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Time Pressure and Focal Points in Coordination Games: Experimental Evidence - Online Appendix

Online appendices
Anders Poulsen, Axel Sonntag
Publication year: 2020

Time Pressure and Focal Points in Coordination Games: Experimental Evidence

Working papers
Anders Poulsen, Axel Sonntag
Publication year: 2020

How does time pressure affect the power of focal points in coordination games? We experimentally examine the effects of varying time pressure in a coordination game with a label-salient focal equilibrium. We consider both a payoff symmetric (pure) coordination game and a payoff asymmetric battle of the sexes coordination game with conflict of interest. The data show that in the symmetric game the label-salient outcome is highly focal regardless of how much time subjects have to decide. In the asymmetric game, in contrast, higher time pressure makes it significantly more likely that coordination is on the label-salient outcome. Our findings suggest that the results from the existing literature on focal points in coordination games with conflict of interest, which did not control for explicit time constraints, may underestimate the power of focal points when decision makers are time-constrained.

Empowering consumers to reduce corporate tax avoidance: Theory and Experiments

Working papers
Enrique Fatas, Antonio Morales, Axel Sonntag
Fatas, Enrique; Morales, Antonio J. and Sonntag, Axel, Empowering consumers to reduce corporate tax avoidance: Theory and Experiments. IHS Working Paper Series 21
Publication year: 2020

We analyze corporate tax avoidance in a theoretical model and in a stylized experimental Bertrand setting in which symmetric firms and consumers sell and buy a homogeneous product, when human participants make decisions as firms and consumers. We investigate how market power and information disclosure of firms’ tax avoidance behavior impacts corporate tax avoidance and market competition. By imposing a tax rating, corporate tax behavior becomes more transparent, and consumers actively and costly boycott firms that do not pay their taxes. Firms adapt and anticipate consumer boycotts and increase tax payments, and prices. When rating disclosure is voluntary, the positive effect on corporate tax compliance vanishes in large markets.

Personal accountability and cooperation in teams

Peer-reviewed journal articles
Axel Sonntag, Daniel John Zizzo
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Volume 158, Pages 428-448, doi: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.12.014
Publication year: 2019

In a real effort lab and online team production experiment, we analyze exerted effort under different conditions of individual accountability. In a repeated setting, we vary the degree to which production can be directly traced back to a collaborator’s individual or randomly drawn effort level, respectively. We find that individuals produce much less and the decline of effort over time is significantly steeper under high as compared to low and endogenously chosen personal accountability. While endogenous accountability provides an option for monitoring others, it does not force subjects to learn about their under-performing peers, thus limiting the typical decline of contributions over time. We conclude that accountability one step removed may be an interesting institutional setting for repeated collaborations in contexts where low accountability for political, social or legal reasons is not a viable option.

Information defaults in repeated public good provision

Working papers
Jia Liu, Axel Sonntag, Daniel J. Zizzo
MPRA working paper 97710
Publication year: 2019

We present an experiment that models a repeated public good provision setting where the policy maker or manager does not have perfect control over information flows. Rather, information seeking can be affected by changing the information default as well as the price of information. The default is one either with or without information about others’ contributions, and having information comes with a positive, zero or negative financial incentive. When information comes without a financial incentive or even is financially beneficial, almost all subjects choose to have the information, but around a third have the information even when this is costly. Moreover, a default of not having information about the others’ contributions leads to a slower unravelling of cooperation, independent of the financial incentives of having information. This slower unravelling is explained by the beliefs about others’ contributions in these treatments. A secondary informational default effect appears to take place. When the default is no information, subjects do not seek information more often but, conditional on financial incentives, they tend to believe that more other subjects seek information.

Framed payslips and people's reactions to labor tax changes

Working papers
Claus Ghesla, Axel Sonntag
MPRA working paper 97731
Publication year: 2019

Payslips are supposed to notify employees about wage-related information, enabling them to adjust their labor supply, when appropriate. However, payslips are often information-laden and complex to understand, casting doubt on whether they are adequately up to the task, potentially resulting in inefficient labor supply reactions. In a real-effort laboratory experiment we use a variety of information frames to potentially support a better understanding of wage related information. We find that participants strongly react to changes of incidental wage costs, yet the framing of payslips has no additional effect on people’s labor supply. Nevertheless, including simple graphics increases comprehension and readability.

Focality is intuitive - Experimental evidence on the effects of time pressure in coordination games - online appendix

Online appendices
Anders Poulsen, Axel Sonntag
Publication year: 2019

Focality is intuitive - Experimental evidence on the effects of time pressure in coordination games

Working papers
Anders Poulsen, Axel Sonntag
MPRA working paper 92262
Publication year: 2019

We experimentally examine the effects of varying time pressure in a coordination game with a label salient focal equilibrium. We consider both a pure coordination game (payoff symmetry) and a battle of the sexes game with conflict of interest (payoff asymmetry). In symmetric games there are no effects of time pressure, since the label-salient outcome is highly focal regardless of how much time subjects have to decide. In asymmetric games less time results in greater focality of the the label-salient action, and it becomes significantly more likely that any coordination is on the focal outcome.

Disincentives from redistribution: Evidence on a dividend of democracy

Working papers
Rupert Sausgruber, Axel Sonntag, Jean-Robert Tyran
Centre for Economic Policy Research discussion paper DP13773
Publication year: 2019
We experimentally study the disincentive effect of taxing work and redistributing tax revenues when redistribution is imposed vs. democratically chosen in a vote. We find a “dividend of democracy” in the sense that the disincentive effect is substantially smaller when redistribution is chosen in a vote than when it is imposed. Redistribution seems to be more legitimate, and hence less demotivating, when accepted in a vote.

Rauchen bei Jugendlichen - Verhaltensökonomisch basierte Maßnahmenevaluation

Research reports
Martin G. Kocher, Johannes Scherrer, Christian Bauer, Karoline Gatter, Axel Sonntag, Thomas Czypionka
Institut für Höhere Studien, Wien, 2017
Publication year: 2017

This publication is available in German only.

 

Mit der Anpassung des gesetzlichen Mindestalters für den Erwerb, Konsum und Besitz von Tabakwaren auf 18 Jahre reagiert die Gesetzgebung auf eine bedenkliche „Spitzenposition“: In
keinem Land Europas rauchen mehr Jugendliche unter 15 Jahren. Die Gesetzesänderung soll von einem umfassenden, von der ARGE Suchtvorbeugung empfohlen Paket an Präventions-
und Entwöhnungsmaßnahmen begleitet werden: Jugendliche sollen über angepasste Hotlines und eine App Unterstützung beim Rauchstopp erhalten, digitale, interaktive und
niederschwellige Kommunikation sollen die Norm des Nichtrauchens unter Jugendlichen stärken, zudem empfiehlt die ARGE ein bundesweit einheitliches Vorgehen bei
Gesetzesverstößen.

Die vorliegende Arbeit analysiert die vorgeschlagenen Maßnahmen aus verhaltensökonomischer Perspektive, unterstützt die Forderung nach einem möglichst einheitlichen Sanktionsmodell und schlägt Ansätze zur Implementierung und systematischen Evaluierung eingeführter Maßnahmen vor. Die Analyse des Rauchverhaltens auf Basis internationaler Studien in einem Framework, das Verhalten auf die wesentlichen Treiber Bereitschaft und Bewusstsein zurückführt, zeigt dabei: Weniger das Wissen über die grundlegende Schädlichkeit des Rauchens ist das Problem (Bewusstsein), als die über verschiedene verhaltenspsychologische Biases beeinflusste Bereitschaft, dieses Wissen in die Tat umzusetzen: RaucherInnen werten zukünftigen Nutzen von Nichtrauchen tendenziell stärker ab als NichtraucherInnen, haben einen ausgeprägteren Glauben, von negativen Ereignissen nicht betroffen zu sein und stehen unter großem Einfluss von Gewohnheiten und sozialen Kontextfaktoren. Die vorgeschlagenen Maßnahmen zielen hingegen weitgehend auf Kommunikation und Bewusstseinsbildung ab, können dadurch an Wirksamkeit einbüßen. Sie haben jedoch Potenzial, durch eine verhaltensökonomische Optimierung in der Ausgestaltung auch psychologische oder soziale Anreize der Bereitschaft zu adressieren. Dies gilt insbesondere für die Rauchfrei-App, die gleichsam hohen Adaptionsspielraum und ein ideales Test-Umfeld für die Evaluierung mittels Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) bietet.

Bezüglich des Umgangs mit Verstößen ist die Forderung nach einem gemeinsamen Vorgehen der Länder aus verhaltensökonomischer Perspektive zu unterstützen. Der konkrete Vorschlag knüpft dabei an die bestehende Gesetzgebung der Länder sowie den Vorschlag eines – an die Entwicklungsstufe der Pubertät – angepassten Stufenmodells an. Ein Informations- bzw. Beratungsgespräch kann insbesondere dann Wirkung entfalten, wenn es in unmittelbarem zeitlichen Kontext des Vergehens steht und Komplementarität zu den Präventionsmaßnahmen bietet. Folgevergehen werden bislang vor allem durch die Auferlegung gemeinnütziger Arbeit und Geldbußen geahndet. Hier ist im Falle der Arbeitsleistung ratsam, eine stärkere, inhaltliche Verbindung zum Vergehen herzustellen. Geldbußen bieten indes das Potenzial, Erkenntnisse verhaltensökonomischer Forschung zum Commitment zu berücksichtigen und in optionalen