Todd Cherry, John A List
Cited by*: 7 Downloads*: 3

This paper uses county-level panel data to test the appropriateness of the 'one size fits all' reduced-form regression approach commonly used when estimating the economic model of crime. Empirical results provide initial evidence that previous studies, which restrict deterrent effects to have identical impacts across crime types, may be presenting statistically biased results.
Tova Levin, Steven D Levitt, John A List
Cited by*: 0 Downloads*: 37

The wealthiest 10% of donors now give 90% of charitable dollars in the U.S., but little is known about what motivates them. This study uses a natural field experiment, tracking over five thousand high capacity donors, to lend preliminary insights into the world of high capacity givers. On some dimensions, high capacity donors mirror modal donors: there is persistence in giving patterns, signals of program quality influence giving, and the price of giving is not unduly important. Unlike typical small donors, the givers in our data respond only on the intensive margin, and often with a longer time lag. Our study highlights the value to practitioners of partnering with academics, as our intervention has generated $30 million in incremental donations to the University.
Loukas Balafoutas, Nikos Nikiforakis, Bettina Rockenbach
Cited by*: 0 Downloads*: None

The degree of human cooperation among strangers is a major evolutionary puzzle. A prominent explanation is that cooperation maintained because many individuals have a predisposition to punish those violating group-beneficial norms. A critical condition for cooperation to evolve in evolutionary models is that punishment increases with the severity of the violation. Here we present evidence from a field experiment with real-life interactions that, unlike in lab experiments, altruistic punishment does not increase with the severity of the violation, regardless of whether it is direct (confronting a violator) or indirect (withholding help). We also document growing concerns for counter-punishment as the severity of the violation increases, indicating that the marginal cost of direct punishment increases with the severity of violations. The evidence suggests that altruistic punishment may not provide appropriate incentives to deter large violations. Our findings thus offer a rationale for the emergence of formal institutions for prompting large-scale cooperation among strangers.
Anne Alexander , Ralph d'Arge , John A List, Michael Margolis
Cited by*: 0 Downloads*: 6

The goal of this paper is to provide an investigation of several approaches to valuing ecosystem services and to contribute additional techniques which may be used in evaluating 'green' GDP accounts. Our estimates focus on the ecosystem as a productive economic input, not a stock which is depreciated or depleted over time; as such, it differs with other concepts more frequently employed in green GDP accounting. Most of our results are derived from the analytical fiction that a single owner of the biosphere establishes a market for all ecological resources. This monopolist then appropriates all rents from the human population. The maximum amount the monopolist charges is first assumed to be world gross product less the global human subsistence level. In addition, we examine the excess rents available in factor markets using the assumption of weak complementarity between factor inputs and ecosystem services. We also provide more conservative estimates of the value of ecosystem services by investigating the sustainable price the monopolist could charge the global population and by exploring the effects of compensating wage differentials and a non-monopolist owner of the ecosystem.
John A List, Daniel L Millimet
Cited by*: 3 Downloads*: 6

Devolution of tasks to local levels of government has recently become a popular agenda item within certain political factions in the US. While one expects the local policymaker to tailor policies to match the preferences of his constituents, critics of local policymaking claim that externalities are ignored and inefficiencies thus arise under local control of certain policies. A primary example concerns the control of pollution, which is known to have adverse effects on neighbouring jurisdictions. Whether localities actually 'race to the bottom' and enact lax environmental policies when given the chance remains an open issue. In this study, we make use of stochastic dominance tests to examine if President Reagan's policy of 'New Federalism' in the early 1980s induced states to lower environmental standards. Among the several environmental measures analysed, we do not find any evidence that the 'race to the bottom' materialized. Indeed, the evidence shows that even during these lean years of federal intervention several indicators of environmental quality at the state level continued to improve.
Gerald Pruckner, Rupert Sausgruber
Cited by*: 1 Downloads*: 48

A publisher uses an honor-system for selling a newspaper in the street. The customers make payments into a cash-box, but can also just take the paper without paying. Payments are not monitored and highly anonymous; hence customers exhibit trustworthiness if they pay for the paper. We run a natural field experiment to identify motives behind payments. The experiment reveals that trustworthiness is based on a social rather than a legal norm. Additional survey questions serve to identify individual-specific components of trustworthiness. We find effects of gender, age, family status, church attendance, measures of reciprocity, social connectedness, and social risk.
Nick Drydakis
Cited by*: 0 Downloads*: 12

A field experiment was contacted in order to unbiased test whether female ethnic minorities; Albanians, face housing discrimination by owners when they seek to rent a unit in Greece three years after the national adoption of the European anti-discrimination legislation. Replicated the commonest process to rent a unit in Greece; telephone contact, we investigated a big sample represented by 122 areas. Rationally classified them in three status groups, according to their average rent levels, we found that discrimination increased monotonically with areas' status. The estimated probability of Albanians to receive an invitation to investigate a unit was lower by 0.231 in low status areas, followed by 0.324 in medium status areas, and by 0.419 in high status areas than that of Greeks. Adjusted for intra-class correlation the estimated differentials were found to be statistically significant. Similarly, we estimated an insignificant rent penalty against Albanians of 0.010 in low status areas, and significant penalties of 0.015 in medium status areas and of 0.023 in high status areas against Albanians. Consequently, a taste and/or statistical discrimination implied against Albanian seekers. Interestingly, the study enabled to estimate further that good rental housings are in significant degree unavailable to Albanians restricted their freedom in selecting a place to live. Specifically, Albanian seekers faced significantly less probabilities to investigate newer, busheled and units placed in floor than Greeks. Whilst, Albanians in order to have access to good units they had to pay more than Greeks. Finally, we estimated that female owners practiced significantly more availability constraints to Albanians than male owners. The current research contributes to two areas that have attracted scarce research attention in Greece: the experimental investigation of housing discrimination and discrimination by ethnicity. The results of this study have implications for understanding some of the enduring patterns of ethnic discrimination in the housing market.
Luigi Butera, John A List
Cited by*: 1 Downloads*: 355

Novel empirical insights by their very nature tend to be unanticipated, and in some cases at odds with the current state of knowledge on the topic. The mechanics of statistical inference suggest that such initial findings, even when robust and statistically significant within the study, should not appreciably move priors about the phenomenon under investigation. Yet, a few well-conceived independent replications dramatically improve the reliability of novel findings. Nevertheless, the incentives to replicate are seldom in place in the sciences, especially within the social sciences. We propose a simple incentive-compatible mechanism to promote replications, and use experimental economics to highlight our approach. We begin by reporting results from an experiment in which we investigate how cooperation in allocation games is affected by the presence of Knightian uncertainty (ambiguity), a pervasive and yet unexplored characteristic of most public goods. Unexpectedly, we find that adding uncertainty enhances cooperation. This surprising result serves as a test case for our mechanism: instead of sending this paper to a peer-reviewed journal, we make it available online as a working paper, but we commit never to submit it to a journal for publication. We instead offered co-authorship for a second, yet to be written, paper to other scholars willing to independently replicate our study. That second paper will reference this working paper, will include all replications, and will be submitted to a peer- reviewed journal for publication. Our mechanism allows mutually-beneficial gains from trade between the original investigators and other scholars, alleviates the publication bias problem that often surrounds novel experimental results, and accelerates the advancement of economic science by leveraging the mechanics of statistical inference.
Michael J. Seiler, Eric Walden
Cited by*: 0 Downloads*: 0

This study examines strategic mortgage default on a neurological level. Specifically, we test two mainstream behavioral finance/economic theories: sunk cost fallacy and cognitive dissonance. Using fMRI technology, we identify a number of substrates within the brain that provide a neurobiological explanation for why some homeowners exercise their mortgage put option while others do not. We find that borrowers rationally do not suffer from the sunk cost fallacy as it relates to strategic default in that stye significantly prioritize their negative equity position over the amount of their initial down payment. We do, however, find neurological support that cognitive dissonance is relevant in homeowners' thought processes as they toil with the hesitancy brought on by the belief that strategic default is immortal against strong financial incentive to walk away from a substantially underwater mortgage.
Greer K Gosnell, John A List, Robert D Metcalfe
Cited by*: 8 Downloads*: 42

Understanding motivations in the workplace remains of utmost import as economies around the world rely on increases in labor productivity to foster sustainable economic growth. This study makes use of a unique opportunity to "look under the hood" of an organization that critically relies on worker effort and performance. By partnering with Virgin Atlantic Airways on a field experiment that includes over 40,000 unique flights covering an eight-month period, we explore how information and incentives affect captains' performance. Making use of more than 110,000 captain-level observations, we find that our set of treatments-which include performance information, personal targets, and prosocial incentives-induces captains to improve efficiency in all three key flight areas: pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight. We estimate that our treatments saved between 266,000-704,000 kg of fuel for the airline over the eight-month experimental period. These savings led to between 838,000-2.22 million kg of CO2 abated at a marginal abatement cost of negative $250 per ton of CO2 (i.e. a $250 savings per ton abated) over the eight-month experimental period. Methodologically, our approach highlights the potential usefulness of moving beyond an experimental design that focuses on short-run substitution effects, and it also suggests a new way to combat firm-level externalities: target workers rather than the firm as a whole.