WORK IN PROGRESS
Arbitrage Or Narrow Bracketing?
On Using Money to Measure Discounting with James Andreoni, Mike Kuhn, Silvia Saccardo and Yang Yang
If experimental subjects arbitrage against market interest rates when making intertemporal allocations of cash, the data will reveal nothing about subjects' discounting, only uncovering subjects' market interest rates. If subjects instead frame choices narrowly, they will plan to spend cash rewards when received, implying cash has properties similar primary rewards. We test arbitrage directly by forcing all transactions with subjects to go exclusively through their financial institutions via instant electronic transfers. If subjects wish to arbitrage, this should make it as easy and salient as possible. Our evidence contradicts arbitrage, and finds evidence of present bias, supporting the view that money payments in experiments can be treated as a primary reward.
Gender differences in submission strategies? A survey of early-career economists with Katrine Thornfeld Sørensen
We investigate whether the gender gap in economic publications can be explained by different submission strategies of male and female economists. We conduct an online survey among early-career economics faculty of top 50 institutions focusing on the submission trajectories of job market papers as well as personal and institutional characteristics. Our results suggest that there are no significant differences in submission strategies for this early-career sample.
When nudges aren't enough: Incentives and habit formation in public transport usage with Linus Olsson Collentine
In three large-scale field experiments with over 32,500 individuals, we investigate whether public transport uptake can be influenced by behavioral interventions and by economic incentives. Despite their effectiveness in other domains, we find a tightly estimated zero for social norms and implementation intentions on ridership. Increasing the economic incentive significantly increases uptake and long-term usage. This increase is sustained for months after removing the incentive. The effect is mainly driven by initial low users, which is evidence for habit formation and highlights the heterogeneous effects of the policy. While there is scope for long-term behavior change, nudging might not be the right approach.
Confidence and career choices: An experiment with Kai Barron (R&R in Scandinavian Journal of Economics)
Confidence in one's own abilities is often seen as an important determinant of being successful. Empirical evidence about how such beliefs about one's own abilities causally influence choices is, however, sparse. In this paper, we use a stylized laboratory experiment to investigate the causal effect of an increase in confidence on two important choices made by workers in the labor market: (i) choosing between jobs with a payment scheme that depends heavily on ability [high earnings risk] and those that pay a fixed wage [low earnings risk], and (ii) the subsequent choice of how much effort to exert within the job. We find that an exogenous increase in confidence leads to an increase in subjects' propensity to choose payment schemes that depend heavily on ability. This is detrimental for low ability workers due to high baseline levels of confidence.
She Could Not Agree More: The Role of Failure Attribution in Shaping the Gender Gap in Competition Persistence with Manar Alnamlah
In competitive and high-reward domains such as corporate leadership and entrepreneurship, women are not only underrepresented but they are also more likely to drop-out after failure. In this study, we conducted a laboratory experiment to investigate the influence of attributing failure to one of the three causal attributions - luck, effort, and ability - on the gender difference in competition persistence. Participants compete in a real effort task and then their success or failure is attributed to one of three causal attributions. We find significant gender differences in competition persistence when failure is attributed to a lack of ability, with women dropping out more. On the contrary, when suggested that failure was due to lack of luck, women’s competition persistence after failure increases relative to men. We find no gender difference when failure is attributed to a lack of effort. Our findings have important implications for designing feedback mechanisms to reduce the gender gap in competitive domains.
Peer Evaluation in Tournaments with Martin Dufwenberg and Katja Görlitz
We want to win, but we also care about our reputation. We conduct a psychological game-theoretic analysis of the tradeoff between increasing ones chances of winning a tournament and not being identified as a cheater by fellow contestants. We extend the model by Dufwenberg & Dufwenberg (2018) on perceived cheating aversion to a multi-player setting with subjective performance evaluations. We then test the model predictions
in a lab experiment.
Nudge me! Response to and demand for healthy habit reminders with Kai Barron, Mette Trier Damgaard
An extensive literature documents that reminders can increase beneficial habits. However, little is known about whether individuals want to be reminded, and if yes, how. We focus on the demand side of reminders for beneficial habits and which components determine their effectiveness. We develop a novel theoretical model of the mechanisms of repeated reminders. We test this model in a nationwide field experiment on medication adherence with 17, 236 pregnant women in South Africa. In line with our model, our results show that pure reminders that affect attention without conveying any information or moral message have a significant positive effect on stated adherence and increase demand for more reminders. Adding an emotional trigger to the reminders, which could affect emotional utility of carrying out the behavior, also increases adherence and demand. Contrary to our model, additional health information which is intended to increase the belief about the importance of the behavior, significantly reduces adherence and demand, while having no differential effect on beliefs and knowledge.
Time preferences and medication adherence: A field experiment with pregnant women in South Africa with Kai Barron, Mette Trier Damgaard and Lisa Norrgren
The effectiveness of many health recommendations and treatment plans depends on the extent to which individuals follow them. For the individual, medication adherence involves an inter-temporal trade-off between expected future health benefits and immediate effort costs. Therefore examining time-preferences may help us to understand why some people fail to follow health recommendations and treatment plans. In this paper, we use a simple, unobtrusive real-effort task implemented via text message to elicit the time preferences of pregnant women in South Africa.
We find evidence that both our measured discount factor and time-inconsistency are predictive of self-reported adherence to the recommendation of taking iron supplements daily during pregnancy.
This suggests that patience plays a role in determining medication adherence patterns.