economically important. The stability of self-control is particularly striking given our study period (2017-2020) spans the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Keywords: self-control, Brief Self-Control Scale, SOEP, stability
    JEL: D91 D01
    Date: 2021–12
  4. By: Hamermesh, Daniel S. (Barnard College); Pfann, Gerard A. (Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Using Dutch time-diary data from 1975-2005 covering over 10,000 respondents for 7 consecutive days each, we show that individuals' sleep time exhibits both variability and volatility characterized by stationary autoregressive conditional heteroscedasticity: The absolute values of deviations from a person's average sleep on one day are positively correlated with those on the next day. Sleep is more variable on weekends and among people with less education, who are younger and who do not have young children at home. Volatility is greater among parents with young children, slightly greater among men than women, but independent of other demographics. A theory of economic incentives to minimize the dispersion of sleep predicts that higher-wage workers will exhibit less dispersion, a result demonstrated using extraneous estimates of earnings equations to impute wage rates. Volatility in sleep spills over onto volatility in other personal activities, with no reverse causation onto sleep. The results illustrate a novel dimension of economic inequality and could be applied to a wide variety of human behavior and biological processes.
    Keywords: time use, ARCH, economic incentives in biological processes, volatility
    JEL: C22 J22 I14
    Date: 2022–01

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