nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2023‒04‒10
five papers chosen by

  1. Who gets vaccinated? Cognitive and non-cognitive predictors of individual behavior in pandemics By Andor, Mark Andreas; Bauer, Thomas K.; Eßer, Jana; Schmidt, Christoph M.; Tomberg, Lukas
  2. Trends in Gender and Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Physical Disability and Social Support among U.S. Older Adults with Cognitive Impairment Living Alone, 2000–2018 By Chen, Shanquan; Zhang, Huanyu; Underwood, Benjamin R.; Wang, Dan; Chen, Xi; Cardinal, Rudolf N.
  3. Do Classical Studies Open Your Mind? By Brunello, Giorgio; Esposito, Piero; Rocco, Lorenzo; Scicchitano, Sergio
  4. The Role of Emotions in Public Goods Games with and without Punishment Opportunities By Charles N Noussair; Steven Tucker; Yilong Xu; Adriana Breaban
  5. Superhuman Artificial Intelligence Can Improve Human Decision Making by Increasing Novelty By Minkyu Shin; Jin Kim; Bas van Opheusden; Thomas L. Griffiths

  1. By: Andor, Mark Andreas; Bauer, Thomas K.; Eßer, Jana; Schmidt, Christoph M.; Tomberg, Lukas
    Abstract: This study investigates the different cognitive and non-cognitive characteristics associated with individuals' willingness to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and their actual vaccination status. Our empirical analysis is based on data obtained from three survey waves of about 2, 000 individuals living in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. We find that individuals with a high level of trait reactance display a significantly lower willingness to get vaccinated. They also tend to get inoculated later or never. Moreover, neuroticism, locus of control, and risk literacy appear to be associated with the willingness to get vaccinated, but these results are less pronounced and less robust. Our results indicate that vaccination campaigns and policies could be improved by specifically addressing those with a high level of trait reactance.
    Keywords: Covid-19, vaccination, psychological traits, risk literacy, health literacy
    JEL: D91 H0 I12 I18
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Chen, Shanquan (University of Cambridge); Zhang, Huanyu (Chinese University of Hong Kong); Underwood, Benjamin R. (University of Cambridge); Wang, Dan (Ontario Tech University); Chen, Xi (Yale University); Cardinal, Rudolf N. (University of Cambridge)
    Abstract: Informal care is a primary source of support for older adults with cognitive impairment but is less available to those who live alone. We leverage the U.S. Health and Retirement Survey 2000-2018 to examine trends in the prevalence of physical disability and social support among older adults with cognitive impairment living alone, and their gender and racial/ethnic disparities. Information on physical disability and social support was collected through measures of basic and instrumental activities of daily living (BADLs, IADLs). Logistic and Poisson regression were adopted to estimate linear trends over time for binary and integer outcomes, respectively. Among those who reported BADL/IADL disability, the proportion unsupported for BADLs decreased significantly over time, while the proportion unsupported for IADLs increased significantly over time. Among those who received IADL support, the number of unmet IADL support needs increased significantly over time. Over time, Black respondents had a relatively increasing trend of being BADL-unsupported, and Hispanic and Black respondents had a relatively increasing trend in the number of unmet BADL needs, compared to the corresponding trends in White respondents. Our findings may prompt customized interventions to reduce disparities and unmet support needs.
    Keywords: social support, physical disability, racial/ethnic disparity, gender disparity, cognitive impairment
    JEL: I10 J11 J14 J15 J16
    Date: 2023–03
  3. By: Brunello, Giorgio (University of Padova); Esposito, Piero (University of Cassino); Rocco, Lorenzo (University of Padova); Scicchitano, Sergio (INAPP – Institute for Public Policy Analysis)
    Abstract: We investigate whether classical studies in high school – that emphasize in Italy the study of ancient languages such as Latin and Greek - affect personality traits. Using Italian survey data, we compare individuals who did classical studies in high school with similar individuals who completed a more scientific academic curriculum. We find that having done classical studies does not affect conscientiousness and openness but increases neuroticism and self-reported unhappiness.
    Keywords: school choice, education, classical studies, Big-5, non-cognitive skills, personality traits
    JEL: I21 I26
    Date: 2023–03
  4. By: Charles N Noussair (University of Arizona); Steven Tucker (University of Waikato); Yilong Xu (Utrecht University); Adriana Breaban (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: We consider the emotional correlates of activity in the Public Good game when monetary and non-monetary punishments are available, and when no punishment is possible. In our experiment, emotions are measured using Face Reading software that tracks the emotional content of facial expressions in real time. When no punishment is possible, greater anger and more negative emotional valence correlate with learning that one has contributed more than others. Lower valence and happiness, in turn, is associated with reducing one’s cooperation in the next period. When non-monetary punishment in the form of expressed disapproval is possible, positive emotional valence is associated with cooperation, punishment of free-riders, and an increase in cooperation from one period to the next. Negative valence, on the other hand, is associated with the receipt of punishment, suggesting that the expression of disapproval inherent in the non-monetary punishment was well understood and had an effect on the emotions of the recipient. The data support the conjecture that the reinforcement that positive emotion provides is what allows non-monetary punishment to increase cooperation. In contrast, when monetary punishment is available, emotional correlates are less consistent, suggesting that monetary punishment is less reliant on emotions to be effective. Instead, it appears to increase cooperation solely by reducing the monetary incentives to free-ride.
    Keywords: Public Goods, Sanctions, Emotions
    JEL: D91 H41 C91
    Date: 2023–03–29
  5. By: Minkyu Shin; Jin Kim; Bas van Opheusden; Thomas L. Griffiths
    Abstract: How will superhuman artificial intelligence (AI) affect human decision making? And what will be the mechanisms behind this effect? We address these questions in a domain where AI already exceeds human performance, analyzing more than 5.8 million move decisions made by professional Go players over the past 71 years (1950-2021). To address the first question, we use a superhuman AI program to estimate the quality of human decisions across time, generating 58 billion counterfactual game patterns and comparing the win rates of actual human decisions with those of counterfactual AI decisions. We find that humans began to make significantly better decisions following the advent of superhuman AI. We then examine human players' strategies across time and find that novel decisions (i.e., previously unobserved moves) occurred more frequently and became associated with higher decision quality after the advent of superhuman AI. Our findings suggest that the development of superhuman AI programs may have prompted human players to break away from traditional strategies and induced them to explore novel moves, which in turn may have improved their decision-making.
    Date: 2023–03

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