Influences in decision making: Three essays in behavioral economics


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PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
Influences in decision making: Three essays in behavioral economics
Wettstein Jason
Thöni Christian
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté de droit, des sciences criminelles et d'administration publique
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Chapter 1
We present two studies that elicit explict stereotypes about cooperative behavior in a laboratory setting. Like in a normal public goods game, subjects are introduced to the procedures and solve control questions. Before they actually play the public goods game, we elicit incentivized estimates about the contributions of subgroups of the population. In Study 1, we elicit gender stereotypes by asking subjects to guess the average contributions of male and female partic- ipants from a reference data set. In Study 2, we use the same design to elicit stereotypes in political orientation. We find no systematic gen- der stereotype, whereas subjects systematically overestimate contributions of the left-leaning subjects relative to the right-leaning subjects. In both studies, the distribution of the guesses are not significantly different from a normal distribution suggesting that participants do not have opposite stereotypes.
Chapter 2
I study the effect of changes in the choice architecture in charitable giving. In an online experiment with 1,338 participants, respondents decide if they want to donate a part of their experimental earnings to a charity. Subjects are presented with a list of charitable organizations to choose from. I investigate the effect of providing a short or long list of charities to participants, either directly visible or with a drop- down button, and compare donations to a control group where no list was provided. I find that providing a list increases the proportion of donors, but in contrast to previous research, attracts only small donations. The list works as a nudge to increase donations at the extensive margin, but crowds out the intrinsic motivation at the intensive margin, resulting in no systematic change on the realized level of donation. The comparison between the different list treatments enables me to investigate the underlying process in the donation decision and I find that the shift in the propensity to donate is channeled through emotions rather than by cognitive costs.
Chapter 3
Does gender equality increase or decrease gender differences in values? While some studies find that economic prosperity and more gender equality, as measured from gender differences in reproductive health, empowerment, and economic status, is associated with less gender differences in values, others find the opposite association. Us- ing the World Value Survey and the European Value Survey over a period of 35 years, with 508,707 observations, I show, first, that more gender equality and economic growth are unambiguously associated with less gender differences in life-situations as measured in the surveys. Second, the effect of the evolution of gender equality and economic growth on differences in values depends on the level of the analysis. In the cross-country analysis, I show a robust divergence of values, while on the within-country analysis, more gender equality leads to fewer differences. This puzzle is robust to additional controls like ecological stress factors and several cultural differences. The results suggest that, despite numerous claims to the opposite, the causal link between gender equality and gender differences in values is not yet well understood in the literature.
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02/06/2021 9:34
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28/06/2021 10:50
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