Mind the framing when studying social preferences in the domain of losses with Armenak Antinyan, and Tommaso Reggiani. Cardiff Economics Working Papers, E2022/16. Under review in Economic Inquiry.
There has been an increasing interest in altruistic behaviour in the domain of losses recently. Nevertheless, there is no consensus in whether the monetary losses make individuals more generous or more selfish. Although almost all relevant studies rely on a dictator game to study altruistic behaviour, the experimental designs of these studies differ in how the losses are framed, which may explain the diverging findings. Utilizing a dictator game, this paper studies the impact of loss framing on altruism. The main methodological result is that the dictators’ prosocial behaviour is sensitive to the loss frame they are embedded in. More specifically, in a dictator game in which the dictators have to share a loss between themselves and a recipient, the monetary allocations of the dictators are more benevolent than in a standard setting without a loss and in a dictator game in which the dictators have to share what remains of their endowments after a loss. These differences are explained by the different social norms that the respective loss frames invoke.
Riding the Cycle: Ovulatory-Shift Hypothesis and Incentivized Decision-Making with Lubomír Cingl, Tommaso Reggiani, Eva Kundtová-Klocová, Radek Kundt, Jan Krátký, Katarína Kostolanská, Petra Bencúrová, Marie Kudličková Pešková, and Klára Marečková. WP upon request. R+R in Journal of Economic Psychology.
Employing an incentivized controlled lab experiment, we investigate the ovulatory shift hypothesis on salient behavioral outcomes related to i) risk preferences, ii) rule violation and iii) exploratory attitude. All these outcomes play a crucial role in economic decision-making and identify behavioral aspects that may systematically vary over the menstrual cycle to increase the reproductive odds, as suggested by evolutionary psychology. Exploiting a within-subject design, 124 naturally cycling females participated in experimental sessions during their ovulation and menstruation phases -- the phases between which the difference in behavior should be the largest. In each session, hormonal samples for cortisol, estradiol, and testosterone were collected to validate the status of the subjects. The group of women is also contrasted against a control group composed of 47 males that are not subject to hormonal variations of such nature. Our results reveal no systematic behavioral differences between the ovulation and menstruation phases and thus question the validity of the ovulatory-shift hypothesis.
Delegation and Overhead Aversion with Multiple Threshold Public Goods with Diya Abraham, Luca Corazzini, and Tommaso Reggiani. MUNI ECON Working Papers 2021-14. R+R in Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.
Donors often use the services of an intermediary to prevent their donations from being too thinly distributed over multiple public projects. We explore whether donors' willingness to coordinate their funds via an intermediary depends on the extent of the intermediary's discretion over their contributions, as well as the organizational overhead costs faced by the intermediary. We investigate this using a laboratory experiment in which donors face multiple identical threshold public goods and the opportunity to coordinate their contributions via another donor assigned to the role of intermediary. As predicted by standard theory, we find that donors make use of the intermediary only when they know she is heavily restricted in terms of the proportion of their contributions she can expropriate for herself. However, contrary to theoretical predictions, the positive effect of these restrictions is undone once the intermediary incurs a sunk overhead cost. Our analysis suggests that the ex-ante inequality created as a result of this sunk cost reduces the trustworthiness of the intermediary in the donors' eyes, which in turn reduces their willingness to use the intermediary to coordinate their contributions effectively.
Media Bias and Tax Compliance: Experimental Evidence with Tommaso Reggiani, Fabio Sabatini, and Jiří Špalek. MUNI ECON Working Papers 2020-01. Published in International Tax and Public Finance.
We study the impact of media 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. The exposure to negative news, instead, does not prompt any significant reaction in respect to the neutral condition, suggesting that participants 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 act as a constant source of psychological priming and play a vital role in taxpayers' compliance decisions.
A Competitive Audit Selection Mechanism with Incomplete Information with Ondřej Krčál, Rostislav Staněk, Jiří Špalek, and James Tremewan. MUNI ECON Working Papers 2019-08. Under review in Economic Inquiry.
The experimental tax and regulatory compliance literature has shown the effectiveness of competitive audit selection mechanisms (ASMs) based on declarations and a signal of the taxpayers' actual income. However, collecting information about actual income prior to audit selection is costly. In this article, we test the effectiveness of an endogenous ASM based solely on declared income. We show theoretically and in a laboratory experiment that this new endogenous ASM significantly increases compliance in comparison with an ASM where all taxpayers face audit with equal probability. However, a further consequence of conditioning solely on declared income is that poorer taxpayers are audited more frequently, reducing the effectiveness of this ASM in generating revenue and reducing inequality. We further compare the new mechanism with an ASM that also uses a noisy signal of actual income and show that it is a significant improvement over the other two ASMs in terms of compliance, revenue, and inequality. Our results suggest that ASMs that condition only on reported income can increase compliance but should be implemented with caution, and investing in acquiring information before audit selection can have substantial benefits.
The Effects of Staff-rotation in Public Administration on the Decision to Bribe or be Bribed with Ondřej Krčál, Jiří Špalek, and Rostislav Staněk. MUNI ECON Working Papers 2019-01. Published in Public Performance & Management Review.
Periodic rotation of staff in public administration may lead to lower corruption, as it disrupts long-term relationships between public officials and potential bribers. This paper proposes an~experimental design that tests the~anti-corruption effect of staff rotation in situations where public officials have committed to reciprocating bribes. We find that staff rotation does not influence the~proportion of firms offering bribes but does reduce the~share of bribe acceptance and inefficient decisions owing 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.