In a large randomized controlled trial, we test the hypothesis that incentives for physical activity can improve academic performance. We found strong support for this hypothesis: University students who were incentivized to go to the gym had a significant improvement in academic performance, by, on average, 0.15 standard deviations compared to a control group that did not receive any incentives. The success of this indirect incentive for academic performance emphasizes the importance of non-cognitive skills in achieving academic goals. Students who were incentivized to exercise report improved self-control and a healthier life-style. Overall, the study demonstrates that incentivizing exercise can be an important tool in improving educational achievements.
Her research focuses on economic experiments based on game theory. She investigates how people strategically interact in various setups, for example, when some people can spy their opponent’s actions or when people can walk away from their partners and meet new ones. In another paper, Natalie also studies how people vary the amount of risk they take on behalf of other people, depending on what they learn about the outcome of their choices.
Social norms are a ubiquitous feature of social life and pervade almost every aspect of human social interaction. However, despite their importance, we still have relatively little empirical knowledge about the forces that drive the formation, the maintenance and the decay of social norms. In particular, our knowledge about how norms affect behavior and how norm obedience and violations shape subsequent normative standards is quite limited. Here, we present a new method that makes norms identifiable and continuously observable and, thus, empirically measurable. We show – in the context of public goods provision – the quick emergence of a widely accepted social cooperation norm that demands high contributions but – in the absence of the punishment of free-riders – norm violations are frequent and, therefore, the initial normative consensus as well as the high cooperation demands required by the norm break down. However, when peer punishment is possible, norm violations are rare from the beginning and a strong and stable normative consensus as well as high contribution requests prevail throughout. Thus, when norm compliance is costly social norms tend to unravel unless norm violations are kept to a minimum. In addition, our results indicate that – in an environment that has previously shown to be detrimental for cooperation and welfare – the opportunity to form a social norm unambiguously causes high public good contributions and group welfare when peer-punishment is possible.
Our experiments investigate the extent to which traders learn from the price, differentiating between situations where orders are submitted before versus after the price has realized. In simultaneous markets with bids that are conditional on the price, traders neglect the information conveyed by the hypothetical value of the price. In sequential markets where the price is known prior to the bid submission, traders react to price to an extent that is roughly consistent with the benchmark theory. The difference’s robustness to a number of variations provides sights about the drivers of this effect
We provide both an *axiomatic* and a *neuropsychological* characterization of the dependence of choice probabilities on deadlines in the softmax form, with time-independent utility function and time-dependent accuracy parameter.
The softmax model (also known as Multinomial Logit Model or Power Luce Model) is the most widely used model of preference discovery in all fields of decision making, from Quantal Response Equilibria to Discrete Choice Analysis, from Psychophysics and Neuroscience to Combinatorial Optimization. Our axiomatic characterization of softmax permits to empirically test its descriptive validity and to better understand its conceptual underpinnings as a theory of agents rationality. Our neuropsychological foundation provides a computational model that may explain softmax emergence in human multialternative choice behavior and that naturally extends the dominant Diffusion Model paradigm of binary choice.
Framing effects are often attributed to misperceptions. In this study, however, we document a large and robust framing effect that is not reflective of misperceptions. Our framing effect persists when agents gain experience, pay attention, and are provided with information that prevents miscalculations. We propose and provide evidence as to why our framing effect persists: the majority is driven by self-serving motives. Our results suggest that framing effects, as well as other behavioral biases driven by self-serving motives, may be notably robust to de-biasing conditions.
Katherine Coffman is an assistant professor of business administration in the Negotiations, Organizations & Markets unit at Harvard Business School. Before joining HBS, she was an assistant professor of economics at The Ohio State University. Professor Coffman studies the dynamics of decision making by individuals and groups, and particularly how gender differences affect outcomes in economically significant contexts. Recognizing that innovative ideas and good answers are valuable only if they are put forward, Professor Coffman employs controlled laboratory settings to investigate the factors that predict whether a person will decide to volunteer ideas, and to measure the effect of these decisions on outcomes.
Will college students who set goals work harder and perform better? We report the results of two field experiments that involved four thousand college students. One experiment asked treated students to set goals for performance in the course; the other asked treated students to set goals for a particular task. Task-based goals had large and robust positive effects on the level of task completion, and task-based goals also increased course performance. We also find that performance-based goals had positive but small effects on course performance. We use theory that builds on present bias and loss aversion to interpret our results.