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Shifting confidence in homeownership: the Great Recession
The authors study the responses to several questions related to real estate that were added to the Michigan Survey of Consumers in July and August 2011. In particular, they asked about attitudes toward renting versus buying a home, about commuting, and about how much to spend on a mortgage. By matching the results to data (at the ZIP-code level) about relative house price declines during the recent crisis, they can study the relationship between the U.S. housing crash and the attitudes of individual consumers. They find that younger respondents are relatively less confident about ...
The Great Recession and confidence in homeownership
Confidence in homeownership shifts for those who personally experienced real estate loss during the Great Recession. Older Americans are confident in the value of homeownership. Younger Americans are less confident.
Social and private learning with endogenous decision timing
Firms often face choices about when to upgrade and what to upgrade to. We discuss this in the context of upgrading to a new technology (for example, a new computer system), but it applies equally to the upgrading of processes (for example, a new organizational structure) or to individual choices (for example, buying a new car). This paper uses an experimental approach to determine how people address such problems, with a particular focus on the impact of information flows. Specifically, subjects face a multi-round decision, choosing when (if ever) to upgrade from the status quo to either a ...
Multiple selves in intertemporal choice
We propose that individuals consider future versions of themselves to truly be separate persons, not simply as a convenient modeling device but in terms of actual brain systems and decision-making processes. Intertemporal choices are thus quite literally strategic interactions between multiple agents. Previous neuroscientific studies have found evidence that systems involved with Theory of Mind (that is, mentalizing other agents) are similar to those involved with prospection (imagining oneself in the future). We provide a conceptual framework for this work and suggest that, instead of ...
Games with synergistic preferences
In economic situations a player often has preferences regarding not only his or her own outcome but also regarding what happens to fellow players, concerns that are entirely apart from any strategic considerations. While this can be modeled directly by simply writing down a player's final preferences, these are commonly unknown a priori. In many cases it is therefore both helpful and instructive to explicitly model these interactions. This paper, building on a model due to Bergstrom (1989, 1999), presents a simple structure in the context of game theory that incorporates the "synergies" ...
Valuable cheap talk and equilibrium selection
Intuitively, we expect that players who are allowed to engage in costless communication before playing a game would be foolish to agree on an inefficient equilibrium. At the same time, however, such preplay communication has been suggested as a rationale for expecting Nash equilibrium in general. This paper presents a plausible formal model of cheap talk that distinguishes and resolves these possibilities. Players are assumed to have an unlimited opportunity to send messages before playing an arbitrary game. Using an extension of fictitious play beliefs, minimal assumptions are made ...
Selecting public goods institutions: who likes to punish and reward?
The authors extend the standard public goods game in a variety of ways, in particular by allowing for endogenous preference over institutions and by studying the relationship between individual types, their preferences, and later behavior within the various institutional environments. They collect individual data on a variety of demographic factors, in addition to measuring levels of risk aversion and ambiguity aversion (over both gains and losses). The authors then elicit preferences in an incentive-compatible manner over voluntary contribution mechanisms with and without reward and ...
Predicting health behaviors with economic preferences and perceived control
We present new evidence on the relationship between health behaviors and experimental measures of risk and time preferences and introduce evidence that perceived control ? a measure incorporated from the health psychology literature ? is a stronger and more consistent predictor of health behaviors than economic preferences.
Strategic choice of preferences: the persona model
We introduce a modification to the two-timescale games studied in the evolution of preferences (EOP) literature. In this modification, the strategic process occurring on the long timescale is learning by an individual across his or her lifetime, not natural selection operating on genomes over multiple generations. This change to the longer timescale removes many of the formal difficulties of EOP models and allows us to show how two-timescale games can provide endogenous explanations for why humans sometimes adopt interdependent preferences and sometimes exhibit logit quantal response ...
Characterizing the amount and speed of discounting procedures
This paper introduces the concept of categorizing the amount and speed of a discounting procedure in order to generate well-characterized families of procedures for use in social project evaluation. Exponential discounting isolates the concepts of amount and speed into a single parameter that must be disaggregated in order to characterize nonconstant rate procedures. The inverse of the present value of a unit stream of benefits provides a natural measure of the amount a procedure discounts the future. We propose geometrical- and time horizon-based measures of how rapidly a procedure acquires ...