Forschung


Drittmittelprojekte

Kurzbeschreibung

In Deutschland sind aktuell schätzungsweise 6,7 Millionen Erwachsene von Diabetes betroffen. Grund für eine Erkrankung an Typ-2-Diabetes kann eine genetische Veranlagung sein, aber auch Risikofaktoren der Lebensgewohnheiten wie Bewegungsmangel. Bislang gibt es allerdings keine gesicherten Daten darüber, wie Bewegung oder ein Mangel daran auf diagnostizierte oder unerkannte Diabetes einwirkt. Hier setzt das Verbundprojekt ActiVAtE („Activity Tracking Data to Understand Volition, Attrition and Engagement towards Healthy Behaviors in Diabetic Patients and Controls”) unter der Leitung der Universität Vechta an: Mittels des Gebrauchs von Fitnessarmbändern soll eine Datenbasis geschaffen werden, die interdisziplinär und für weitere Forschungsfragen genutzt werden kann.

ActiVAtE verwendet standardisierte und kalibrierte Fitnessarmbänder in Verbindung mit einer Smartphone-App. So wird die Aktivität der Proband*innen gemessen und Trainingsunterstützung gegeben. „Wir erhalten so verhaltensbezogene Daten, die unmittelbar im Moment des Entstehens erfasst werden“, erläutert Projektleiterin Prof.in Dr.in Vanessa Mertins. „Dadurch wird es möglich, gezielt und individuell Unterstützungen wie beispielsweise Erinnerungen und Rückmeldungen zum Bewegungsverhalten zu geben. Außerdem werden wir umfangreiche Befragungen durchführen.“ Um die so erzeugten großen Datenmengen analysieren zu können, werden spezifische Big Data-Ansätze verwendet. Fragestellungen, die dabei ebenfalls behandelt werden, betreffen die Tauglichkeit von Fitnessarmbändern zur objektiven Langzeitmessung von körperlicher Aktivität, die Frage, ob Lifestyle-Veränderungen bei (Prä-)Diabetikern durch den Einsatz von Fitnessarmbändern gefördert werden können oder welche Interventionen bei welchen Probandengruppen positive Effekte hervorrufen. Das Projekt wird im 4. Quartal 2019 starten und nach einer einjährigen begleitenden Datenerhebung der körperlichen Aktivität von Proband*innen 2021 erste Ergebnisse aufweisen können.

Das Forschungsprojekt wird im Rahmen der Ausschreibung „Big Data in den Lebenswissenschaften der Zukunft“ vom Niedersächsischen Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur und die VolkswagenStiftung für drei Jahre mit 1.192.231 Euro gefördert.

 

Koordinatoren

Prof. Dr. Vanessa Mertins

Beteiligte Universitäten

Universität Vechta

Kurzbeschreibung

Die aktuelle Forschung untersucht die Bedingungen, unter denen monetäre Anreize Menschen helfen können, gesündere Entscheidungen zu treffen und ihre persönlichen Ziele zu erreichen. Ausgangspunkt unserer Analyse bildet die Existenz eines Planungs-Umsetzungs-Defizits: Personen weisen bei Planungsentscheidungen eine hohe Sensitivität gegenüber seltenen Ereignissen auf, aber in ihren Umsetzungsscheidungen spiegelt sich eine Verzerrung ins Gegenteil wider: Die Untergewichtung seltener Ereignisse deutet auf eine Abhängigkeit von nur wenigen Vergangenheitsbeobachtungen hin. Beispielsweise planen Personen die Aufnahme einer sportlichen Aktivität, die ihre Gesundheit fördern und ihnen zugleich Spaß machen soll, aber schon wenige Fehlschläge beim Versuch, dieses wichtige Ziel zu erreichen, führen zur Nicht-Umsetzung.

In der vorliegenden Analyse werden zwei negative Implikationen und eine positive des Planungs-Umsetzungs-Defizits beleuchtet. Die negativen Implikationen resultieren aus der Tendenz, sich auf kleine Erfahrungsstichproben aus der Vergangenheit zu stützen. Diese Tendenz impliziert eine sinkende Effektivität monetärer Anreize, wenn das Ergebnis des gewünschten Verhaltens nur schwer zu erkennen ist und die Wirkung von monetären Anreizen mit Ablauf der Intervention deutlich nachlässt. Die positive Implikation beinhaltet die Möglichkeit, kosteneffektive Bindungsmechanismen zu gestalten. Wenn Personen seltene Ereignisse besonders stark in Planungsentscheidungen berücksichtigen, dann sollte es möglich sein, ein Bindungsinstrument basierend auf wiederholten Wetten zu entwickeln, das sie gerne nutzen, um ihren ursprünglichen Plan umzusetzen.

Das geplante Forschungsprojekt soll das Potential solcher wiederholter Wetten in einem kontrollierten Laborexperiment und drei Interventionsstudien im Feld aufdecken. Die Effektivität des wiederholten Wettens wird in allen vier Studien verglichen mit Bonuszahlungen und einmaligen

 

Koordinatoren

Prof. Dr. Vanessa Mertins, Prof. Dr. Ido Erev

Beteiligte Universitäten

Universität Vechta, Technion Haifa (Isreal)

Kurzbeschreibung

Ziel des Projektes ist die Schaffung einer digitalen Innovationskultur in Kommunen im Nordseeraum Europas. LIKE! wird zu 50 Prozent aus dem Europäischen Fond für regionale Entwicklung finanziert.

Die Projektpartner sind die Universität Vechta, die Stadt Rotterdam und die Provinz Drenthe in den Niederlanden, die Kommune Aalborg in Dänemark, der Angus Council in Schottland, der Suffolk County Council in England und die Stadt Roeselare in Belgien. Die Leitung des Projektes liegt bei der Stadt Groningen.

Die Beteiligten Institutionen tauschen ihr Wissen aus und entwickeln gemeinsam innovative Anwendungen, die bei allen beteiligten Kommunen eingeführt werden können.

Mehr InformationOpens external link in new window hier (Stadt Vechta) und Opens external link in new windowhier (EU-Seite LIKE!)

 

Koordinatoren

Stadt Groningen

Beteiligte Universitäten

Universität Vechta 

Forschungsprojekte

Abstract

Since many people are conditionally cooperative, the efficient provision of public goods depends on successful coordination in groups. In this paper, we experimentally study the effectiveness of simple recommendations by a leader and the additional impact of either leading by example or punishment. We find similar levels of contributions of cheap talk recommendations and leading by example. We find no additional effect of leading by example even though we observe a particularly strong correlation between leaders and follower investments in this case. Leaders are just too cautious. The additional punishment option increases contributions significantly. In this context, the size of punishment has a positive impact on subsequent contributions. As an orthogonal treatment dimension, we replicate the treatments with reduced information about individual contributions of group members. While we observe no significant differences in all other treatments, contributions decline by one-third in the punishment treatment. Hence, we show that leadership based on sanctions leads to an efficient provision of public goods but only if individual actions are being observable.

 

Keywords

Cooperation, leadership, limited information, public goods, punishment

Abstract

In our project, we want to examine the immediate and the long-term effects of low monetary incentives ("micro-incentives") and how to optimize their usage. The goal is to help people to make healthier choices and to reach their personal goals more easily, which could lead to positive effects for the society. Recent research has shown mixed results for the use of monetary incentives to motivate people towards choosing a healthier behavior and accomplishing their personal goals. In this regard, first studies presented results, which showed that it is possible to increase gym visits among college students by paying them. However, other studies show limited effects of incentives on quitting smoking or reaching weight goals. The research of human decision making shows a large gap between planning and ongoing decisions. When people try to plan a certain behavior or actions, they tend to exhibit high sensitivity towards the failure of steps towards such actions or behavior/low probability events. The underweighting of those rare events indicates a dependency on just a few past observations. For example, people plan to start a physical activity that promotes their health and is fun at the same time. However, even a few failures in trying to achieve those important goals, leads to no realization. If individuals are particularly sensitive to rare events in planning their decisions, then it should be possible to develop a binding tool based on repeated bets which they would like to use to implement their original plan. We have translated these theoretical considerations into a concrete incentive mechanism. Now we would like to evaluate the potential of repeated bets against oneself in an intervention study under natural conditions. This mechanism can be used to promote any activity where people want to reach a goal but since fail the realization of those goals (Using stairway instead of an elevator, visiting the gym, drinking less alcohol or just eating more vegetables). We assume that repeated low-value betting is, compared with other forms of incentives, the most effective (monetary) incentive tool. Ideally, it can support itself, even during long-term periods, while reliably delivering the desired positive behavioral changes.

 

Keywords

commitment device, betting, healthy behavior, micro-incentives 

Abstract

In this project we contribute to the question how  to motivate young citizens to accept responsibility for older citizens and to offer help reliably and on a regular basis. In a field experiment a repeated betting commitment deivce and further micro monetary  incentives/commitment devices were randomly assigned to student peer tutors who support the learning process of over 50 year old participants of a 10-week smartphone course. We measure the impact of the different motivation instruments on the interaction intensity between student mentors and senior mentees and older participants changes in smartphone competences.

Keywords

intergenerational cooperation. volunteering, monetary incentives, commitment device, information and communication technologies, older adults

It wasn't me- unfair decision making and not standing up for it Robert Gillenkirch, Torben Kölpin, Vanessa Mertins

Abstract

By conducting a laboratory experiment, we test the hypothesis that not only the actual but even the perceived role in outcome generation plays an important role in decision making. For this purpose, decision-makers could either make an allocation which favors themselves or the other party. Afterwards, they could reduce the own perceived responsi-bility in outcome generation by telling recipients falsely that the allocation was made by a die. We observe indeed that a large share of individuals chooses an unfair allocation which favors themselves, however, they are not standing up for it. Finally, analyses of gender dif-ferences reveal that women are more likely to reduce their perceived role in payoff gener-ation by posting that the die has made the allocation. 

Keywords

Lying, Responsibility, Decision-making, Dictator-game, Gender differences

Overcoming peer pressure to drink Manuel Hoffmann, Bernd Josef Leisen, Vanessa Mertins

Abstract

Excessive alcohol consumption imposes large costs to society. Already a one-time drinking episode can increase the probability of a variety of harmful events, ranging from serious physical injuries or traffic accidents to vandalism. Nevertheless, alcohol consumption is socially desirable in many situations and previous studies show that individuals even feel pressured to adapt their alcohol consumption to the perceived social drinking norm of their peers. In order to design effective interventions to overcome peer pressure to drink, a crucial first step is to align interventions to a general prevention approach. Should the intervention aim to correct misperceptions of one's own and group-related alcohol consumption, strengthen the individual to resist peer pressure or reduce peer pressure of the whole group? Motivated by a theoretical economic framework of social interactions, we conducted a series of field experiments with endogenously formed peer groups in night club settings (student party, discotheque and bar) to test the effectiveness of these three general prevention approaches. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study aiming to mitigate peer pressure and influence perceived drinking norms while groups actively consume alcohol.

So far 414 subjects participated via 144 groups in our experiment in which each member of a peer group answered a short questionnaire, estimated their own and their peer group’s current alcohol level, performed a cognitive and a motor skill test and conducted a breath alcohol test on arrival and before leaving. Immediately after the first alcohol measurement we randomly assigned each group to one of four conditions to assess how their actual alcohol level and the accuracy of the alcohol level estimates change over time. 

To demonstrate that individuals adapt their drinking behaviour to the average group alcohol level and thus feel peer pressure, we supplied some groups with feedback about their members alcohol level rank and their own rank while other groups randomly did not receive such a feedback. In line with our predictions, we find evidence that individuals with initially high alcohol levels within their groups reduce the growth of their alcohol levels. To examine whether it is effective to strengthen a group member to resist peer pressure or focus on reducing peer pressure at the group level, we introduce a bonus payment to a randomly selected peer that is below the average of its peers at the end. Either a single group member was selected immediately after the first alcohol measurement (ex-ante selection), or the entire group was informed that a random group member is selected after the last alcohol measurement (ex-post selection). We find suggestive evidence that ex-ante and ex-post selected individuals with high initial alcohol levels reduce their growth of alcohol level.

Preliminary results suggest that peer pressure to drink exist since individuals above (below) the average might feel pressured to reduce (increase) their consumption. Both ex-ante and ex-post incentives indicate a preventive effect on groups and individuals that arrive highly alcoholised.

 

Keywords

Alcohol Prevention, Field Experiment, Peer Pressure, Drinking Norms, Live Feedback

Abstract

Leadership is closely linked to acceptance of responsibility and decision-making for others. This involves that decision-makers may consider the consequences of available options for both, their own welfare and others’. In this context, several experimental studies have investigated gender differences in risky decision-making and suggest that men are more willing to be a decision-maker than women are. In these studies, the choice to decline decision-making power has neither a positive nor a negative consequence for the participant. Real world settings, however, are usually characterized by leadership involving at least some positive monetary outcome. The aim of our studies is to investigate whether women are not only less willing than men to accept leadership responsibility, but whether they are more likely to choose not to be a decision maker even if this choice involves monetary consequences. We conducted a laboratory experiment to analyze gender differences in the willingness-to-accept (WTA) to make risky decision for a group. Pretest results show differences between males and females. Women show a higher WTA than men, furthermore, women are less willing to make the group decision compared to men.

 

Keywords

Gender differences, Group decision-making, Risk, Leadership

Abstract

In case of massive migration inflows, the integration of immigrants requires not only the provision of public services but also the contribution of the host country’s society. Given that only a limited number of individuals is willing to engage actively but most people are homines reciprocans, we examine the idea that the population’s willingness to support refugees increases as a reciprocal response to refugees’ contributions to society in the form of volunteer activities. By implementing a treatment intervention within a nationwide survey in Germany (N=1637) on the European migrant crisis beginning in 2015, we find that the willingness to support newcomers personally and financially indeed rises significantly. Importantly, this result also holds for a subgroup which is vital for the overall integration process: those who have not been in contact to refugees before. To observe not only a change in stated preferences but also in actual behavior, we conducted two additional experiments on a smaller scale ―which both confirm our findings.

Keywords

Gift-exchange, reciprocity, refugees, integration 

Abstract

Although several recruiting campaigns have been initiated to attract more men for early education to supply the increasing demand for childcare, the proportion of men remains low. We conducted two field experiments to test for gender-based discrimination in the childcare market. 

In experiment 1, we sent applications for 626 private childcare jobs throughout Germany and investigate whether men benefit from an apprenticeship, parent recommendations or own parenthood. Applications by men, independent of occupational benefits, received significantly fewer responses, fewer positive messages and fewer opportunities to get in contact with parents than female counterparts without any occupational information. Our data suggest that parents seem to have a distinct preference for female helpers and the anticipation thereof by prospective male child care workers may constitute a major obstacle for self-selection into private childcare markets. 

In experiment 2, we adjusted the design to the professional center-based childcare market and varied the applicants’ gender and apprenticeship (social assistant and educator). In line with previous findings showing a non-existence of minority discrimination in labor markets with excess demand, our (very preliminary) results based on 525 matched applications display no gender-based discrimination. The strikingly high response rates express employers’ high effort to challenge the skill shortage in the childcare market. 

 

Keywords

childcare, discrimination, gender

Abstract

Der Zugang zu einer eigenen Wohnung, stellt genauso wie der Aufbau sozialer Kontakte und die Aufnahme einer Beschäftigung ein wichtiges Ziel im Integrationsprozess Zugewanderter dar. Der hohe Anteil Geflüchteter (mehr als die Hälfte) an den erfassten Wohnungslosen in Deutschland signalisiert jedoch erhebliche Zugangsbarrieren am privaten Wohnungsmarkt. Diskriminierungspraktiken von Vermietern privater Wohnung können einen Teil dieses Zugangsproblems darstellen und eine Gefahr für das Integrationsziel „eigene Wohnung“ bedeuten. Ausgehend von dieser Problematik wird im vorliegenden Beitrag der aktuelle Forschungsstand zur Diskriminierung Zugewanderter am Mietwohnungsmarkt und potentiell integrationsförderliche Faktoren aus den Bereichen Arbeit und Soziales Umfeld aufgearbeitet und durch die Ergebnisse einer eigenen empirischen Erhebung am deutschen Mietwohnungsmarkt für die Zielgruppe Geflüchteter komplettiert. Mit der Erhebung werden zwei wie folgt motivierte Ziele verfolgt:

1 . Untersuchung der Art und des Ausmaßes möglicher Diskriminierungen Geflüchteter am deutschen Mietwohnungsmarkt Mehrere Studien finden empirische Evidenz für die Benachteiligung von Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund am Wohnungsmarkt. Systematische Unterschiede in den bürgerlichen Einstellungen gegenüber Geflüchteten und Immigranten allgemein, stellen ihre externe Validität für die Geflüchteten als spezielle Zuwanderungsgruppe jedoch in Frage. 

2. Evaluation der Integrationspotentiale von unterschiedlichen Beschäftigungsarten und sozialen Kontakten

Die Angabe einer Festanstellung wurde in verschiedenen Studien ein positiver Einfluss zugewiesen. Sie ist jedoch für viele Geflüchtete als auch arbeitssuchende Einheimische kurzfristig nicht zu erreichen. Verschiedene Studien stellen einen positiven Einfluss von Immigrant Volunteering und sozialem Kapital von Zuwanderern auf andere Integrationsbereiche (Soziale Integration, Arbeitsmarktintegration) fest. Entsprechende Ergebnisse für den Wohnungsmarkt fehlen.

Im Rahmen der eigenen empirischen Erhebung haben wir acht fiktive Wohnungsinteressentenprofile, vier mit typischen syrischen Namen sowie zusätzlicher Nennung des Fluchthintergrundes und vier mit typischen deutschen Namen sich auf Mietwohnungsanzeigen einer großen An- und Verkaufsseite im Internet bewerben lassen. Bei den Anschreiben wurde der Beschäftigungsstatus (Arbeitssuchend, Festanstellung, Bundesfreiwilligendienst, gemeinnützige Arbeitsgelegenheit) variiert und alle weiteren relevanten Eigenschaften (z. B. verfügbares Budget, Alter, Geschlecht, Beziehungsstatus) konstant gehalten. Ein Teil der Anschreiben Geflüchteter wurde aus der Perspektive einheimischer Unterstützer*innen versendet.

Die Ergebnisse machen eine deutlich nachteilige Behandlung syrischer Geflüchteter am deutschen Mietwohnungsmarkt sichtbar. Unabhängig vom Berufsstatus erhielten sie signifikant weniger Antworten, positiven Antworten und Besichtigungsmöglichkeiten verglichen mit deutschen Wohnungsinteressenten. Weiterhin legen die Ergebnisse nahe, dass der Übergang arbeitssuchender Geflüchteter in eine feste, reguläre Beschäftigung auch die Chancen die am Mietwohnungsmarkt verbessert. Ein leichtes, jedoch nicht signifikantes Plus an Antworten, positiven Rückmeldungen und Besichtigungsmöglichkeiten gegenüber arbeitssuchenden Geflüchteten weisen auch die Ergebnisse für geflüchtete Wohnungsinteressenten im Bundesfreiwilligendienst aus. Trotz der ähnliche Tätigkeitsinhalte reagierten Vermieter mit signifikant mehr positiven Antworten auf Anfragen von Wohnungsinteressenten im Bundesfreiwilligendienst als auf Anfragen Tätiger in gemeinnützigen Arbeitsgelegenheiten. Neben dem gemeinnützigen Tätigkeitsinhalt scheinen Vermieter auch die Freiwilligkeit der Tätigkeit bei der Auswahl geeigneter Mieter zu berücksichtigen. Ob die Kontaktaufnahme zu Vermietern über Geflüchtete selbst oder einen einheimischen Unterstützer vorteilhafter ist, hängt von der Konstellation aus Beschäftigung des Geflüchteten und dem Geschlecht der unterstützenden Person ab. Ist der Geflüchtete Wohnungsinteressent arbeitssuchend und wird von einer weiblichen Helferin unterstützt, finden wir höhere Antwortraten verglichen zu Interessenten ohne Helfer. Im Falle einer festen, regulären Beschäftigung stellen wir eine stark negative Wirkung der Kontaktanbahnung durch männliche einheimische Helfer auf das Antwortverhalten von Vermietern fest. Die positive Wirkung der Festanstellung wird hierdurch konterkariert.

 

Keywords

refugees; integration; discrimination; housing market; volunteering program; labor market integration; social contact.

Abstract

Although prosocial activities yield positive returns due to indirect reciprocity in form of public recognition, reputation and appreciation by others, the altruistic motivation behind the engagement may matter more than the actual activity itself. To empirically test if the active decision into a charitable engagement matters for positive indirect reciprocity, we conducted a natural field experiment measuring landlords’ behavior in the German Housing market with two real prosocial alternatives to regular employment, namely engaging in the public volunteering service (PVS) or engaging in a direct employment program (DEP). Although both alternatives contain very similar work settings, PVS is voluntarily and DEP is often advised by the employment agency. By creating four identical fictitious applicants who only differed in their occupation status, in fact job seeking, permanent employed, PVS, DEP and measuring the response behavior of landlords, we are able to empirically investigate employment status discrimination and test for differences if a prosocial engagement was self-chosen or advised.

Analyzing the results, we find clear occupational-driven effects. Applicants with a permanent employment get the most and most promising answer from landlords whereas job seekers the least ones. Compared to job seekers, PVS applicants receive on average 16.89 (p = 0.001) percentage points more responses of landlords whereas applicants doing prosocial activities as part of DEP receive on average 11.18 (p = 0.001) percentage points less responses from landlords. The effects stay statistically and economically the same for the response categories ‘further contact’ and ‘visitation opportunity’. Although both social activities are charitable and contain similar prospects, the results indicate that it matters for landlords’ recognition that the activity is self-chosen instead of advised. Furthermore, we find no significant difference between PVS and permanent employed applicants in visitation opportunities which indicates that unemployed individuals can avoid disadvantages thereof on the housing market by engaging in PVS activities compared to regular occupations. 

In a second wave, we conducted another field experiment at the rental housing market that allows us to compare the response rates of self-chosen and advised selection within each prosocial alternative (PVS, DEP). In line with the first waves’ results we find significant better response outcomes for applicants that mentioned a voluntary participation in PVS respectively DEP compared to their counterparts that participate on advice.

The results do not only show job-related discrimination on the housing market and provide evidence for future labor market policies and anti-discrimination laws, they also show that the prosocial intention matters for indirect positive reciprocity in the field. 

 

Keywords

discrimination, field experiment, housing market, indirect reciprocity, labor market program, unemployment, prosocial intentions.

Abstract

While the sharing economy is growing rapidly, research is lagging behind. As the meta-defining key factor, many scholars accredit trust as the currency of the sharing economy. In this paper, we test in the emerging ride-share market characterized by comparably high levels of risk and uncertainty about the provided service, for varying factors driving trust using a factorial design experiment (1875 completed surveys). We create car sharing ads and vary drivers’ gender, age, relationship status, driving safety and the number of passengers. By letting the participants rate driver’s purchase intention, maximum willingness to pay and trustworthiness we are able to shed causal light into mediating factors that drive perceived trustworthiness. Contrary to previous findings, our results indicate that females drivers are clearly favored compared to their male counterparts in the ride-sharing market. The effect is mainly driven by the higher rated trustworthiness of female drivers.

 

Keywords

trust, ride sharing, discrimination, gender. 

Abstract

Although short-term or ‘episodic’ volunteers are a critical resource for non-profit organizations, little is known about how to properly motivate them. For a charity event, a non-profit organization asked volunteers to produce handmade greeting cards as selling goods. By running a field experiment, we study the effect of motivating these volunteers through (a) the opportunity to vote on the donation usage and (b) the prospect of individual performance feedback. We find an economically and statistically significant positive effect of both tools on the quantity of work done, while the quality is mostly unaffected. Moreover, we observe significant gender differences in responsiveness to the treatments. While prospect for feedback highly motivates men, women respond strongly to increased responsibility.

Keywords

Feedback, Field Experiment, Motivation, Responsibility, Volunteering. 

Publikationen

Abstract

By conducting a natural field experiment, we analyze the managerial policy of delegating the wage choice to employees. We find that this policy enhances performance significantly, which is remarkable since allocated wage premiums of the same size have no effect at all. Observed self‐imposed wage restraints and absence of negative peer effects speak in favor of wage delegation, although the chosen wage premium levels severely dampen its net value. Additional experimental and survey data provide important insights into employees' underlying motivations.

 

Keywords

Field experiment, Delegation, Reciprocity, Responsibility alleviation, Compensation, Worker empowerment, Workplace democracy

 

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Abstract

We present experimental evidence on the influence of emotions on litigation. Our experiment compares the impact of an intentional taking of points, resulting in an unfair outcome, to that of an exogenous taking. The intentional taking induces negative emotions (e.g., anger), but this emotional arousal does not influence litigant behavior in terms of either filing a case or spending litigation effort. Our observation is independent of litigation being a one-staged or a (possibly) two-staged contest (i.e., one with an an appeal).

Abstract

The paper studies an experimental conflict in a repeated game and tests the robustness of communication as an intermediate conflict resolution instrument. The results show a strong and persistent impact of communication. Most conflict parties refrain from conflict expenditures even after the opportunity for communication has expired. Third party involvement with punishment options does not enhance this effect while contesting one prize rather than multiple prizes reduces it. Conflict resolution is less successful even in the long term if initial conflict intensity is rather high.

 

Keywords 

Conflict resolution, Experiment, Communication, Social preferences

Abstract 

Incentives shape how much people contribute to the welfare of a group. These incentives do not restrict the opportunities but they change the costs of contributions. This paper studies how the random assignment of such incentives affects perceived distributive justice among group members. Do people consider differences in incentives similar to unequal opportunities, that is, situations in which some people have a lower chance to make a high contribution? The results from a real effort experiment show that the economic framing of incentives matters in this context. If some people do not work for the common good because of rather large private costs, they appreciate these ‘negative incentives’ similarly to unequal opportunities. They do not do so, and become less egalitarian, if lower effort for the group increases the chance for private gains (‘positive incentives’). Interestingly, participants reward group members who do not limit their expected contributions to the group despite adverse incentives.

 

Keywords 

distributive justice, unequal incentives, experiment, entitlements

 

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Abstract 

This experiment tests for a causal relationship between the meaning of work and employees’ motivation to perform well. The study builds on an existing employer-employee relationship, adding realism to the ongoing research of task meaning. Owing to an unexpected project cancelation, we are able to study how varying the information provided about the meaning of previously conducted work—without the use of deception, but still maintaining a high level of control—affects subsequent performance. We observe a strong decline in exerted effort when we inform workers about the meaninglessness of a job already done. Our data also suggests that providing a supplemental alternative meaning perfectly compensates for this negative performance effect. Individual characteristics such as reciprocal inclinations and trust prompt different reactions. The data also shows that the meaning of work affects workers’ emotions, but we cannot establish a clear relationship between emotional responses and performance.

Keywords 

Meaning of work, Worker motivation, Real-effort task, Field experiment, Reciprocity

 

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Abstract 

Corporate fraud typically involves deceptive financial statements that are harmful for some stakeholders. We analyze how preferences for honesty and economic fairness shape the punishment of such untruthful statements. Our laboratory experiment disentangles the crucial confound that, for deceptive financial statements, larger deviations from the truth imply both a stronger violation of the honesty norm and an increase in economic harm. Our study measures how people punish increased dishonesty controlling for the corresponding economic harm. We find that punishment increases with the size of the lie. This behavioral pattern is driven by people who are honest themselves. Our results suggest that popular demand for punitive measures in case of financial scandals reflects a genuine interest in the enforcement of social 

Abstract 

Independent decision makers are appointed to promote trust by shielding investors from rent appropriation efforts of insiders. We conduct experiments to show how the appointment procedures for such third parties influence the trust of investors and the actual distributions of returns on investment. We find that when the third party is randomly assigned, investments significantly increase in response to positive returns on investment. Investments are similarly high when insiders select anonymous third parties. However, a simple one-sided reputation mechanism between the third party and the insider (but not the investor) diminishes trust and eliminates the benefits of a supposedly independent third party. In a second experiment we show that the trust of investors, evidenced by their investment level, surprisingly does not depend on whether the decision to delegate to an independent third party or not is taken by insiders themselves or exogenously imposed by a random device.

 

Keywords 

Third Parties, Trust, Specific Investments, Residual Control, Experiment

 

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Abstract 

We present results from a field experiments at Swiss high schools in which we compare the effectiveness of teaching methods in economics. We randomly assigned classes into an experimental and a conventional teaching group, or a control group that received no specific instruction. Both of our teaching treatments improve economic understanding considerably while effect sizes are almost identical. However, student ability crucially affects learning outcomes as more able students seem to benefit disproportionately from classroom experiments while weaker students lose out. Supplemental data indicates that our experimental treatment crowded out time for adequately discussing the subject, which may have limited less able students to generate a profound understanding. Furthermore there is no robust impact of economic training on social preferences, measured as both individual behavior in incentivized decisions or political opinions.

 

Keywords

Education of Economics, Classroom Experiments, Conventional Teaching, Field Experiments, Indoctrination

 

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Abstract 

This study analyzes the consequences of workers’ participation in the wage setting process on effort exertion. The experimental design is based on a modified gift-exchange game with firms specifying contract alternatives and workers deciding about the finally implemented alternative. The experimental data reveals that workers with participation rights are more sensitive to differences in wage offers: Low wage offers trigger negative reciprocity which dominates the positive incentive effects from high wage offers. On average, participation in the wage setting process leads to a decline in effort exertion.

Keywords 

Participation, Labor market, Gift-exchange game, Personnel economics, Reciprocity

 

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Abstract

The tendency to underestimate others’ relative performance compared to one’s own is widespread among individuals in all work environments. We examine the relationship between, and the driving forces behind, individual overconfidence and voluntary cooperation in team production. Our experimental data suggest an indirect and gender-specific link: Overconfident men hold more optimistic beliefs about coworkers’ cooperativeness than men who lack confidence, and are accordingly significantly more cooperative, whereas overconfidence, beliefs, and cooperativeness are not correlated in women.

 

Keywords

team production, public good, experiment, real effort, cooperation, gender, overconfidence, belief

 

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Abstract

It is often conjectured that participatory decision making may increase acceptance, especially of unfavorable decisions. The present paper tests this conjecture in a three-person power-totake experiment. Two takers decide which fraction of the responder’s endowment to transfer to themselves; the responder decides which part of the endowment to destroy. Thus, responders can punish greedy takers, but only at a cost to themselves. We modify the game by letting the responder participate in takers’ transfer decisions and consider the effect of low/high levels of participation on the destruction rate. We find that participation matters, but only under special conditions: Responders with participation rights destroy significantly less only if they (1) have reciprocal inclinations, and (2) are confronted with highly unfavorable outcomes. Thus, in line with standard economic modeling and leading classes of behavioral theories, our data suggest that procedural effects of decision making are mostly negligible.

Keywords

Participatory decision making, voice, player types, power-to-take game, procedural fairness, reciprocity

 

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Abstract

People do not like to delegate the distribution of favors. To explain this reluctance we disentangle reward motives in an experiment, in which an investor can directly transfer money to a trustee or delegate this decision to another investor. Varying the transfer values of investor and delegate, we find that the trustee’s rewards follow a rather simple pattern. In all situations, both investors are rewarded, but the person who ultimately decides gets a higher reward. Unlike studies on the punishment of delegated unkind decisions our results do not reveal sophisticated reward behavior that takes the responsibility of people into account.

 

Keywords

Delegation, trust, reciprocity, intentions, experiment

Abstract 

We study the effects of random assignment to coeducational and single-sex classes on the academic performance of female high school students. Our estimation results show that single-sex schooling improves the performance of female students in mathematics. This positive effect increases if the single-sex class is taught by a male teacher. An accompanying survey reveals that single-sex schooling also strengthens female students’ self-confidence and renders the self-assessment of their mathematics skills more level-headed. Single-sex schooling thus has profound implications for human capital formation and the mind-set of female students.

Keywords 

gender math gap, single-sex education, coeducation, natural experiment

 

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Abstract 

The question of whether lawyers and managers behave selfishly or fairly has inspired discussion for a long time. Empirical evidence, however, is sparse. Using data from an experiment with 359 law and business administration students, we investigate this question empirically and provide first evidence. Our results suggest that law students and business students behave reciprocally, but the degree of reciprocity is higher for lawyers. Surprisingly, it is not university education that makes business students more selfish: candidates seem to undergo a self-selection process before they begin their studies.

Keywords 

experiment, fairness, gift-exchange, preferences, reciprocity

 

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Abstract

This paper uses experimental data to analyze how competitive behavior is influenced by coaching and peer observation. We study behavior in a sequential contest, considering information about the effort level of subjects in other contests (observation of peers) and information about the payoff-maximizing effort level (coaching) as treatment variables. Presentation of peer effort has a significant impact on the effort levels of first movers but not on second movers’ effort levels. The decisions of second movers were positively influenced (in terms of payoffs) by coaching when this information was presented alone; however, when coaching was presented in combination with peer observation, the quality of second-mover decisions deteriorated.

Keywords

Tournament, peer effect, coaching, information, learning

 

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Abstract

In intergroup contests a manager advises and motivates her group’s members. Her rewards often depend on the subsequent contest expenditure of the members. I test whether such incentives undermine the credibility and effectiveness of a manager’s efforts. In the different experimental treatments the managers either benefit from very high or low expenditure or get a predetermined payment. The results show that different management incentives shape the expenditure of the group members even if managers have an advisory role only. However, group members follow recommendations more closely if management compensation is not linked to contest expenditures.

 

Keywords

Communication, Experiment, Rent-seeking, Management compensation, Group decision making

 

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Abstract

It has recently been claimed that women’s social preferences are easier to manipulate than men’s. We tested for gender differences in responsiveness to a homo economicus prime in a gift-exchange experiment with 113 participants. We observed gender differences in the direction of prime-to-behavior effects. For men, we found that primed participants behaved more selfishly than non-primed men as expected. However and surprisingly, for women we observed that participants primed toward selfishness behaved less selfishly than non-primed women. To explain this counterintuitive result, we suggest that prime-to-behavior effects are sensitive to individuals’ associations with the prime. We surveyed 452 students to test whether the homo economicus prime activated systematically different associations among men and women. We found strong evidence that women have significantly less positive associations with the homo economicus concept than men, pointing to a likely reason for the observed contrast effect among women.

Keywords 

priming, gender difference, gift exchange, experiment

 

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Abstract

We use a power-to-resist game to find out the effects of individuals‘ judgments about a proposer‘s selection procedure on the willingness to offer resistance against proposed outcomes. In the experiment, one individual is selected on the grounds of a particular procedure. This individual is allowed to propose how to allocate a pie among five group members: herself and four responders. After that each responder in the group can decide whether to offer costly resistance against the proposed allocation. Resistance is modeled as a threshold public good. If resistance is successful, the proposer receives nothing. If resistance is unsuccessful, the pie is distributed according to the proposer‘s decision. We find that resistance increases with (a) the size of the proposal, with (b) subjectively perceived unfairness of the selection procedure of the proposer‘s role, and with (c) the individual procedural preferences being unsatisfied. Surprisingly, resistance is not affected by the fact whether or not the group‘s majority vote on the selection procedure is respected. We check for robustness of our results and find that results are stable over two countries. The presented evidence suggests that procedural effects over and above outcomes are relevant in strategic interaction.

Keywords 

selection procedure, favored process effect, fair process effect, procedural fairness, legitimacy

 

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Abstract 

Incentive schemes not only influence the effort provision of workers, but might also induce sorting. As drivers of self-selection, the literature mainly focuses on measures of productivity; however, other variables, such as preferences, beliefs and personality, also play a role. With this paper, we contribute to the literature on drivers of self-selection by analyzing the role of perceived wage risks as potential influences on the sorting decision. To this end, we study a sorting decision between two variable compensation systems, where both options carry wage risks. Specifically, we look at sorting between individual piece rates and team piece rates. Using experimental data, we find evidence for both risk diversification considerations and free-riding concerns (i.e., risk of teaming-up with low-productive teammates) as drivers of self-selection. However, our data does not support the concern of our experimental subjects that others actually reduce their effort when working under team compensation, as compared to individual-based compensation.

Keywords 

Sorting, Piece rates, Wage risk, Experiment, Free-riding, Risk diversification

 

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Abstract

We investigate the welfare implications of unfair incentive contracts in comparison with interactions without contracts. Reciprocal people should cooperate conditionally in the latter situation but punish unfairness by non-cooperation. We confirm that some people do cooperate conditionally in a sequential prisoner's dilemma. Furthermore, some subjects do not cooperate if they face an unfair incentive contract in a similar context. However, there is no correlation between these two types of reciprocity. At an aggregate level, all contracts – no matter how fair they are – improve welfare even if agents are conditionally cooperative.

Keywords 

Contracts, Prisoner's dilemma, Experiment

 

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Abstract

We analyze educational institutions’ incentives to set up demanding or lax curricula in duopolistic markets for education with endogenous enrolment of students. We assume that there is a positive externality of student achievement on the local economy. Comparing the case of regulated tuition fees with an unregulated market, we identify the following inefficiencies: Under regulated tuition fees schools will set up inefficiently lax curricula in an attempt to please low-quality students even if schools internalize some of the externality. On the other hand, unregulated schools set up excessively differentiated curricula in order to relax competition in tuition fees. Deregulation gets more attractive if a larger fraction of the externality is internalized.

Keywords 

Education, Local Externalities, Product Differentiation, Price Competition, Vouchers

 

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Abstract

In the context of social dilemmas, previous research has shown that human cooperation is mainly based on the social norm of conditional cooperation. While in most cases individuals behave according to such a norm, deviant behavior is no exception. Recent research further suggests that heterogeneity in social behavior might be associated with varying genetic predispositions. In this study, we investigated the relationship between individuals' behavior in a public goods experiment and the promoter-region functional repeat polymorphism in the monoamine oxidase A gene (MAOA). In a dynamic setting of increasing information about others' contributions, we analyzed differences in two main components of conditional cooperation, namely the players' own contribution and their beliefs regarding the contribution of other players. We showed that there is a significant association between individuals' behavior in a repeated public goods game and MAOA. Our results suggest that male carriers of the low activity alleles cooperate significantly less than those carrying the high activity alleles given a situation where subjects had to rely on their innate beliefs about others' contributions. With increasing information about the others' cooperativeness, the genetic effect diminishes. Furthermore, significant opposing effects for female subjects carrying two low activity alleles were observed.

 

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Abstract 

The paper investigates if the provision of financial incentives has an impact on the performance of students in educational tests. The analysis is based on data from an experiment with high school students who answered multiple-choice items from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). As in TIMSS, the setup did not discourage students from guessing. Students with a salary based on individual performance did not score significantly better than students with a fixed payout or a payout based on the performance of the entire group. However, incentives have an impact. The group with individualized payments showed significantly more guessing activities than the others

Keywords 

incentives, education, school accountability, educational tests, TIMSS

Abstract

This paper confirms the existence of peer effects in a learning process with data from an experiment. The experimental setting offers an insight into the mechanisms of peer interaction and provides complementary information to empirical studies using survey or administrative data. The results show that a partner has a motivational effect even before the actual cooperation takes place. The evidence for optimal group composition is not robust. Some of the “better” students improve the performance of their partner but they induce lower motivation.

Keywords 

Learning, Peer Effects, Motivation, Experiment, Economics of Education

 

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Abstract

The paper analyzes different selection policies in education and business. We show that incorrect self-perceptions combined with imperfect performance measurement may cause significant welfare losses in selective educational systems, in particular if selection starts too early. Of course, these welfare losses can be mitigated by an investment in better ability assessment. However, an affirmative action policy could serve the same purpose as such an investment. We apply our analysis also to diversity management in firms. Based on positive discrimination we establish an efficiency argument for diversity management.

 

Keywords  

Education, Selection, Affirmative action 

Abstract

Quantitative performance measurement is a controversial idea in the public sector. This paper argues that management by measurement is sensible if the measurement methods have a sufficient quality. In particular, quantitative performance measures have to address problems of gaming and monitoring intensity. I look at the assignment of negative weights to poor, but informative, performance measures even if these measures have a positive correlation with the non-contractible performance objective. In a simple agency relationship, I show how a poor measure with negative weight can serve as an indicator for manipulation. However, the benefits derived from a negative weight may come at the price of increased measurement risk. Healthcare and research organizations provide examples of how negative weights can improve performance measurement

 

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Abstract 

Most studies find no collusion in tournaments. This result suggests that social preferences are irrelevant in this context. We investigate the impact of social preferences in a tournament using data from a laboratory experiment with two treatments. In a conventional tournament, an agent receives either the full prize or no prize at all. The other tournament provides the same incentives but the actual payment of an agent equals her expected payment. In both treatments the principal chooses between a fair and an unfair contract. Standard economic theory predicts the same effort provision in all situations. Our results show instead that envy between agents and the fairness oft he principal determine the effectiveness of tournaments. Moreover, we observe that collusion between the agents and reciprocity towards the principal are mutually exclusive. 

 

Keywords 

Tournament, Collusion, Envy, Agency problem, Reciprocity 

Abstract

The paper discusses the impact of performance based selection in secondary education on student incentives. The theoretical approach combines human capital theory with signaling theory. The consideration of signaling offers an explanation for observed performance of educational systems with a standard peer effect argument. More specifically it can be optimal to select students according to ability even if selective systems do not outperform comprehensive systems in tests. Selection achieves the same output with lower private costs for the students. The paper questions the strong focus on educational tests to measure the efficiency of selective systems as long as these tests provide no information about a student’s incentives and private costs.

 

Keywords 

Education, Signalling, Selection, Ability grouping, Incentives 

 

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Letzte Aenderung: 12.12.2019 · Seite drucken

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