Essays in Behavioral Economics
This cumulative dissertation combines four papers that aim to provide insights into how the economic outcomes of companies and the accompanying social wellbeing can be protected or enhanced. More specifically, this dissertation offers three investigations into how companies can be more successful when starting a change project by using nudging, can avoid managerial risk or uncertainty aversion by implementing a default rule, and can avoid managerial risk aversion by introducing a recommendation nudge at different stages of the decision-making process. All of these are primarily aimed at supporting business efforts but also aid social wellbeing by guiding employee behavior towards supporting change and managerial decision-making towards more neutrality. The lack of supportive behavior for change by employees and neutral managerial decisions can put economic growth in jeopardy. All three projects feature intervention rooted in the concept of libertarian paternalism. Nudge interventions can be described as changing parts of the choice architecture to increase the likelihood of people altering their behavior while not forbidding any options or changing the economic incentives significantly. In addition, the fourth project in this dissertation offers an experimental study that aims to understand the gender-specific spread of unethicality. This project sheds light on a very important issue: enabling further research to try to find practical solutions for resisting unethicality and, therefore, avoiding the economic, social, and ecological damages caused by its spread. All the papers feature experimental work settled in the discipline of behavioral economics and were conducted either online or in a laboratory.