Matilde Giaccherini, David H Herberich, David Jimenez-Gomez, John A List, Giovanni Ponti, Michael K Price
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This paper uses a field experiment to estimate the effects of prices and social norms on the decision to adopt and efficient technology. We find that prices and social norms influence the adoption and decision along different margins: while prices operate on both the extensive and intensive margins, social norms operate mostly through the extensive margin. This has both positive and normative implications, and suggests that economics and psychology may be strong complements in the diffusion process. To complement the reduced form results, we estimate a structural model that points to important household heterogeneity: whereas some consumers welcome the opportunity to purchase and learn about the new technology, for others the inconvenience and social pressure of the ask results in negative welfare. As a whole, our findings highlight that the design of optimal technological diffusion policies will require multiple instruments and a recognition of household heterogeneity.
Marianne Bertrand, Sendhil Mullainathan
Cited by*: 20 Downloads*: 31

We perform a field experiment to measure racial discrimination in the labor market. We respond with fictitious resumes to help-wanted ads in Boston and Chicago newspapers. To manipulate perception of race, each resume is assigned either a very African American sounding name or a very White sounding name. The results show significant discrimination against African-American names: White names receive 50 percent more callbacks for interviews. We also find that race affects the benefits of a better resume. For White names, a higher quality resume elicits 30 percent more callbacks whereas for African Americans, it elicits a far smaller increase. Applicants living in better neighborhoods receive more callbacks but, interestingly, this effect does not differ by race. The amount of discrimination is uniform across occupations and industries. Federal contractors and employers who list Equal Opportunity Employer' in their ad discriminate as much as other employers. We find little evidence that our results are driven by employers inferring something other than race, such as social class, from the names. These results suggest that racial discrimination is still a prominent feature of the labor market.
Simon Gachter, Henrik Orzen, Elke Renner, Chris Starmer
Cited by*: 0 Downloads*: 87

An extensive literature demonstrates the existence of framing effects in the laboratory and in questionnaire studies. This paper reports new evidence from a natural field experiment using a subject pool one might expect to be particularly resistant to such effects: experimental economists. We find that while the behaviour of junior experimental economists is affected by the description of the decision task they face, this is not the case for the more senior members of our subject pool.
Bruno S Frey, Stephan Meier
Cited by*: 57 Downloads*: 24

Most professional economists believe that economists in general are more selfish than other people and that this increased selfishness is due to economics education. This article offers empirical evidence against this widely held belief. Using a unique data set about giving behavior in connection with two social funds at the University of Zurich, it is shown that economics education does not make people act more selfishly. Rather, this natural experiment suggests that the particular behavior of economists can be explained by a selection effect.
Tanjim Hossain, John Morgan
Cited by*: 3 Downloads*: 8

We conducted 80 auctions on eBay. Forty of these auctions were for various popular music CDs while the remaining 40 auctions were for video games for Microsoft's Xbox gaming console. The revenue equivalence theorem states that any auction form having the same effective reserve price yields the same expected revenue. The effective reserve price on eBay consists of three components: the opening bid amount, the secret reserve amount, and the shipping and handling charge to keep the overall reserve level fixed. We set no secret reserve price and varied the opening bid and the shipping and handling charge to keep the overall reserve level fixed. When the effective reserve was $4, auctions with a low opening bid and high shipping charges attracted more bidders, earlier bidding, and yielded higher revenue than those with a high opening bid and low shipping charges. The same results hold only for Xbox games under the $8 effective reserve. Unlike the other treatments, where the reserve represents less than 30% of the retail price of the item, for CDs, the $8 effective reserve represents over 50% of the retail price of the item. In this treatment, we find no systematic difference in the number of bidders attracted to the auction or revenues as a function of how the effective reserve is allocated between opening bid and shipping charges. We show that these results can be accounted for by bounded-rational bidding behavior.
Dmitry Taubinsky, Alex Rees-Jones
Cited by*: 15 Downloads*: 31

This paper shows that accounting for variation in mistakes can be crucial for welfare analysis. Focusing on consumer underreaction to not-fully-salient sales taxes, we show theoretically that the efficiency costs of taxation are amplified by 1) individual differences in under reaction and 2) the degree to which attention is increasing with the size of the tax rate. To empirically assess the importance of these issues, we implement an online shopping experiment in which 2,998 consumers-matching the U.S. adult population on key demographics-purchase common household products, facing tax rates that vary in size and salience. We find that: 1) there are significant individual differences in underreaction to taxes. Accounting for this heterogeneity increases the efficiency cost of taxation estimates by at least 200%, as compared to estimates generated from a representative agent model. 2) Tripling existing sales tax rates roughly doubles consumers' attention to taxes. Our results provide new insights into the mechanisms and determinants of boundedly rational processing of not-fully-salient incentives, and our general approach provides a framework for robust behavioral welfare analysis.
Sungwon Cho, Cannon Koo, John A List, Changwon Park , Pablo Polo, Jason F Shogren, Robert Wilhelmi
Cited by*: 18 Downloads*: 9

We evaluate the impact of three auction mechanisms - the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak mechanism, the second-price auction, and the random nth-price auction - in the measurement of willingness to pay (WTP) and willingness to accept (WTA) measures of value. Our results show that initial bidding in trial 1 in each auction does not contradict the endowment effect; but that, if it is the endowment effect that governs people's initial bidding behavior, it can be eliminated with repetitions of a second-price or random nth-price auction; and if the thesis is that the effect should persist across auctions and across trials is right, our results suggest that there is no fundamental endowment effect.
Andreas Lange, John A List, Michael K Price
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Auction theory represents one of the richest areas of research in economics over the past three decades. Yet, whether, and to what extent, the introduction of secondary resale markets influences bidding behavior in sealed bid first-price auctions remains under researched. This study begins by examining field data from a unique data set that includes nearly 3,000 auctions (over 10,000 individual bids) for cutting rights of standing timber in British Columbia from 1996-2000. In comparing bidding patterns across agents who are likely to have resale opportunities with those who likely do not, we find evidence that is consistent with theory. Critical evaluation of the reduced-form bidding model, however, reveals that sharp tests of the theoretical predictions are not possible because several other differences may exist across these bidder types. We therefore use a laboratory experiment to examine if the resale opportunity by itself can have the predicted theoretical effect. We find that while it does have the predicted effect, a theoretical model based on risk-averse bidders explains the overall data patterns more accurately than a model based on risk-neutral bidders. Beyond testing theory, the paper highlights the inferential power of combining naturally occurring data with laboratory data.
Amanda Agan, Sonja Starr
Cited by*: 22 Downloads*: 27

"Ban-the-Box" (BTB) policies restrict employers from asking about applicants' criminal histories on job applications and are often presented as a means of reducing unemployment among black men, who disproportionately have criminal records. However, withholding information about criminal records could risk encouraging statistical discrimination: employers may make assumptions about criminality based on the applicant's race (or other observable characteristics). To investigate BTB's effects, we sent approximately 15,000 fictitious online job applications to employers in New Jersey and New York City both before and after the adoption of BTB policies. These applications varied the race and felony conviction status of the applicants. We confirm that criminal records are a major barrier to employment: employers that ask about criminal records were 63% more likely to call back an applicant if he has no record. However, our results support the concern that BTB policies encourage statistical discrimination on the basis of race: we find that the race gap in callbacks grows dramatically at the BTB-affected companies after the policy goes into effect. Before BTB, white applicants to employers with the box received 7% more callbacks than similar black applicants, but BTB increases this gap to 45%.
Erwin Bulte, John A List, Qin Tu
Cited by*: 0 Downloads*: 32

A vibrant literature has emerged that explores the economic implications of the sex ratio (the ratio of men to women in the population), including changes in fertility rates, educational outcomes, labor supply, and household purchases. Previous empirical efforts, however, have paid less attention to the underlying channel via which changes in the sex ratio affect economic decisions. This study combines evidence from a field experiment and a survey to document that the sex ratio importantly influences female bargaining power: as the sex ratio increases, female bargaining power increases.