Measuring success in education: the role of effort on the test itself

March 20, 2018
By: Uri Gneezy ; John List ; Jeffrey Livingston ; Xiangdong Qin ; Sally Sadoff ; Yang Xu
Tests measuring and comparing educational achievement are an important policy tool. We experimentally show that offering students extrinsic incentives to put forth effort on such achievement tests has differential effects across cultures. Offering incentives to U.S. students, who generally perform poorly on assessments, improved performance substantially. In contrast, Shanghai students, who are top performers on assessments, were not affected by incentives. Our findings suggest that in the absence of extrinsic incentives, ranking countries based on low-stakes assessments is problematic because test scores reflect differences in intrinsic motivation to perform well on the test itself, and not just differences in ability.
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:feb:framed:00614&r=ltv
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Field experiments on the development of time preferences

March 20, 2018
By: James Andreoni ; Michael Kuhn ; John List ; Anya Samek ; Charles Sprenger
Time preferences have been correlated with a range of life outcomes, yet little is known about their early development. We conduct a field experiment to elicit time preferences of nearly 1,000 children ages 3-12, who make several inter temporal decisions. To shed light on how such primitives form, we explore various channels that might affect time preferences, from background characteristics to the causal impact of an early schooling program that we developed and operated. Our results suggest that time preferences evolve substantially during this period with younger children displaying more impatience than older children. We also find a strong association with race: black children, relative to white or Hispanic children, are more impatient. Interestingly, parents of black children are also much more impatient than parents of white and Hispanic children. Finally, assignment to different schooling opportunities is not significantly associated with child time preferences.
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:feb:artefa:00615&r=ltv

Correlations of Brothers’ Earnings and Intergenerational Transmission

March 20, 2018
By: Paul Bingley ; Lorenzo Cappellari
Correlations between parent and child earnings reflect intergenerational mobility and, more broadly, correlations between siblings’ earnings reflect shared community and family background. These earnings relationships capture important aspects of relations in socio-economic status more generally. We estimate intergenerational transmission and sibling correlations of life-cycle earnings jointly within a unified framework that nests previous models. Using data on the Danish population of father/first-son/second-son triads we find that intergenerational effects account for on average 72 percent of sibling correlations. This share is higher than all previous studies because we allow for heterogeneous intergenerational transmission between families. Sibling correlations exhibit a U-shape over the working life, consistent with differences in human capital investments between families.
Keywords: sibling correlations, intergenerational transmission
JEL: D31 J62
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6473&r=ltv

Crime and Violence: Desensitization in Victims to Watching Criminal Events

March 20, 2018
By: Rafael Di Tella (Harvard Business School, Business, Government and the International Economy Unit) ; Lucía Freira (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella) ; Ramiro H. Gálvez (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella) ; Ernesto Schargrodsky (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella) ; Diego Shalom (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella) ; Mariano Sigman (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella)
We study desensitization to crime in a lab experiment by showing footage of criminal acts to a group of subjects, some of whom have been previously victimized. We measure biological markers of stress and behavioral indices of cognitive control before and after treated participants watch a series of real, crime-related videos (while the control group watches non-crime-related videos). Not previously victimized participants exposed to the treatment video show significant changes in cortisol level, heart rate, and measures of cognitive control. Instead, previously victimized individuals who are exposed to the treatment video show biological markers and cognitive performance comparable to those measured in individuals exposed to the control video. These results suggest a phenomenon of desensitization or habituation of victims to crime exposure.
Keywords: crime, biological markers, experiment, victimization, desensitization
JEL: K42
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hbs:wpaper:18-039&r=ltv

Family, Community and Life-Cycle Earnings: Evidence from Siblings and Youth Peers

March 6, 2018
By: Paul Bingley ; Lorenzo Cappellari ; Konstantinos Tatsiramos
Using longitudinal data based on administrative registers for the population of Danish men we develop a model which accounts for the joint earnings dynamics of siblings and youth community peers. We are the first to decompose the sibling correlation of permanent earnings into family and community effects allowing for life-cycle dynamics; finding that family is the most important factor influencing earnings inequality over the life cycle. Community background explains a substantial share of the sibling correlation of earnings early in the working life, but its importance diminishes over time and becomes negligible after age 30.
Keywords: sibling correlation, neighborhoods, schools, long-term inequality
JEL: D31 J62
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6743&r=ltv

Behavioral Inattention

March 6, 2018
By: Xavier Gabaix
Inattention is a central, unifying theme for much of behavioral economics. It permeates such disparate fields as microeconomics, macroeconomics, finance, public economics, and industrial organization. It enables us to think in a rather consistent way about behavioral biases, speculate about their origins, and trace out their implications for market outcomes. This survey first discusses the most basic models of attention, using a fairly unified framework. Then, it discusses the methods used to measure attention, which present a number of challenges on which much progress has been done. It then examines the various theories of attention, both behavioral and more Bayesian. It finally discusses some applications. For instance, inattention offers a way to write a behavioral version of basic microeconomics, as in consumer theory, producer theory, and Arrow-Debreu. A last section is devoted to open questions in the attention literature. This chapter is a pedagogical guide to the literature on attention. Derivations are self-contained.
JEL: D03 D11 D51 G02 H2
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24096&r=ltv

Social Welfare Losses Due to Occupational Segregation by Gender and Race/Ethnicity in the U.S.: Are There Differences across Regions?

March 6, 2018
By: Coral del Río ; Olga Alonso-Villar
Taking into account the well-being losses or gains that each gender-race/ethnicity group has associated with its occupational sorting, this paper explores the social welfare loss that each U.S. large region experiences due to the different circumstances faced by these groups in each regional labor market. To analyze the period 1980–2012 in those terms, we use novel measures that aggregate the well-being losses or gains of the groups consistently with the literature on deprivation. To take into account that disparities among regions may arise from differences in characteristics, this papers uses a propensity score procedure that allows controlling for gender and racial/ethnic composition, immigration profile, educational level, and industrial structure.
Keywords: Occupational segregation; social welfare; gender; race, regions
JEL: D63 D23 J15 J71
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:vig:wpaper:1802&r=ltv