Across Spain

"Across Spain" is a research project aimed to run economic experiments with a representative sample of Spanish Business Economics freshmen (year 1 students) . As is standard in the discipline our experimental sample is composed of university students who are willing to participate (see Exadaktylos et al. 2013). The experiment was conducted between December 2017 and January 2018. Participants were recruited from 30 Spanish universities (see below) and were invited to complete the tasks at home (using an online platform).

This project has been funded by Excelencia Junta de Andalucía (P12-SEJ-1436).

Sampling, recruitment and instructions

  • Sampling: To compute the participation (weight) of every single university in the national representative sample of Business Economics freshmen students we used the Business Econ intake in September 2017 by universities - provided by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports. These numbers let us to compute the % of participants needed in every university. We decided not to include institutions with 10 or less participants. We shared the free slots among the largest universities of the same Region. Calculations are available here. We attach here two files:

  • Recruitment of participants: First we contacted by email to university professors (belonging to the relevant institutions) asking for help: We contacted the professors in charge of modules taught in year 1 (freshman) in every university. First we asked for help regarding the lecturer(s) in charge of the module, second we asked the person in charge to help with the recruitment (original email 1 and email 2 in Spanish here; in English here). These lecturer(s) were asked to post this announcement in class 48 hours before the experiment were online.

      • Announcement for students (in Spanish).

  • Instructions for the basic survey and the experimental games: Spanish, English.


Finished papers

Exposure to economic inequality at the age of 8 enhances prosocial behavior in adult life (link to the paper)

Consistent and inconsistent choices under uncertainty: The role of cognitive abilities (link to the paper)

  • P. Brañas, P. Caldentey, A. Espin, T. Garcia & A. Hernandez

Abstract: Children as young as 3-4 years are already concerned about inequality and declare that equality is a norm that should be followed. From 3 to 8 years they develop a strong preference for equality, which is typically reflected in both “envy” and “compassion”, that is, aversion to disadvantageous and advantageous inequality, respectively4. Further studies suggest that inequality aversion does not continue increasing after that age, but rather exhibit an inverse-U shape relation with age in childhood and adolescence, with a peak at 8 years old. Since children are particularly sensitive to inequality at the age of 8, it is an open question how exposure to real economic inequality at this age modulates prosocial behaviour in adult life. Here we link generosity in dictator game experiments conducted among Spanish university students (n>400) with existing macro-level data on income inequality within their region when they were children. The data show that individuals who were exposed to higher levels of inequality at the age of 8 are more generous in adult life. Interestingly, exposure at older ages has no impact on generosity. Our results extend previous findings on the development of egalitarianism by showing long-lasting effects of childhood inequality experience into adult life. If prosocial behaviour is (partly) developed as a reaction to an unequal environment then, in the future, inequality might be counteracted.

  • L. Amador, P. Brañas, A. Espin, T. Garcia & A. Hernandez

Abstract: There is an intense debate whether decision making under uncertainty is partially driven by cognitive abilities. The critical issue is whether choices arising from subjects with lower cognitive abilities are more likely driven by errors or lack of understanding than pure preferences for risk. The latter implies that the often argued link between risk preferences and cognitive abilities might be a spurious correlation. This experiment reports evidence from a sample of 556 participants who made choices in risk-related tasks about winning and losing money and completed three cognitive tasks, all with real monetary incentives: number-additions under time pressure (including incentive-compatible expected number of correct additions), the Cognitive Refection Test (to measure analytical/reflective thinking) and the Remote Associates Test (for convergent thinking). Results are unambiguous: none of our cognition measures plays any systematic role on risky decision making. Our data indeed suggest that cognitive abilities are negatively associated with noisy, inconsistent choices, which might have led to spurious correlations with risk preferences in previous studies.

Work in progress

The role of risk aversion in Trust and Stag-Hunt games under social preferences

  • P. Brañas, A. Cabrales, A. Espin, T. Garcia & M. Ramos