Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Graduate Students on the JM: Pete Troyan

Pete Troyan is a theorist with a strong interest in matching theory who is also open to experiments. His JM paper, joint with Dan Fragiadakis (about whom I blogged yesterday), is theory paper on matching: Specifically, it deals with two-sided matching problems, where the other side may be objects or agents (such as medical residency positions to medical students, school slots to students, military assignments to military cadets, etc). Their starting point is that often in such assignments, the designer (the school board, the medical association etc) wants to have fulfill certain distributional constraints: for example a minimum number of medical residents in rural areas, or cadets in each branch, or, thinking about diversity, demographic distributions in each school. 

The abstract continues as:
"Standard assignment mechanisms implemented in practice are unable to accommodate all of these constraints. This leads policymakers to resort to ad-hoc solutions that eliminate blocks of seats ex-ante (before agents submit their preferences) to ensure that all constraints are satisfied ex-post. 

We show that these solutions ignore important information contained in the submitted preferences, resulting in avoidable inefficiency. We introduce a new class of dynamic quotas mechanisms that allow the institutional quotas to dynamically adjust to the submitted preferences of the agents. We show how a wide class of mechanisms commonly used in the field can be adapted to our dynamic quotas framework. Focusing in particular on a new dynamic quotas deferred acceptance (DQDA) mechanism, we show that DQDA Pareto dominates current solutions. While it may seem that allowing the quotas to depend on the submitted preferences would compromise the strategyproofness of deferred acceptance, we show that this is not the case: as long as the order in which the quotas are adjusted is determined exogenously to the preferences, DQDA remains strategyproof. Thus, policymakers can be confident that efficiency will be improved without introducing perverse incentives. Simulations with school choice data are used to quantify the potential efficiency gains."

Pete has, next to his JM paper which is an theory paper on matching, three more matching papers, one of which is already published, and one of which is an experiment (the paper that Dan Fragiadakis uses as a JM paper). Pete has also theory work not related to matching. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Graduate Students on the JM: Dan Fragiadakis

Dan Fragiadakis is an experimental economist with a strong background in matching theory. His JM paper, joint with Pete Troyan (about whom I'll blog tomorrow), is an experiment on matching: Specifically, it deals with the issue where objects are allocated to agents without the use of money (such as school slots to students, teaching assignments at TFA to applicants, houses to college students, or trips abroad to MBA's at many business schools). Their main point is that while market designers have in the past promoted strategy-proof mechanisms, in some environments non-strategyproof mechanisms (such as the one employed by Stanford GSB) may yield superior outcomes not only in theory but also in experiments.This suggests that we should reopen the debate, as market designers, on the use of non-strategyproof mechanisms.

Dan has, next to his JM paper which is an experiment on matching, one more experimental paper (joint with me and Dan Knoeplfe, another Stanford grad student), and two theory papers on matching, one of which is the paper that Pete Troyan uses as his JM paper. I'll blog about Pete Troyan tomorrow.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The repugnance of high salaries: Switzerland

Swiss Voters Reject High-Pay Initiative

Seems like there is something something to study about the repugnance of high pay,... Though in the end the swiss didn't vote in favor of curtailing it...

"ZURICH—Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected an initiative that would have restricted executive salaries to 12 times that of the lowest-paid employee.

Roughly 65% of Swiss voters Sunday opposed the 1:12 Initiative for Fair Pay, according to results from all of the country's 26 cantons reported by Swiss television. Another 34% supported the proposal, which was named for the organizers' belief that no one in a Swiss company should earn more in a month than someone else makes in a year."

and this is disappointing

"The youth wing of the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland, which organized the initiative, said the country had missed an opportunity to curb executive pay that it sees as spiraling out of control.

"We're obviously disappointed at the result, but we were faced by opponents who ran a high-profile fear campaign," said David Roth, the president of the youth wing, which is known as Juso. "One positive from the campaign, however, is that the issue of fair pay and a fair economy has been placed in the public domain."

HT: Sandro Ambuehl had told me about this referendum

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Girls or Women and Science: commercials

Guillaume Frechette alerted me to the following article in Stale: "This Awesome Ad, Set to the Beastie Boys, Is How to Get Girls to Become Engineers"

The ad is here

Compare this to the somewhat failed commercial by the European Commission about "Science: It's a Girl Thing"

Check out the following article in the NYTimes: "Why Are There Still So Few Women In Science"

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Inducements for Kidney Donation

Al Roth and I have a paper forthcoming in Law & Contemporary Problems, 77:3, 2014 on  Philanthropically Funded Heroism Awards for Kidney Donors?” 

The premise of the paper is the sad fact that:

"There are about 100,000 people on the waiting list for a deceased donor kidney transplant in the United  States, a number that grows from year to year despite advances that have increased the availability of kidney transplantation.  About 35,000 patients joined the waiting list in 2012, though only about 11,000 deceased donor transplants were performed, along with about 6,000 transplants from living donors. So the modal  kidney  donor  in the United  States  is  now  a  living  donor,  even though there  are more transplants from deceased donors, who donate two kidneys. While kidneys from deceased donors are allocated by UNOS to patients on the waiting list according to strict rules, living donors typically give a kidney to a relative or loved one in need. In this paper we explore possible ways to increase the number of living donors.  

We say
The  present  paper  explores  another  way  to  possibly  ease  the  path  towards  non‐directed kidney  donation  among those  inclined to  make such  a  donation  by  combining the appreciations  of  both  philanthropy  and  heroism[..]. Specifically  we consider an award that recognizes a non‐directed donor as a hero and comes with a prize of $50.000.  We report a brief preliminary survey designed to assess public reaction to various forms of heroism awards for non‐directed kidney donors.

and conclude

"While the survey we report here provides very limited ability to determine causes, it does suggest that payments to non‐directed kidney donors would meet with more approval and less strong disapproval when included in awards for heroism, and when paid from a private foundation [added: with time delay after donation]. Consequently this may be an avenue worth further exploration in the effort to increase donation and relieve the shortage of kidneys and the burden of kidney disease.   

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

AEA: RCT Registry

AEA E-mail Announcement
Dear AEA member:

The AEA has launched a new site to register randomized control trials (RCTs). The AEA encourages all
investigators to register new and existing RCTs. Registration is entirely voluntary and is not currently linked
to or required for submission and publication in the AEA journals.

The site is available at

On this site, you can register your forthcoming, ongoing, or even completed RCTs, with as little or as many
details as you wish. The site will also permit you to store and make publicly-available additional information
on your RCTs (reports, articles, data, and code). We believe that this will prove to be a very valuable resource
for investigators to share their work and the site will be widely used by those who wish to find out about
on-going and completed studies.

The registry is characterized by:

1) Simplicity and flexibility: Registering a trial is straightforward with only a minimal number of required fields.
There is considerable flexibility to provide additional material at the time of registration or at any point in the
life of the study. Materials can also be hidden from public view until completion of the study, or be made
accessible only with the permission of the PI.

2) Adjustability and memory: Any registry entry can be amended by the PI at any point, but the registry keeps
track of all versions.

3) Ability to work as a research portal for your RCTs: The registry can serve as an access point for
collaborators, other scholars, students, and the general public providing links to data sets, survey 
instruments, experimental findings, and experimental protocols.

To register a trial, the PI simply needs to enter the following information: PI name, project title, study
location, project status, keyword(s), abstract, trial start and end dates, intervention start and end dates, 
proposed outcome(s), experimental design, whether the treatment is clustered, planned number of 
clusters, planned number of observations, and IRB information. Optional fields allowing the PI to 
customize and enhance the information made available include details on sponsors and partners, 
survey instruments, an analysis plan, and other supporting documents. Help is available if the PI 
encounters any problem.

The AEA registry system will provide the PI with reminders to update the registration of an RCT at
appropriate points in the trial's lifecycle. For example, the submitted end date will trigger an email
asking the PI to enter post-trial information. If the trial has been extended, the PI can update the
trial with the new end date.

We encourage you to explore the registry and to register your RCTs.

The committee on the registry for social experiments
Larry Katz (chair)
Esther Duflo
Pinelopi Goldberg
Duncan Thomas

I talked about this before here

Monday, November 18, 2013

Identifying Predictable Players

Giving a talk at Duke today about "Identifying Predictable Players: Relating Behavioral Types and Predictable Subjects".

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Theory of Good Intentions

Paul Niehaus alerted me to his new paper while I was at UCSD, "A Theory of Good Intentions".

The abstract reads:

Why is other-regarding behavior often misguided? I study a new explanation grounded in the idea that altruists want to think they are helping. Frictions arise because perception and reality can diverge ex post when feedback is limited (as for example when donating to international development projects). Among other things the model helps explain why donors have a limited interest in learning about effectiveness; why intermediaries may market based on need, effectiveness, or neither; and why beneficiaries may not be able to do better than accept this situation. For policy-makers, the model implies a generic tradeoff between the quantity and quality of generosity.

In the Intro he writes

Economists have predominantly taken the view that funders want to be effective but find it difficult to learn how. [..] This paper examines an alternative (and complementary) interpretation: funders do not want to be more effective. Instead, they want to think that they are effective. Yet perception and reality can diverge. To illustrate the core premise, consider donating to help feed malnourished African children. This induces agreeable thoughts of children eating. Now suppose you learn that the charity in question is ineffective -- perhaps an expose reveals serious fraud. Presumably this reduces your satisfaction. What is more interesting is the counterfactual: if you had not learned of the fraud, you would have continued to experience “warm glow” (Andreoni, 1989) thinking about your impact even though in reality no such impact existed. Your altruistic preferences cannot literally be over children’s outcomes as these occur on another continent, outside of your experience. Instead, perceptions count. This raises the question: how and how well will learning work in a market where perceptions are the product?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

Escaping Statistical Discrimination

From geekcutlture: (Had to put it here, so I could find it again). HT: Aaron Roth

I remembered it as: Now: The other dog answers: Not only do they know you're a poodle, but also that you're dating a black labrador... I like my version better, but here's the original...

If someone has some drawing skills, it'd be great to get a nicer version of this great joke, maybe corrected for my misremembering of what those dogs looked like in the first place:)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Strong Women in Movies

The Guardian write about "Joss Whedon: why are his strong women characters still so unusual?"

They write

"You may say that the fact that he is about to be honoured again at next week's inaugural Make Equality Reality event in Beverly Hills is a slim pretext for airing a seven-year-old speech. And you would be right. But the fact that he could plausibly make the same speech again seems a good enough reason to run it again. For, really, which one of the points he makes is no longer valid?"

They go on

In his speech, Whedon imagines himself at an imaginary press conference answering the same "dumb question" he is asked "400 times" by reporters – to whit, why does he write strong women characters? Starting off with the anodyne answer that it was due to his "strong mother", his "engaged father", the fact that female characters are allowed emotions, or just because "women are hot", Whedon finally shouts: "Why aren't you asking the 100 other guys why they don't write strong female characters?"

He goes on, in a speech that should act as a rebuff to every Seth MacFarlane boob "gag" at awards ceremonies, to point out: "Equality is not a concept, not something we should be striving for, equality is like gravity … misogyny is life out of balance and it sucks something out of the soul of every man and women confronted with it."

His final answer to why he writes about strong women? "Because you are still asking me the question."

Here is the link to the video

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A different kind of unraveling

The economist writes about "Who will sing Aida?"

"Today lots of young singers take roles that are far too big for their voices. 
Agents cheer them on, eager for their clients to enter the spotlight. Casting directors increasingly 
hire them, keen for comely faces. And opera houses looking to keep expenses low are grateful for the 
cheaper talent.

But whereas a young violinist can accept a prestigious gig without reservation, a young singer has to 
consider his vocal cords. If used in roles that are too heavy, the vocal cords thicken, producing a less 
attractive sound. They can even tear, leaving the singer virtually voiceless. "I've seen so many young 
singers take on big roles and damaging their voices," says Stephen Costello, a 31-year-old tenor who 
made a splash with his Metropolitan Opera debut when he was 26. "Everybody has seen it."


"The vocal maturity necessary for bigger roles tends to come when singers are in their late 30s and early 40s. Birgit Nilsson, a legendary soprano, remained in formidable vocal shape well into her 60s, and she continued to portray youthful heroines such as Wagner's Isolde and Verdi's Turandot when she was well into middle age. But more exacting demands for how stars look have left some opera houses reluctant to cast ageing opera stars in youthful roles."

and finally

"Opera singers have a reputation for acting like prima donnas. But if they hope to have long careers they may have to become more prima-donna-like still: they will have to learn to say no."

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sweden: Women in Movies

The guardian writes that "Swedish cinemas take aim at gender bias with Bechdel test rating"

"You expect movie ratings to tell you whether a film contains nudity, sex, profanity or violence. Now cinemas in Sweden are introducing a new rating to highlight gender bias, or rather the absence of it.

To get an A rating, a movie must pass the so-called Bechdel test, which means it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man."


"The state-funded Swedish Film Institute supports the initiative, which is starting to catch on. Scandinavian cable TV channel Viasat Film says it will start using the ratings in its film reviews and has scheduled an A-rated "Super Sunday" on 17 November, when it will show only films that pass the test, such as The Hunger Games, The Iron Lady and Savages."

I wrote about the Bechdel test here, and women in movies here

Sunday, November 10, 2013

France: Criminalizing Prostitution

Selma James writes in the guardian on "Sex workers need support – but not from the 'hands off my whore' brigade"

The article states that

"The 343 French intellectual men who signed a statement – "Hands off my whore" – defending their right to buy sexual services has infuriated women and caused wide controversy. Not only does it tell us what they think of sex workers, but of women generally and particularly what they think they can get away with saying publicly at this moment in time.

I have just signed a feminist statement opposing France's attempt to criminalise clients. The proposed law would impose a €1,500 fine on those paying for sex, double for a second offence. My motive for opposing it is entirely different from that of these men – not men's sexual freedom but women's ability to make a living without being criminalised and deprived of safety and protection."

The article ends with

"French sex workers must have the last word. Morgane Merteuil, general secretary of Strass (Syndicat du Travail Sexuel), which campaigns for decriminalisation, told the men claiming to defend them: "We are nobody's whores, especially not yours … If we fight for our rights it is largely to have more power against you, so we can dictate our terms … "

A similar post appeared at Al's Market Design blog yesterday, I guess from the somewhat more conservative telegraph, which is probably closer to the US view on prostitution...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Gender and the Society for Neuroscience Conference

On Sunday, I'll give a talk at the Society For Neuroscience Conference in San Diego, in a special session on Gender Bias: Facing the Facts for the Future of Neuroscience.

Sunday, Nov 10, 2013, 8:30 AM -11:00 AM

To address the daunting challenges in neuroscience, we must effectively utilize the best scientific talent. Recent studies suggest that gender bias is limiting our ability to do this. In this symposium, leading social scientists will present data on the prevalence of gender bias, its influence on our decisions, and its effects on the career paths of women. Interventions to reduce gender bias in the scientific workplace will be discussed.
Jennifer Raymond

106.01. Introduction
  106.02. Can institution-wide interventions ameliorate unconscious bias: Evidence beyond observational studies
H. Valantine;
Sr Assoc Dean, Diversity and Leadership, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA.
  106.03. Redefining merit to justify discrimination
E. Uhlmann;
Management and Human Resources Dept, HEC Paris - School of Management, Jouy-en-Josas, FRANCE.
  106.04. But I thought I was being nice: How benevolent sexism undermines women's advancement
P. Glick;
Dept Psychology, Lawrence University, Appleton, WI.
  106.05. Gender, competitiveness, and career choices
M. Niederle;
Dept Economics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.
  106.06. Closing Remarks

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ha! again...

BBC news has the following article: "Physicists probe urination 'splashback' problem"  by James Morgan

They write:

The work is led by Prof Tadd Truscott and Randy Hurd of the "Splash Lab" at Brigham Young in Provo, Utah, who jokingly refer to themselves as "wizz kids".

Before that:

"In response to harsh and repeated criticisms from our mothers and several failed relationships with women, we present the splash dynamics of a simulated human male urine stream," reads their conference abstract.

""It turns out you are five times as far away when you stand up - and that's a pretty significant difference in impact velocity for those droplets of urine," said Mr Hurd.

Impact with the toilet water is captured  in a video  by the team.

"You can see the droplets create a large cavity in the water, which then collapses, causing even greater splashback. The amount of splash is considerable," Mr Hurd explained.

"It seems that sitting down is the best sure-fire way to avoid unwanted splashing in a traditional toilet."

See also my former blogpost on this...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Incentives for donations...

Bob Slonim, about whose work on blood donation I talked about here, sent me the following email:

"In our work examining the role of incentives to motivate blood donations, it is remarkable how little (and difficult) it is to have a conversation about, and factor in, the benefits to potential recipients. As Economists, and especially with regards to bone marrow and organ donations, I think it is critical to remain diligent about the benefits in the improvement in the quality of lives, and the lives saved, when incentives (or anything else) can effectively improve supply.  If we allow the debate to center solely on the effects to the donors, without any consideration for the recipients, we have a very steep mountain to climb to influence policy, and evidence will continue to take a back seat, indeed may not even get onto the table, compared to other considerations."

It certainly looks that way... 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Incentives for Bone Marrow Donations

Nicola Lacetera, Mario Macis and Sarah Stith "Removing Financial Barriers to Organ and Bone Marrow Donation: The Effect of Leave and Tax Legislation in the U.S." Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming.

This seems like a particularly important topic, especially in light of my post two days ago

Their abstract reads:

"In an attempt to alleviate the shortfall in organs and bone marrow available for transplants, many U.S. states passed legislation providing leave to organ and bone marrow donors and/or tax benefits for live and deceased organ and bone marrow donations and to employers of donors. We exploit cross-state variation in the timing and passage of such legislation to analyze its impact on organ donations by living and deceased persons, on measures of the quality of the organs transplanted, and on the number of bone marrow donations. We find that these provisions did not have a significant impact on the quantity of organs donated. The leave legislation, however, did have a positive impact on bone marrow donations. We also find some evidence of a positive impact on the quality of organ transplants, measured by post-transplant survival rates. Our results suggest that these types of legislation work for moderately invasive procedures such as bone marrow donation, but may be too low for organ donation, which is riskier and more burdensome to the donor."

In light of this see the recent controversy on paying bone marrow donors at Al Roth's blog here, and here is another post detailing that actually it turns out that some government agency decides what an organ is, and hence to what body parts the NOTA (National Organ Transplant Act) applies to, and hence which transactions make it a felony to include monetary payments. Recently it was decided that bone marrow is an organ (independently on how it gets collected)..:(

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Money and Blood Donation

 Nicola Lacetera, Mario Macis and Robert Slonim "Economic Rewards to Motivate Blood Donations"
Science 24 May 2013:  Vol. 340 no. 6135 pp. 927-928

To set the stage they write that (taking out citations..)

"The position and guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and several national blood collection agencies for nearly 40 years have been based on the view that offering economic incentives to blood donors is detrimental to the quantity and safety of the blood supply. The guidelines suggest that blood should be obtained from unpaid volunteers only. However, whether economic incentives positively or negatively affect blood donations (and other prosocial activities) has remained the subject of debate since the positions were established.''

They conclude

"These studies inform, yet limit, policy implications. First, because rewards were only offered one time or occasionally in all of the studies, we cannot infer the effect of offering rewards all the time. Nonetheless, the success of one-time or sporadic rewards is important because rewards can be offered at a specific time of greatest need, as shortages often occur at predictable times (e.g., winter). [..]


Third, items offered are framed as gifts or rewards rather than “getting paid.”


Fourth, rewards are not provided for making a blood donation, but rather for showing up to donate, which removes the incentive for people to provide false information so that they qualify to donate and consequently obtain the rewards. This practice may be critical for blood safety when incentives are offered.

Fifth, the evidence discussed so far comes from wealthy countries.


Finally, although we focused on studies of the effects of economic rewards, other mechanisms should be investigated. For instance, symbolic rewards and social recognition have enhanced donations among some groups, but not all."

It is important to replicate things we all "knew" are true...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Nalini Ambady

I just heard the sad news that Nalini Ambady didn't find a bone marrow donor and passed away..

I remember taking a class in my first year at Harvard from her, Social Psychology for Psych Ph.D.'s, it was a great class. She generously agreed to have 5 of us econ students be part of the class, since there were only 15 Psychology students, I think we changed the class a lot. This class still influences me, and I recommend all behavioral students to take a psychology class...

Stanford News writes that

"Of the roughly dozen people who were potential matches for Ambady, however, half turned out to be incompatible or only superficial matches.

The others chose not to donate, a result that is common in bone marrow transplant cases. There are many reasons people ultimately decide not to donate, including cultural taboos or fears of pain or inconvenience. (Donating bone marrow is only slightly more complex than donating blood, though it requires multiple visits.) Some people's contact information simply falls out of the system, especially the case with college-age donors who frequently change addresses.

Eberhardt and Markus said that SPARQ will partner with bone marrow registries to develop strategies for enrolling more people, and especially minorities, to participate in cheek swab tests, and also to encourage people to actually donate later on when they are identified as a match."

It may be time for us economists to think more about how to use incentives and encourage donations, or why there is such a big pushback from using monetary incentives...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Google autocomplete

The guardian has a funny article on google autocomplete: "Google's autocomplete spells out our darkest thoughts"

"It is a truth algorithmically acknowledged that a man needs to ejaculate and a woman needs to be put in her place.

Perturbed by the prejudice of the previous sentence? You should be. But don't shoot the messenger, particularly as that messenger is from the United Nations. An ad campaign developed for UN Women, reveals just how pervasive discrimination against women is through the use of genuine Google search suggestions."

Friday, November 1, 2013

What can we gain from the Implicit Association Test

There is a new meta-study (the psychologists really like those) on "Predicting ethnic and racial discrimination: A meta-analysis of IAT criterion studies." by Oswald, Frederick L.; Mitchell, Gregory; Blanton, Hart; Jaccard, James; Tetlock, Philip E. that appeared in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 105(2), Aug 2013, 171-192.

The abstract reads:

"This article reports a meta-analysis of studies examining the predictive validity of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) and explicit measures of bias for a wide range of criterion measures of discrimination. The meta analysis estimates the heterogeneity of effects within and across 2 domains of intergroup bias (interracial and interethnic), 6 criterion categories (interpersonal behavior, person perception, policy preference, microbehavior, response time, and brain activity), 2 versions of the IAT (stereotype and attitude IATs), 3 strategies for measuring explicit bias (feeling thermometers, multi-item explicit measures such as the Modern Racism Scale, and ad hoc measures of intergroup attitudes and stereotypes), and 4 criterion-scoring methods (computed majority–minority difference scores, relative majority–minority ratings, minority-only ratings, and majority-only ratings). IATs were poor predictors of every criterion category other than brain activity, and the IATs performed no better than simple explicit measures. These results have important implications for the construct validity of IATs, for competing theories of prejudice and attitude–behavior relations, and for measuring and modeling prejudice and discrimination."

A sentence from the conclusion

"Overall, simple explicit measures of bias yielded predictions no worse than the IATs".

I remember the first time I heard about IAT, I thought it was clever and it would help us make predictions. But, as always, this was an empirical question, not one where what matters are beliefs...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Self-Esteem of Men suffers from female success

In the new issue of JPSP there is an interesting article by Kate A. Ratliff and Shigehiro Oishi  "Gender Differences in Implicit Self-Esteem Following a Romantic Partner’s Success or Failure"

The abstract reads

This research examined the influence of a romantic partner’s success or failure on one’s own implicit and explicit self-esteem. In Experiment 1, men had lower implicit self-esteem when their partner did well at a “social intelligence” task than when their partner did poorly. Women’s implicit self-esteem was unaffected by partner performance. Experiments 2 and 3 showed that Dutch men’s implicit self-esteem was negatively affected by their romantic partner’s success. In Experiment 4, we replicated Experiments 1–3 in both the academic and social domains, and in Experiment 5, we demonstrated that men’s implicit self-esteem is negatively influenced by thinking about a romantic partner’s success both when the success is relative and when it is not. In sum, men’s implicit self-esteem is lower when a partner succeeds than when a partner fails, whereas women’s implicit self-esteem is not. These gender differences have important implications for understanding social comparison in romantic relationships.

Most of their results are only present in an Implicit Association Task, and not in explicit measures of self-esteem, here is one of their typical figures.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New Publishing Practices in Psychology

Luke Coffman pointed me to the following: "What’s New at Psychological Science
An Interview with Editor in Chief Eric Eich"

One big thing is Enhanced Reporting on Methods, which includes something like:

For each study reported in your manuscript, check the boxes below to:
(1) Confirm that (a) the total number of excluded observations and (b) the reasons for doing so have been reported in the Method section(s) [ ]. If no observations were excluded, check here [ ].
(2) Confirm that all independent variables or manipulations, whether successful or failed, have been reported in the Method section(s) [ ]. If there were no independent variables or manipulations, as in the case of correlational research, check here [ ].
(3) Confirm that all dependent variables or measures that were analyzed for this article’s target research question have been reported in the Method section(s) [ ].
(4) Confirm (a) how sample size was determined and (b) your data-collection stopping rule have been reported in the Method section(s) [ ] and provide the page number(s) on which this information appears in your manuscript:

Then they go on

"Several points merit attention. First, as shown above, the four-item Disclosure Statement applies only “to each study reported in your manuscript.” Originally, we considered adding a fifth item covering additional studies, including pilot work, that were not mentioned in the main text but that tested the same research question. However, feedback from several sources suggested that this would open a large can of worms. To paraphrase one commentator (Leif Nelson), it is all too easy for a researcher to think that an excluded study does not count. Furthermore, this actually puts a meaningful burden on the “full disclosure” researcher. The four items in the Disclosure Statement shown above are equally easy for everyone to answer; either that information is already in the manuscript or they can go back and add it. But a potential fifth item, covering additional studies, is different. The researcher who convinces himself or herself that one or more excluded studies don’t count has now saved the hours it might take to write them up for this query. File-drawering studies is damaging, but we are not convinced that this will solve that problem. A better solution involves preregistration of study methods and analyses — an approach we also take up."

Another big item seems Promoting Open Practices. They go on

"Over the past several months, a group of 11 researchers led by Brian Nosek has been grappling with these and other issues. The result is an Open Practices document that proposes three forms of acknowledgment:

  • Open Data badge, which is earned for making publicly available the digitally shareable data necessary to reproduce the reported result.
  • Open Materials badge, which is earned for making publicly available the digitally shareable materials/methods necessary to reproduce the reported results.
  • Preregistered badge, which is earned for having a preregistered design and analysis plan for the reported research and reporting results according to that plan. An analysis plan includes specification of the variables and the analyses that will be conducted. Preregistration is an effective countermeasure to the file-drawer problem alluded to earlier in connection with Disclosure Statements.

The criteria for each badge — and the processes by which they are awarded — are described in the Open Practices document along with answers to frequently asked questions. The document proposes two ways for certifying organizations to award badges for individual studies: disclosure or peer review. For now, PS will follow the simpler disclosure method.

Manuscripts accepted for publication on or after 1 January, 2014, are eligible to earn any or all of the three aforementioned badges. Journal staff will contact the corresponding authors with details on the badge-awarding process.

Psychological Science is the first journal to implement the badge program, so changes are sure to come as editors and authors gain experience with it in the field. Again, I welcome comments and suggestions for improvement from our community."

I'll be curious about their usage and success with the registry: I have blogged about similar attempts in Economics before here.

A big impetus has been work by Simmons, Nelson, and Simonsohn, some of which I talked about here

Monday, October 28, 2013

How to get answers to loaded questions

My former student Luke Coffman has a new paper joint with Katie Coffman and Keith Ericson on "The Size of the LGBT Population and the Magnitude of Anti-Gay Sentiment are Substantially Underestimated"

The abstract reads:
Measuring sexual orientation, behavior, and related opinions is difficult because responses are biased  towards socially acceptable answers. We test whether measurements are biased even when responses are private and anonymous and use our results to identify sexuality-related norms and how they vary. We run an experiment on 2,516 U.S. participants. Participants were randomly assigned to either a “best practices method” that was computer-based and provides privacy and anonymity, or to a “veiled elicitation method” that further conceals individual responses. Answers in the veiled method preclude inference about any particular individual, but can be used to accurately estimate statistics about the population. Comparing the two methods shows sexuality-related questions receive biased responses even under current best practices, and, for many questions, the bias is substantial. The veiled method increased self-reports of non-heterosexual identity by 65% (p<0.05) and same-sex sexual experiences by 59% (p<0.01). The veiled method also increased the rates of anti-gay sentiment. Respondents were 67% more likely to express disapproval of an openly gay manager at work (p<0.01) and 71% more likely to say it is okay to discriminate against lesbian, gay, or bisexual individuals (p<0.01).The results show non-heterosexuality and anti-gay sentiment are substantially underestimated in existing surveys, and the privacy afforded by current best practices is not always sufficient to eliminate bias. Finally, our results identify two social norms: it is perceived as socially undesirable both to be open about being gay, and to be unaccepting of gay individuals.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Academic fraud

The Economist has a nice article on a different type of academic fraud: "Looks Good on Paper". I guess we all got "invitations" to present our work in Economics and everything else style conferences, here is how to push that further...

"these criminals were producing something more intellectual: fake scholarly articles which they sold to academics, and counterfeit versions of existing medical journals in which they sold publication slots.

As China tries to take its seat at the top table of global academia, the criminal underworld has seized on a feature in its research system: the fact that research grants and promotions are awarded on the basis of the number of articles published, not on the quality of the original research. This has fostered an industry of plagiarism, invented research and fake journals that Wuhan University estimated in 2009 was worth $150m, a fivefold increase on just two years earlier."

They cite a study from PNAS:

Ferric C. Fang R. Grant Steen, and Arturo Casadevall, "Misconduct accounts for the majority of retracted scientiļ¬c publications"

Their abstract includes:

"A detailed review of all 2,047 biomedical and life-science research articles indexed by PubMed as retracted on May 3, 2012 revealed that only 21.3% of retractions were attributable to error. In contrast, 67.4% of retractions were attributable to misconduct, including fraud or suspected fraud (43.4%), duplicate publication (14.2%), and plagiarism (9.8%)."

The main picture is

Friday, October 25, 2013

ESA in Santa Cruz

The next two days: ESA Santa Cruz!
Below is the progam

October 24, 5:30 - 8:00 pm

  • Welcome Reception, Hotel Paradox
  • Registration Desk Open, Hotel Paradox

Friday, October 25, 8:00 am -9:00 am

Plenary Session: Rachel Croson, University of Texas Arlington, "Experimental Economics Imperialism"
Chair: Tim Cason

Friday, October 25, 7:30 am - 6:30 pm

Registration Desk Open, Hotel Paradox
Paradox Breakfast Buffet, Solaire Restaurant, 6:30 - 8:30 am
Paradox Lunch Buffet, Solaire Restaurant, 12:00 - 1:20 pm

Friday, October 25, 9am - 6:00 pm

Experimental Software and Hardware Demos, Hotel Paradox

Friday, October 25, 9:20am - 10:20am

Session 1, Sequoia A: Auctions: Bidding Behavior

Session 2, Sequoia B: Conflict and Contests

Session 3, Sequoia C: Games: Sophistication and Expertise

Session 4, Sequoia D: Market Design 1

Session 5, Grove: Risk Preference

Session 6, Cypress: Interpersonal Influence

Session 7, Fitness Center: Cooperation and Institutions 2

Friday, October 25, 10:40am - 12:00pm

Session 1, Sequoia A: Decision Making Under Ambiguity

Session 2, Sequoia B: Repeated Games 1

Session 3, Sequoia C: Finance 1

Session 4, Sequoia D: Belief Formation

Session 5, Grove: Environmental 1

Session 6, Cypress: Bargaining (Behavioral)

Session 7, Fitness Center: Cooperation and Institutions 1

Friday, October 25, 1:20pm - 2:40pm

Session 1, Sequoia A: Networks

Session 2, Sequoia B: Repeated Games 2

Session 3, Sequoia C: Finance 2

Session 4, Sequoia D: Special Session: Pay Protocols

Session 5, Grove: Environmental 2

Session 6, Cypress: Labor 1

Session 7, Fitness Center: Beliefs and Others Behavior

Friday, October 25, 3:00pm - 4:20pm

Session 1, Sequoia A: Cooperation and Institutions 3

Session 2, Sequoia B: Repeated Games 3

Session 3, Sequoia C: Industrial Organization 1

Session 4, Sequoia D: Biased Beliefs

Session 5, Grove: Behavioral Finance

Session 6, Cypress: Inequality and Social Preferences

Session 7, Fitness Center: Legislative Bargaining and Committtee Behavior

Friday, October 25, 4:40pm - 6:00pm

Session 1, Sequoia A: Cooperation and Institutions 4

Session 2, Sequoia B: Risk Preference: Social Effects

Session 3, Sequoia C: Industrial Organization 2

Session 4, Sequoia D: Norms

Session 5, Grove: Labor 2

Session 6, Cypress: Charitable Contributions 1

Session 7, Fitness Center: Voting Behavior

Saturday, October 26, 8:00am - 9:00am

Plenary Session:
Welcome: Sheldon Kamieniecki, Dean of Social Sciences, UCSC
Speaker: Al Roth, Stanford University, "Market Design" [tentative]
Chair: Dan Friedman

Saturday, October 26, 8:00 am - 10:00 am

Registration Desk Open, Hotel Paradox
Paradox Breakfast Buffet, Solaire Restaurant, 6:30 - 8:30 am
Paradox Lunch Buffet, Solaire Restaurant, 12:00 - 1:20 pm

Saturday, October 26, 9am - 6:00 pm

Experimental Software and Hardware Demos, Hotel Paradox

Saturday, October 26, 9:20am - 10:20am

Session 1, Sequoia A: Learning

Session 2, Sequoia B: Social Information 1

Session 3, Sequoia C: Survey Methods: Characterizing Behavior

Session 4, Sequoia D: Gender 1

Session 5, Grove: Market Design 2

Session 6, Cypress: Charity 2

Session 7, Fitness Center: Dynamic Choice

Saturday, October 26, 10:40am - 12:00pm

Session 1, Sequoia A: Spatial Interactions

Session 2, Sequoia B: Social Information 2

Session 3, Sequoia C: Lab to Field 1

Session 4, Sequoia D: Gender 2

Session 5, Grove: Firm Behavior 1

Session 6, Cypress: Lies and Deception

Session 7, Fitness Center: Tournaments and Contests 1

Saturday, October 26, 1:20pm - 2:40pm

Session 1, Sequoia A: Cooperation and Institutions 5

Session 2, Sequoia B: Experimental Methodology

Session 3, Sequoia C: Social Preferences 1

Session 4, Sequoia D: Time Preferences

Session 5, Grove: Strategic Sophistication

Session 6, Cypress: Gender and Stereotypes

Session 7, Fitness Center: Tournaments and Contests 2

Session 8, Poolside: Preferences and Behavior

Saturday, October 26, 3:00pm - 4:20pm

Session 1, Sequoia A: Coordination

Session 2, Sequoia B: Lab to Field 2

Session 3, Sequoia C: Social Preferences 2

Session 4, Sequoia D: Charitable Contributions 2

Session 5, Grove: Experiments in Development

Session 6, Cypress: Macroeconomics

Session 7, Fitness Center: Auctions: Institutions

Saturday, October 26, 4:40pm - 6:00pm

Session 1, Sequoia A: Communication and Cooperation

Session 2, Sequoia B: Lab to Field 3

Session 3, Sequoia C: Social Preferences 3

Session 4, Sequoia D: New Data: Inference from Decision Times

Session 5, Grove: Reference Dependent Preferences

Session 6, Cypress: Trust and Trustworthiness

Session 7, Fitness Center: Auctions: Incentives