Fulya Ersoy
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While distance learning has become widespread, causal estimates regarding returns to effort in technology-assisted learning environments are scarce due to high attrition rates and endogeneity of effort. In this paper, I manipulate effort by randomly assigning students different numbers of lessons in a popular online language learning platform. Using administrative data from the platform and the instrumental variables strategy, I find that completing 9 Duolingo lessons, which corresponds to approximately 60 minutes of studying, leads to a 0.057-0.095 standard deviation increase in test scores. Comparisons to the literature and back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that distance learning can be as effective as in-person learning for college students for an introductory language course
John A List
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These are the slides from John A. List's keynote at the 2022 AFE conference.
Rafael Jimenez-Duran
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Social media platforms ban users and remove posts to moderate their content. This "speech policing" remains controversial because little is known about its consequences and the costs and benefits for different individuals. I conduct two field experiments on Twitter to examine the effect of moderating hate speech on user behavior and welfare. Randomly reporting posts for violating the rules against hateful conduct increases the likelihood that Twitter removes them. Reporting does not affect the activity on the platform of the posts' authors or their likelihood of reposting hate, but it does increase the activity of those attacked by the posts. These results are consistent with a model in which content moderation is a quality decision for platforms that increases user engagement and hence advertising revenue. The second experiment shows that changing users' perceived content removal does not change their willingness to pause using social media, a measure of consumer surplus. My results imply that content moderation does not necessarily moderate users, but it marginally increases advertising revenue. It can be consistent with both profit- and welfare-maximization if out-of-platform externalities are small
Uri Gneezy, Moshe Hoffman, Mark A. Lane, John A List, Jeffrey A Livingston, Michael J. Seiler
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Recent theoretical work shows that the better-than-average effect, where a majority believes their ability to be better than average, can be perfectly consistent with Bayesian updating. However, later experiments that account for this theoretical advance still find behavior consistent with overconfidence. The literature notes that overoptimism can be caused by either overconfidence (optimism about performance), wishful thinking (optimism about outcomes), or both. To test whether the better-than-average effect might be explained by wishful thinking instead of overconfidence, we conduct an experiment that is similar to those used in the overconfidence literature, but removes performance as a potential channel. We find evidence that wishful thinking might explain overconfidence only among the most optimistic subjects, and that conservatism is possibly more of a worry; if unaccounted for, overconfidence might be underestimated.
John A List
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In 2019 I put together a summary of data from my field experiments website that pertained to framed field experiments. Several people have asked me if I have update. In this document I update all figures and numbers to show the details for 2021. I also include the description from the 2019 paper below.
Greta List, John A List, Lina Ramirez, Anya Samek
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We conduct experiments with 720 children ages 9-11 to evaluate the relationship of time and risk preferences with health. Children who are more patient report consuming fewer unhealthy calories and spending less time on sedentary activities such as video games. Children who are more risk seeking report engaging in more exercise and more screen time. However, time and risk preferences are not predictive of body mass index (BMI). Moreover, some of the negative health behaviors, such as screen time, are associated with lower - rather than higher - BMI.
Eric Floyd, Michael Hallsworth, John A List, Robert D Metcalfe, Kristian Rotaru, Ivo Vlaev
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In this study, we first present a large natural field experiment that tested messages aimed at increasing tax compliance. We find that the main drivers of changes in compliance are messages describing the monitoring and enforcement behavior of the tax collector. A second natural field experiment built on the results of the first experiment to further investigate what kinds of costs resulting from tax collector oversight are salient to taxpayers. Specific time and cognitive incentives did not significantly increase payment rates, whereas stating non-specific costs of inaction did. Additional analyses suggest the increase in compliance is likely due to a 'fill in the blank' effect in which taxpayers assume the consequence is a fine. Interestingly, specifically stating maximum fine or jailtime consequences have the largest effect in a laboratory setting but only if the consequences are interpreted as realistic. Overall, our study reinforces that tax authorities can use short messages to increase tax compliance; the estimated accelerated revenue from the two field studies amounts to 9.9m GBP.
John A List
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In 2019, I put together a summary of data from my field experiments website that pertained to artefactual field experiments. Several people have asked me if I have an update. In this document I update all figures and numbers to show the details for 2021. I also include the description from the 2019 paper below.
John A List, Dana L Suskind
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Op-ed
John A List
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In 2019, I put together a summary of data from my field experiments website that pertained to natural field experiments. Several people have asked me if I have an update. In this document I update all figures and numbers to show the details for 2021. I also include the description from the 2019 paper below.
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