Essays in Social Networks, Risk Perception and Policy Preferences: Experimental Evidence in Risky Environments
Plascencia Guzman, Juan Fernando
There is a growing interest in the literature that focuses on the relationship between individual’s attitudes towards risk, the use of social technologies, and their response to a crisis. Some of the findings on the impact of terrorism on the psychological well-being suggest that it takes more than one agent (e.g. threat to life) to provoke psychopathology. This dissertation contributes to the study of Economics of Crime by incorporating cutting-edge methods of Behavioral Economics & Social Networks. In the first chapter, by using an online experimental survey anchored on stated preferences as an index based, we capture people’s stated preferences in locations considered as risky environments in Mexico. We use personal and policy hypothetical scenarios (Benjamin et al.2014) to capture 259 respondents’ preferences, we found evidence of negative well-being aspects such as anger, anxiety, and depression in addition to capturing policy preferences in violent and non-violent locations. On the second chapter, by using a network instrument and subjective well-being data -10,400 respondents INEGI 2012 (Mexico)-, we analyze homophily differences by using log-linear models. The analysis is made within and between groups by fitting layer effect parameters. The results of how personal characteristics relate to differences in strength of homophily and people’s self-reported level of happiness indicates that residents in violent & non-violent places are almost equally homophilous to affiliate or having support from a specific social network, although the strength in involvement in a social network show proportional differences based on education, marital status, which result in a tendency to form ties is based on that particular locus. The third chapter aboard the study of risk perception and policy preferences, by implementing an online experiment in Mexico to prove two hypotheses. The first hypothesis-appraisal tendency theory- is used to test the behavior of 111 respondents. We found that an anger treatment triggered in one situation evokes optimistic risk estimates and risk-seeking choices. A fear treatment does the opposite, evoking pessimistic estimates and risk-averse choices (Lerner et al. 2003). The second hypothesis -risky decision making- suggests that people are loss-averse they dislike losses much more than they like equivalent valued gains (Kahneman and Tversky, 1979). By using a weak form of an identifiable victim effect we provide evidence that suggests that ”people see saving a statistical life as a gain, but saving an identified victim was seen as avoiding a loss. Then this predicts that people put greater value on identified victims than on statistical ones”(Small &Loewenstein,2003). These results provide suggestive evidence of the violence of the Drug War on the psychological well-being of the Mexican population.
Social computing; Behavioral sciences; Behavioral Economics; Economics of Crime; Risk Perception; Stated Preferences; Social Networks; Economics
Donaghy, Kieran Patrick
Brashears, Matthew Edward; Just, David R.
Ph. D., Regional Science
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis