Institutional Affiliation: Brigham Young University
|Are Two Bads Better Than One? A Model of Sensory Limitations|
with Lars J. Lefgren, John E. Stovall: w25060
We present a theoretical framework which explains the optimizing behavior of individuals who are exposed to many latent stimuli but prone to experience only the most salient one. We show that individuals with such preferences may find it optimal to engage in seemingly dysfunctional behavior such as self-harm. Our model also explains the behavior of individuals experiencing depression or trapped by multiple competing problems. We present experimental evidence suggesting such preferences explain the behavior of more than two thirds of subjects exposed to single and multiple painful stimuli.
|The other 1%: Class Leavening, Contamination and Voting for Redistribution|
with Lars Lefgren, David Sims: w24617
We perform an experiment to measure how changes in the effort exerted by a small fraction of a low-reward group affect the willingness of the high-reward group to vote for redistributive taxation. We find that a substantial fraction of high reward subjects vote in favor of greater redistribution when a very small fraction of high-effort individuals is added to a pool of otherwise low-effort poor. Contaminating a group of high-effort poor with a small number of low-effort individuals causes the most generous rich subjects to vote for less redistribution. These results suggest that anecdotes about the deservedness of a small group of transfer recipients may be effective in changing support for redistribution. We find large gender differences in the results. Relative to men, women respond ...