Summer Term 2018

Money is more than memory

  • Date: Jul 20, 2018
  • Time: 10:00
  • Speaker: Maria Bigoni
  • University of Bologna
  • Location: MPI

How lotteries in school choice help leveling the playing field

  • Date: Jul 4, 2018
  • Time: 18:30
  • Speaker: Dorothea Kübler
  • Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB)
  • Location: MPI

Moral Values and Voting

  • Date: Jul 4, 2018
  • Time: 17:00
  • Speaker: Benjamin Enke
  • Harvard University
  • Location: MPI

The Impact of Peer Personality on Academic Achievement

  • Date: Jun 5, 2018
  • Time: 17:00
  • Speaker: Bart Golsteyn
  • Maastricht University
  • Location: MPI
Self-regulation abilities are known to be a central determinant of educational success and a wide range of other important life outcomes. We conducted a randomized-controlled trial with about 600 first graders to identify the causal effect of a targeted self-regulation training on self-regulation abilities, concentration, and educational outcomes. Results demonstrate that our self-regulation training increases long-term outcomes 12 months after treatment for attention and inhibition abilities, self-regulation behavior, as well as reading abilities. There is no treatment effect on math abilities, fluid IQ, and on one of our concentration tasks. We conclude that targeted training of self-control abilities in early years can substantially improve these self-regulation abilities in the long run, that these improvements potentially serve as a multiplier for the promotion of schooling abilities, and thus that this kind of training might be an effective tool to foster the skill formation process. [more]

The Just World at Work: Theory and a Natural Field Experiment

  • Date: May 15, 2018
  • Time: 17:00
  • Speaker: James Konow
  • University of Kiel
  • Location: MPI
Two rules have figured prominently in both the descriptive and prescriptive literatures on distributive justice, viz., equality and equity. The former refers to equal shares, whereas the latter refers to allocations that are in proportion to some variable, such as hours worked or effort. We consider the possibility that worker experience with equal or equitable compensation schemes affects their beliefs about which rule applies. We formulate a simple model of fairness preferences that incorporates the claim of the Just World Hypothesis that people are motivated to rationalize their actual rewards, that is, to adjust their beliefs about what is fair in the direction of their actual allocations. A theory is formulated in conjunction with a natural field experiment in which Ethiopian workers complete a piecemeal task over a two week period. The theory predicts that high and low productivity workers, whose beliefs are affected by their actual pay, will respond in their work effort to changes in compensation schemes depending on whether they have initially been paid equally or equitably. The results of the experiment on worker effort are consistent with the changes predicted by the theory. [more]

A meritocratic origin of egalitarian behavior

Learning from realized versus unrealized prices

  • Date: Apr 25, 2018
  • Time: 10:00
  • Speaker: Georg Weizsäcker
  • Humboldt University Berlin
  • Location: MPI

The Competitive Woman (joint work with Y. Jane Zhang)

  • Date: Apr 17, 2018
  • Time: 14:30
  • Speaker: Alessandra Cassar
  • University of San Francisco
  • Location: MPI
A large body of experimental evidence suggests that women have a lower desire to compete than men. Here, we advance the hypothesis that this gap may depend on how we elicit such preferences, as different incentives could activate competition in different spheres, depending on culture. This hypothesis is tested through a series of experiments using vouchers (in-kind restricted use of cash) in China, Colombia, Bosnia and Togo. Data on parents show that, once the incentives are switched from monetary to child-benefitting, gender differences disappear; data on young adult without children show that once cash is substituted by gender stereotypical vouchers (make-up or sporting good vouchers) gender differences decrease. Cultural elements in each society matter, as not all societies exhibit a gender gap. As expected, competitiveness is higher where resources are more scares, as among the displaced women in Colombia and the women in polygyny arrangements in Togo. These results suggest that female competitiveness can be just as intense as male competitiveness, given the right goals and considering the differential constraints that societies put on women and men, indicating important implications for policies designed to promote gender equality. [more]

Revealed Privacy Preferences: Are Privacy Choices Rational? (with Yi-Shan Lee)

  • Date: Apr 4, 2018
  • Time: 17:00
  • Speaker: Roberto Weber
  • University of Zurich
  • Location: MPI
The development of effective privacy policies rests critically on the question of whether people are capable of engaging in rational tradeoffs regarding the use of their personal information. This study investigates the extent to which people's decisions in this domain exhibit consistency with an underlying rational preference for privacy. We develop a novel experiment in which people allocate privacy levels between different personal information items, allowing us to classify people depending on whether their choices are consistent with the Generalized Axiom of Revealed Preference. We find 63 percent of subjects act consistently with a rational preference ordering when allocating privacy levels, despite the substantial heterogeneity of privacy attitudes. We further investigate the extent to which these revealed privacy preferences can be measured by monetary equivalents and whether preferences elicited over choices in our experiment have any predictive power for explaining real-world privacy behavior. We find that the classification of rationality from choices is also predictive of monetary tradeoffs: irrational types, on average, squander 260 percent more money than rational types through inconsistencies in their monetary valuations. Despite the presence of noise, monetary valuations nevertheless capture some of the underlying privacy preferences, as more private types require significantly more compensation for sharing personal data. Finally, the measures of privacy preferences elicited in the laboratory are correlated with a widely-used question eliciting self-reported privacy concerns and with behavioral outcomes in real-world domains of personal information sharing. We conclude that, despite the fact that we study choices in a fairly simple decision environment, there is considerable heterogeneity in rationality that should be considered when designing future privacy policies. [more]
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