by Miloš Fišar, Tommaso Reggiani, Jiří Špalek together with Fabio Sabatini
in International Tax and Public Finance, 2021.DOI: 10.1007/s10797-021-09706-w
We study the impact of the media negativity bias on tax compliance. Through a framed laboratory experiment, we assess how the exposure to biased news about government action affects compliance in a repeated taxation game. Subjects treated with positive news are significantly more compliant than the control group. Instead, the exposure to negative news does not prompt any significant reaction compared to the neutral condition, suggesting that participants may perceive the media negativity bias in the selection and tonality of news as the norm rather than the exception. Overall, our results suggest that biased news provision is a constant source of psychological priming and plays a vital role in taxpayers’ compliance decisions.
by Tommaso Reggiani together with Tiziana Medda, and Vittorio Pelligra
in Games, 2021. DOI: 10.3390/g12010018
Experimental social scientists working at research-intensive institutions deal inevitably with subjects who have most likely participated in previous experiments. It is an important methodological question to know whether participants that have acquired a high level of lab-sophistication show altered pro-social behavioural patterns. In this paper, we focus both on the potential effect of the subjects’ lab-sophistication, and on the role of the knowledge about the level of lab-sophistication of the other participants. Our main findings show that while lab-sophistication per se does not significantly affect pro-social behaviour, for sophisticated subjects the knowledge about the counterpart’s level of (un)sophistication may systematically alter their choices. This result should induce caution among experimenters about whether, in their settings, information about lab-sophistication can be inferred by the participants, due to the characteristics of the recruitment mechanisms, the management of the experimental sessions or to other contextual clues.
by Miloš Fišar, Ondřej Krčál, Jiří Špalek and Rostislav Staněk
in Public Performance & Management Review, 2020.DOI: 10.1080/15309576.2020.1812410
Periodic rotation of staff in public administration may lead to lower corruption, as it disrupts long-term relationships between public officials and potential bribers. We use an experimental design to test the anti-corruption effect of staff rotation in situations in which public officials have committed to reciprocating bribes. We find that staff rotation does not influence the proportion of firms offering bribes but reduces the share of bribe acceptance and inefficient decisions due to bribery. The outcome of the staff rotation treatment, in which firms offered bribes even though they were rarely accepted by officials, is consistent with the game having a quantal response equilibrium.
by Tommaso Reggiani together with Vittorio Pelligra, and Daniel Zizzo
in Theory and Decision, 2020. DOI: 10.1007/s11238-020-09758-0
We consider the notions of static and dynamic reasonableness of requests by an authority in a trust game experiment. The authority, modeled as the experimenter, systematically varies the experimental norm of what is expected from trustees to return to trustors, both in terms of the level of each request and in terms of the sequence of the requests. Static reasonableness matters in a self-biased way, in the sense that low requests justify returning less, but high requests tend to be ignored. Dynamic reasonableness also matters, in the sense that, if requests keep increasing, trustees return less compared to the same requests presented in random or decreasing order. Requests never systematically increase trustworthiness but may decrease it.
by Michal Ďuriník together with Jakub Procházka, and Martin Ovcari
in Learning and motivation, 2020, vol. 71. DOI: 10.1016/j.lmot.2020.101649
This experiment tests the effectiveness of “sandwich” feedback. 91 university students solved 12 mathematical problems from the secondary-school curriculum. After the time limit, we assigned them randomly to one of three possible treatments. One group received corrective computer-administrated feedback, describing the mistakes with their methods and solutions. The second group received sandwich feedback, consisting of the same corrective part presented between two general positive statements unrelated to the participants’ actual performance. The third group did not receive any feedback. Afterwards, the participants had 10 min to prepare for the second set of similar problems. Participants who received sandwich feedback utilized more time on preparation and solved more problems from the second set than the participants from the other two groups. This study provides only partial evidence for the effectiveness of sandwich feedbacks as it tested the effect under one specific condition using computer-mediated written feedback on math test. Further replications are needed to test the effect under various conditions, to test various forms of sandwich feedback, to explain the mechanism of sandwich feedback and to show whether the effect of sandwich feedback is caused by the specific sequence of feedback components or by mere presence of positive statements.
by Ondřej Krčál, Rostislav Staněk together with Stefanie Peer and Bára Karlínová
in Economics of Transportation, 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecotra.2019.100138
In a controlled lab experiment, we investigate hypothetical biases in the value of time by comparing stated preference (SP) and revealed preference (RP) values attached to unexpected waiting times. The SP and RP choice sets are identical in terms of design with the only difference being that the RP choices have real consequences in terms of unexpected waiting times and monetary incentives. We find a substantial hypothetical bias with the average SP value of time being only 70% of the corresponding RP value. The bias is mainly driven by participants who have scheduling constraints during the time of the unexpected wait. Scheduling constraints are taken into account to a much lesser extent in the SP setting than in the RP setting, presumably because only in the latter, the consequences of ignoring them are costly. We find evidence that this effect is stronger for persons with relatively low cognitive ability.
by Ondřej Krčál, Rostislav Staněk together with Martin Slanicay
in Research in Economics, 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.rie.2019.08.001
A large body of evidence supports a negative association between risk aversion of workers and the level of risk they face in their occupations. This relationship could be explained by the self-selection of workers into jobs according to their risk preferences or by the effect on risk attitudes of occupations in which people face or witness dangerous situations. We use incentivized experiments to measure risk preferences among three different groups: experienced firefighters, novice firefighters, and students. We find that experienced firefighters are less risk-averse than novice firefighters, and these in turn are less risk-averse than students. The effects remain significant even after controlling for other relevant differences between these groups. Our findings suggest that the observed relationship between risk aversion and high-risk occupations is not only a result of self-selection but also of people’s preferences being shaped by their work lives.
by Tommaso Reggiani together with Luca Corazzini and Christopher Cotton
in Experimental economics, 2019. DOI: 10.1007/s10683-019-09639-6
When multiple charities, social programs and community projects simultaneously vie for funding, donors risk mis-coordinating their contributions leading to an inefficient distribution of funding across projects. Community chests and other intermediary organizations facilitate coordination among donors and reduce such risks. To study this, we extend a threshold public goods framework to allow donors to contribute through an intermediary rather than directly to the public goods. Through a series of experiments, we show that the presence of an intermediary increases public good success and subjects’ earnings only when the intermediary is formally committed to direct donations to socially beneficial goods. Without such a restriction, the presence of an intermediary has a negative impact, complicating the donation environment, decreasing contributions and public good success.
by Tommaso Reggiani together with Angelo Antoci, Laura Bonelli, Fabio Paglieri, and Fabio Sabatini
in Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. 2019, vol. 160. DOI:10.1016/j.jebo.2019.02.026
Social media have been credited with the potential of reinvigorating trust by offering new opportunities for social and political participation. This view has been recently challenged by the rising phenomenon of online incivility, which has made the environment of social networking sites hostile to many users. We conduct a novel experiment in a Facebook setting to study how the effect of social media on trust varies depending on the civility or incivility of online interaction. We find that participants exposed to civil Facebook interaction are significantly more trusting. In contrast, when the use of Facebook is accompanied by the experience of online incivility, no significant changes occur in users’ behavior. These results are robust to alternative configurations of the treatments.
by Tommaso Reggiani together with Luigino Bruni, Vittorio Pelligra, and Matteo Rizzolli
in Journal of Business Ethics. 2019, vol. 156. DOI:10.1007/s10551-019-04154-3
In mainstream business and economics, prizes such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom are understood as special types of incentives, with the peculiar features of being awarded in public, and of having largely symbolic value. Informed by both historical considerations and philosophical instances, our study defines fundamental theoretical differences between incentives and prizes. The conceptual factors highlighted by our analytical framework are then tested through a laboratory experiment. The experimental exercise aims to analyze how prizes and incentives impact actual individuals’ behavior differently. Our results show that both incentives (monetary and contingent) and prizes (non-monetary and discretional rewards) boost motivation to perform if awarded publicly, but only prizes crowd-in motivation promoting virtuous attitude.
by Jiří Špalek together with Jan Říkovský
in Fresenius Environmental Bulletin. 2019, vol. 28, no. 1.
The poverty in developing countries of the world represents a global environmental issue under Millennium Development Goals. One of the ways how to mitigate this global environmental problem ise humanitarian response. But, there is a considera- ble knowledge gap in environmental scientific liter- ature concerning the application of humanitarian aid as a support tool for addressing of it. This paper deals with application of the economic experiment method in an analysis of determinants of decision-making on the mitigation of global environmental issues using humanitarian aid in the context of subjective ration- ality. The methods in this study are based on experi- ment drawing on mathematical economic models supporting by statistical analyses. This methodolog- ical approach offers the opportunity for selfish be- haviour in accordance with the game theory, thus al- lowing us to compare reality with traditional as- sumptions. Selected assumptions are transformed into hypotheses whose validity is consistent with the approach and conclusions of the presented study. The conducted experiment confirmed all the tested hypotheses and many other hypotheses could be ver- ified by other experiments of a different design. The environmental discourse concerning human deci- sion-making has long been dominated by the concept of people as strictly rational beings motivated only by profit (e.g. in the form of drawing ecosystem ser- vices) and perfectly capable of analysing all the con- sequences of their decisions. Although the growing influence of behavioural economics has facilitated the explanation of some kinds of observed behav- iours, the umbrella term “subjective rationality” suf- fers due to its general broadness. The presented study is striving to find a way of synthesising the currently used sophisticated analytical methods with the be- havioural perspective on decision-making on the mitigation of global environmental issues.
by Rostislav Staněk, and Ondřej Krčál
in Applied Economics Letters. 2019, vol. issue 12. DOI:10.1080/13504851.2018.1529387
The experimental literature has found a positive relationship between patience and performance in cognitive tests that are not incentivized by money. It has also been shown that unincentivized cognitive tests capture not only cognitive ability (CA), but also intrinsic motivation related to the test takers’ personality traits. In order to determine whether the relationship between patience and test scores is driven by intrinsic motivation or CA, we run an experiment in which subjects take either incentivized or unincentivized cognitive tests. We find that while incentivized test scores positively correlate with patience, the unincentivized scores are not related to the time preferences of our subjects. The observed correlation between patience and cognitive test scores therefore seems to be driven by CA rather than by intrinsic motivation related to personality traits.
by Rostislav Staněk, and Jiří Špalek together with Daniel Shaw, Kristína Czekóová, Martin Gajdoš, and Michal Brázdil
in Human Brain Mapping. 2019, vol. 40, issue 2. DOI:10.1002/hbm.24446
During social interactions, decision‐making involves mutual reciprocity—each individual's choices are simultaneously a consequence of, and antecedent to those of their interaction partner. Neuroeconomic research has begun to unveil the brain networks underpinning social decision‐making, but we know little about the patterns of neural connectivity within them that give rise to reciprocal choices. To investigate this, the present study measured the behaviour and brain function of pairs of individuals (N = 66) whilst they played multiple rounds of economic exchange comprising an iterated ultimatum game. During these exchanges, both players could attempt to maximise their overall monetary gain by reciprocating their opponent's prior behaviour—they could promote generosity by rewarding it, and/or discourage unfair play through retaliation. By adapting a model of reciprocity from experimental economics, we show that players' choices on each exchange are captured accurately by estimating their expected utility (EU) as a reciprocal reaction to their opponent's prior behaviour. We then demonstrate neural responses that map onto these reciprocal choices in two brain regions implicated in social decision‐making: right anterior insula (AI) and anterior/anterior‐mid cingulate cortex (aMCC). Finally, with behavioural Dynamic Causal Modelling, we identified player‐specific patterns of effective connectivity between these brain regions with which we estimated each player's choices with over 70% accuracy; namely, bidirectional connections between AI and aMCC that are modulated differentially by estimates of EU from our reciprocity model. This input‐state‐output modelling procedure therefore reveals systematic brain–behaviour relationships associated with the reciprocal choices characterising interactive social decision‐making.
by Jan Řezáč together with Martina Trepáčová, Pavel Řezáč, Veronika Kurečková, Petr Zámečníka, and Lenka Kopečková
in Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour. 2019, vol. 60. DOI:10.1016/j.trf.2018.11.009
It is assumed that emotion recognition is a complex process related to prosocial and antisocial behaviour (Marsh & Blair, 2008). The present study focuses on the connection between recognizing emotions and safe/unsafe driving. We studied whether there are differences in response time in facial emotion recognition. Fifty-one non-offenders and 41 offenders completed a Pictures of Facial Affect test (Ekman & Friesen, 1976) wherein photographs of prototypical facial emotional expressions were presented. Results show differences between the groups in response time to all emotions whether answers were correct or incorrect. Data show that non-offenders are faster in recognizing emotions than are offenders. These findings demonstrate that offenders exhibit specific deficits in response time for facial affect expressions.
by Michal Ďuriník together with Jakub Procházka, and Hynek Cígler
in Judgment & Decision Making. 2018, vol. 13(1).
We developed the Short Maximization Inventory (SMI) by shortening the Maximization Inventory (Turner, Rim, Betz & Nygren, 2012) from 34 items to 15 items. Using the Item Response Theory framework, we identified and removed the items of the Maximization Inventory that contributed least to the performance of the original scale. The construct validity assessed for SMI is similar to the full MI and is in line with the predictions from the literature: the Satisficing subscale is positively related to the indices of well-being, while the Decision Difficulty and Alternative Search subscales are negatively related to well-being. The new scale retains the good psychometric properties of the original scale. Furthermore, its brevity allows researchers to use the scale in studies in which maximization is not the primary focus. Although the SMI lacks the “High Standards” subscale, as did the original MI, we believe that SMI is a step towards developing a reliable and conceptually sound measure of maximizing that can be used in various research designs.
by Rostislav Staněk, Jiří Špalek, and Jan Řezáč together with Daniel Shaw, Kristína Czekóová, Radek Mareček, Lenka Kopečková, Tomáš Urbánek, and Michal Brázdil
in Scientific reports. 2018, 8. DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-29233-9.
Dyadic interactions often involve a dynamic process of mutual reciprocity; to steer a series of exchanges towards a desired outcome, both interactants must adapt their own behaviour according to that of their interaction partner. Understanding the brain processes behind such bidirectional reciprocity is therefore central to social neuroscience, but this requires measurement of both individuals’ brains during real-world exchanges. We achieved this by performing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on pairs of male individuals simultaneously while they interacted in a modified iterated Ultimatum Game (iUG). In this modification, both players could express their intent and maximise their own monetary gain by reciprocating their partner’s behaviour – they could promote generosity through cooperation and/or discourage unfair play with retaliation. By developing a novel model of reciprocity adapted from behavioural economics, we then show that each player’s choices can be predicted accurately by estimating expected utility (EU) not only in terms of immediate payoff, but also as a reaction to their opponent’s prior behaviour. Finally, for the first time we reveal that brain signals implicated in social decision making are modulated by these estimates of EU, and become correlated more strongly between interacting players who reciprocate one another.
by Tommaso Reggiani together with Leonardo Becchetti, Vittorio Pelligra
in International Tax and Public Finance. 2017, 24: 1026. DOI:10.1007/s10797-017-9474-z
In this paper, we study by means of a framed field experiment on a representative sample of the population the effect on people’s charitable giving of three, substantial and procedural, elements: information provision, belief elicitation and threshold on distribution. We frame this investigation within the 5X1000 tax scheme, a mechanism through which Italian taxpayers may choose to give a small proportion (0.5%) of their income tax to a voluntary organization to fund its activities. We find two main results: (i) providing information or eliciting beliefs about previous donations increases the likelihood of a donation, while thresholds have no effect; (ii) information about previous funding increases donations to organizations that received fewer donations in the past, while belief elicitation also increases donations to organizations that received most donations in the past, since individuals are more likely to donate to the organizations they rank first.
by Rostislav Staněk
in Judgment and Decision Making. 2017, vol. 12, issue 2.
In sport betting, bettors exhibit home bias when they tend to bet on their home team more often. The paper offers a straightforward method of empirical identification of the home bias in the real-world betting market. Using Czech betting data on the league and the national ice-hockey matches, the paper provides support for the existence of the home bias in the Czech betting market.
by Michal Ďuriník together with Aneta Suchomelová and Jakub Procházka
in Journal of International Consumer Marketing. 2017, vol. 29(1). DOI:10.1080/08961530.2016.1236309
This study looks at whether and why people are prepared to pay more money for products that signalize their personal interests. The design is an intrasubject field experiment carried out using five, real, one-sided Internet auctions. The sample consists of 83 participants from the Czech Flamenco community. In the auction, they placed bids for five types of products—a branded bag, a white shopping bag, a mug, a white top, and a black T-shirt. These items appeared in the auction randomly in Flamenco (bearing visual reference to Flamenco culture) and non-Flamenco generic versions. In the case of the white shopping bag, the mug, and the tank top, the respondents were willing to pay almost double for the Flamenco version in comparison with the generic version. This was partly due to their greater emotional attachment to the Flamenco version of the product. The price difference for the branded bag and the black T-shirt was smaller and insignificant. This study opens up the theme of personal interest branding.
by Ondřej Krčál, and Rostislav Staněk together with Michal Kvasnička
in Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. 2016, vol. 65. DOI:10.1016/j.socec.2016.07.005
This paper tests whether the prospect theory parameters estimated from laboratory experiments correspond to estimates from real-life betting markets. Using Czech soccer betting data, we estimate the functional forms of the value and probability weighting functions commonly used for the experimental validation of prospect theory. In line with the experimental evidence, we find that bettors are risk averse in the domain of gains and risk seeking in the domain of losses and tend to overweight small probabilities and underweight medium and large probabilities. On the other hand, our findings suggest that bettors do not exhibit loss aversion. This might be at least partly explained by recent experimental evidence suggesting that loss aversion is weaker or absent if the decision-makers are experienced, if they face similar choices repeatedly, and if the decisions are made in a context where offers are usually accepted.
by Miloš Fišar, Jiří Špalek, James Tremewan together with Matúš Kubák
in Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. 2016, vol. 63. DOI:10.1016/j.socec.2016.05.004
We elicit actions and beliefs in a framed corruption experiment enabling us to investigate how gender differences in corrupt behaviour relate to gender differences in both beliefs about the behaviour of others and the relationship between those beliefs and actions. We find that women are less likely to engage in costly punishment of corruption, and believe corruption to be more prevalent than men. Differences between the genders in the relationship between beliefs and actions provides evidence that men experience a greater psychological cost as a result of social sanctions. Controlling for beliefs and gender differences in sensitivity to beliefs we find that males are, in many instances, more likely to offer bribes, while females are less likely to conform to a norm of bribe-giving. This result was not apparent in the raw data, and highlights the importance of considering beliefs in corruption experiments.