nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2022‒09‒19
six papers chosen by

  1. Impact of COVID-19 School Closures on the Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills of Elementary School Students By ASAKAWA Shinsuke; OHTAKE Fumio
  2. The impact of the JUNTOS conditional cash transfer programme on foundational cognitive skills: Does age of enrollment matter? By Douglas Scott; Jennifer Lopez; Alan Sánchez; Jere Behrman
  3. Locus of Control and Prosocial Behavior By Mark A. Andor; James Cox; Andreas Gerster; Michael Price; Stephan Sommer; Lukas Tomberg
  4. The effects of sleep duration on child health and development By Nguyen, Ha Trong; Zubrick, Stephen R.; Mitrou, Francis
  5. Long COVID, Cognitive Impairment, and the Stalled Decline in Disability Rates By Brendan M. Price
  6. Measuring Preferences for Competition By Lina Lozano; Ernesto Reuben

  1. By: ASAKAWA Shinsuke; OHTAKE Fumio
    Abstract: This study examines the dynamic effects of school closures caused by COVID-19 on the cognitive and non-cognitive skills of fourth and fifth-grade students in Nara City, Japan. We use triannual math tests and concurrent surveys about students’ motivation to learn math. Using Event Study and Difference-in-Differences methods, we compare cohorts with and without the experience of school closure and find that it reduced cognitive skills (math scores) in the short term. But on average, the scores significantly recovered within six months of schools fully reopening. However, some students with disadvantaged living conditions during and after the closure, and some students in fourth grade, did not fully recover. We also find that non-cognitive skills (student attitudes toward proactive learning in math) were higher than in cohorts which did not experience school closure. Furthermore, the lower the students' achievements in math, the greater the impact of living conditions on students’ mathematical cognitive and non-cognitive skills.
    Date: 2022–08
  2. By: Douglas Scott (University of Oxford); Jennifer Lopez (Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE)); Alan Sánchez (Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE)); Jere Behrman (University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between the age of enrolment in Peru’s conditional cash transfer programme, JUNTOS, and the foundational cognitive skills of a sample of children aged between 5 and 12 years old. Using a difference-in-differences approach and exploiting within-household variation, we show that younger siblings in recipient households display significantly higher levels of inhibitory control than their older counterparts (0.11 standard deviations), having benefited from the programme for the first time at a relatively earlier age. In high-income countries, this behavioural trait has been linked to later-life outcomes such as job success, physical health, and even reduced risk of criminality. Conversely, we find little evidence that enrolment age is associated with long-term memory, working memory, or implicit learning. Employing a threshold estimator, we show that relative gains in inhibitory control are most clearly defined where a child benefits from the programme before they reach 80 months of age (6.7 years). In an extension to our main results, we then conduct mediation analysis, demonstrating that a small but meaningful proportion of this benefit (6.5%) operates through changes in the probability of the child’s timely entry into primary school.
    Keywords: Cognitive skills; JUNTOS; conditional cash transfer; Peru; inhibitory control
    JEL: J24 I24
    Date: 2022–09–06
  3. By: Mark A. Andor; James Cox; Andreas Gerster; Michael Price; Stephan Sommer; Lukas Tomberg
    Abstract: We investigate how locus of control beliefs – the extent to which individuals attribute control over events in their life to themselves as opposed to outside factors – affect prosocial behavior and the private provision of public goods. We begin by developing a conceptual framework showing how locus of control beliefs serve as a weight placed on the returns from one’s own contributions (impure altruism) and others contributions (pure altruism). Using multiple data sets from Germany and the U.S., we show that individuals who relate consequences to their own behavior are more likely to contribute to climate change mitigation, to donate money and in-kind gifts to charitable causes, to share money with others, to cast a vote in parliamentary elections, and to donate blood. Our results provide comprehensive evidence that locus of control beliefs affect prosocial behavior.
    JEL: D03 D12 Q48 Q50
    Date: 2022–08
  4. By: Nguyen, Ha Trong; Zubrick, Stephen R.; Mitrou, Francis
    Abstract: This paper studies the extent to which sleep duration causally affects health, cognitive and noncognitive development in children and adolescents. Using over 50 thousand time use diaries from two cohorts of Australian children spanning over 16 years, we first document that children sleep significantly less on days with longer daylight duration, partly by going to sleep later and waking up earlier. We then exploit variations in local daily daylight duration measured on predetermined diary dates across the same individuals through time as an instrument in an individual fixed effects regression model to draw causal estimates of sleep duration on a comprehensive set of child development indicators. Our results show that sleeping longer improves selected general developmental, behavioural and health outcomes in children and adolescents. By contrast, sleeping more statistically significantly increases their BMI scores, mainly by increasing the risk of being overweight. Moreover, while the impact of sleep duration on general and behavioural outcomes is more pronounced for females or older individuals, the effect on BMI is largely driven by males. The results indicate a null or relatively small positive impact of sleeping longer on cognitive skills.
    Keywords: Sleep,Time Allocation,Circadian Rhythms,Human Capital,Child Development
    JEL: I00 I12 J22 J24
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Brendan M. Price
    Abstract: Long COVID encompasses a suite of long-term symptoms that commonly include fatigue, shortness of breath, and so-called brain fog, along with many others. Individuals with long-term symptoms may be unable to work (or work full-time) as a result of their condition, and there is growing speculation that long COVID may be restraining labor supply.
    Date: 2022–08–05
  6. By: Lina Lozano; Ernesto Reuben (Division of Social Science)
    Abstract: Recent research has found that competitive behavior measured in experiments strongly predicts individual differences in educational and labor market outcomes. However, there is no consensus on the underlying factors behind competitive behavior in these experiments. Are participants who compete more capable, more confident, and more tolerant of risk, or are they competing because they enjoy competition per se? In this study, we present an experiment designed to measure individuals’ preferences for competition. Compared to previous work, our experiment rules out risk preferences by design, measures beliefs more precisely, and allows us to measure the magnitude of preferences for competition. In addition, we collect multiple decisions per participant, which lets us evaluate the impact of noisy decision-making. We find strong evidence that many individuals possess preferences for competition. Most participants are either reliably competition-seeking or competition averse, and their choices are highly consistent with expected utility maximization. We also find that preferences for competition depend on the number of competitors but not on the participants’ gender.
    Date: 2022–08

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