To explore why university students borrow significant amounts of money in student loans, we conducted a questionnaire survey including questions that assume a hypothetical situation in which a subject needs to borrow money for his/her school expenses. Our main findings are twofold. First, the subjects who chose to take out student loans underestimated their future risk of personal bankruptcy. Second, the amount of money that subjects chose to borrow depended on the form of the application documents. For example, when the form asked for an annual amount, they borrowed significantly less than when the form asked for a monthly amount.
Based on Hinloopen and Soetevent (2005), this paper experimentally investigates which of two types of programs refrains the cartel stability: fine reduction program or rewards program. The former program grants full or partial immunity from fines for cartel members who report a cartel to the antitrust authority; The latter grants rewards for the whistleblower. We find the followings. The average bid price in the former program is higher than that in the latter. The similar results hold for both the rate of cartel activities and that of cartel recidivism. Thus, the latter is more desirable from the viewpoint of cartel deterrence.
This paper examines whether there are differences in behavioral characteristics between bone marrow bank registrants, stem cell donors, and the general population using a questionnaire survey of bone marrow bank registrants who have received notification of matching with a transplant patient, and a questionnaire survey of the general population at Osaka University. The main results are as follows. First, registered bone marrow bankers and stem cell donors are more altruistic, have lower time discount rates, and have a higher risk tolerance than the general population. Second, the probability of stem cell donation is higher among regular blood donors and those who have indicated their intention to donate their organs. Third, the probability of stem cell donation is higher in an environment where paid donor leave and paid holidays are readily available. Fourth, individuals with high conformity are more likely to register with a bone marrow bank, but are more likely not to donate when asked to do so. Fifth, although the time discount rates and present bias of registrants and donors are lower than in the general population, those with higher time discount rates, including present bias, have a higher probability of donating stem cells.
Income tax is considered equivalent to consumption tax in the public finance literature and there exits tax rates whose effective tax burdens are equivalent; 20% income tax and 25% consumption tax for example. However, it is not obvious whether people think in that way. We use a choice experiment to test the equivalence between income and consumption taxes. Subjects were asked to choose a preferred tax among 20% income tax and 25% consumption tax, 20% income tax and 22% consumption tax, and 20% income tax and 20% consumption tax under a given set of income and consumption parameters. We find that (1) when effective tax burdens are equivalent, subjects prefer income tax to consumption tax, (2) when the nominal consumption tax rate is higher than the nominal income tax rate, they prefer income tax, despite heavier tax burden, and (3) when nominal tax rates are identical, they prefer consumption tax. These findings imply that the subjects do not think theoretically equivalent taxes are equivalent because the subjects miscalculate the consumption tax burden. Moreover, our result shows that only one-third of the subjects appear to choose a tax regime based on accurately calculated tax burdens.
In this paper, we examine the effectiveness of nudge messages which are used to encourage early evacuation during heavy rain disasters. Based on a questionnaire survey of Hiroshima residents, we analyze the impact of behavioral economic messages on residents' willingness to evacuate when a disaster occurs hypothetically. We also analyze the heterogeneity of message effectiveness. In addition to that, we analyze the changes of residents' willingness and behavior in the long-term with the follow-up survey conducted 8 months after the original survey. The results show that messages which communicate social norms and potential externalities in terms of expressions of loss or gain are effective in activating the decision to evacuate immediately. On the other hand, based on the results of the analysis of the follow-up survey, messages which indicate potential externalities in terms of gain, lead residents to intention to evacuate and preparation behavior in the long-term.
Given the growing aging population, it has never been more important to understand economic decisions made by the elderly. Time preferences influence a variety of economic decisions. However, time-discount rates and time consistency among the elderly have not been fully investigated in the literature. We conduct a field experiment involving intertemporal discounting tasks for the elderly participants to examine the relationship between time preferences and individual characteristics. The results show that the degree of discounting follows an inverse U-shaped pattern with respect to age among the elderly participants. We also find reverse time-inconsistency or future bias, which is more likely to be observed among the very old with poor health conditions.
This review (in Japanese) summarizes a role of behavioral economics in consumer protection policies. I specifically focus on unfair and deceptive practices in marketplaces, and discuss implications of recent behavioral-economics research in consumer protection policies.