Competition and Moral Behavior: A Meta-Analysis of Forty-Five Crowd-Sourced Experimental Designs
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS),
Does competition affect moral behavior? This fundamental question has been debated among leading scholars for centuries, and more recently, it has been tested in experimental studies yielding a body of rather inconclusive empirical evidence. A potential source of ambivalent empirical results on the same hypothesis is design heterogeneity—variation in true effect sizes across various reasonable experimental research protocols. To provide further evidence on whether competition affects moral behavior and to examine whether the generalizability of a single experimental study is jeopardized by design heterogeneity, we invited independent research teams to contribute experimental designs to a crowd-sourced project. In a large-scale online data collection, 18,123 experimental participants were randomly allocated to 45 randomly selected experimental designs out of 95 submitted designs. We find a small adverse effect of competition on moral behavior in a meta-analysis of the pooled data. The crowd-sourced design of our study allows for a clean identification and estimation of the variation in effect sizes above and beyond what could be expected due to sampling variance. We find substantial design heterogeneity—estimated to be about 1.6 times as large as the average standard error of effect size estimates of the 45 research designs—indicating that the informativeness and generalizability of results based on a single experimental design are limited. Drawing strong conclusions about the underlying hypotheses in the presence of substantive design heterogeneity requires moving toward much larger data collections on various experimental designs testing the same hypothesis.
Where Do STEM Graduates Stem from? The Intergenerational Transmission of Comparative Skill Advantages
IWH Discussion Papers,
The standard economic model of occupational choice following a basic Roy model emphasizes individual selection and comparative advantage, but the sources of comparative advantage are not well understood. We employ a unique combination of Dutch survey and registry data that links math and language skills across generations and permits analysis of the intergenerational transmission of comparative skill advantages. Exploiting within-family between-subject variation in skills, we show that comparative advantages in math of parents are significantly linked to those of their children. A causal interpretation follows from a novel IV estimation that isolates variation in parent skill advantages due to their teacher and classroom peer quality. Finally, we show the strong influence of family skill transmission on children’s choices of STEM fields.
Sources of Large Firms’ Market Power and Why It Matters
Excessive market power has detrimental effects on the functioning of the economy, raising consumer prices, distorting the allocation of resources, and creating welfare losses. The existing literature has largely focussed on competition in product markets. This column argues that it is important to differentiate between various sources of firm market power on output and input (most notably labour) markets. European firm-level data reveals that large firms charge lower markups in product markets but exert their market power significantly in labour markets. Competition authorities can and must distinguish between the sources of market power when attempting to regulate it.
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