Forthcoming, The Economic Journal
Promises are good/ but cooperation fades./ Reports are better.
Using an experiment, we demonstrate that a communication regime where a worker communicates about his intended effort is less effective in i) soliciting truthful information, and ii) motivating effort, than a regime where he communicates about his past effort. Our experiment uses a real-effort task, which additionally allows us to demonstrate the effects of communication on effort over time. We show that the timing of communication affects the dynamic pattern of work. In both treatments, individuals are most cooperative closest to the time of communication. Our results reveal that the timing of communication is a critical feature that merits attention in the design of mechanisms for information transmission in strategic settings.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Volume 161, May 2019, Pages 68–78
More risk after wins/but play safe after losses./Realized and paper.
We conduct a large-scale test of dynamic risk preferences. While most of the literature on dynamic risk restricts attention to positively skewed gambles, subjects in our experiment tend to choose negatively skewed lotteries. This allows us to study dynamic risk preferences in an environment that the literature has not analyzed. We find evidence of the reinforcement effect—individuals take on more risk after a gain and take on less risk after a loss. Furthermore, we exogenously vary whether these outcomes are “realized” or on paper, according to the distinction put forth by Imas(2016). We find little difference in the responses to realized and paper outcomes in environments of negatively skewed risk.
Revision Requested, Journal of Economic Theory
If it has happened/ you want to know it sooner./ Otherwise, you’ll wait.
We present results from a laboratory experiment designed to identify preferences over the resolution of uncertainty and timing of non-instrumental information acquisition in a rich choice set. Treatments vary whether the outcome previously has been determined, as in an information structure, or is determined later, as in a compound lottery. We find that individuals prefer to delay uncertainty resolution when the outcome has not been determined and prefer to expedite uncertainty resolution when the outcome has already occurred. Preferences are strict, as individuals are willing to pay for information in one treatment and they pay to avoid information in the other. We find no evidence of an aversion to gradual resolution in either context.
Revised and Resubmitted, Games and Economic Behavior
People will promise./ It makes them cooperate./ But don’t trust a group!
Individuals and two-person teams play a hidden-action trust game with pre-play communication. We replicate previous results for individuals that non-binding promises increase cooperation rates. But this does not extend to teams. While teams make non-binding promises to cooperate at the same rate as individuals, they consistently renege on those promises. Additional treatments begin to explore the basis for the team outcome, ruling out explanations that team payoff structures drive behavior. Analysis of within team discussions provide insight into the decision-making processes of first and second movers.
Works in Progress:
+ A Systematic Test of the Independence Axiom
Independence fails/But not due to certainty./It’s the opposite!
+ Randomization Across Domains: Testing Theories of Probability Matching and Convex Preferences
People randomize./ Theories can’t explain it./ Is it a heuristic?
+A Tale of Two Preferences: Reconciling Inconsistencies Between Axioms and Choices
with John Rehbeck
Agree with a rule/But then choices violate./Which preference wins?
+ Explaining Conditional Cooperation in Repeated Public Goods Games
Contributions fall/ in repeated PG games./ It’s guilt aversion.
+ Testing the Axiomatic Foundation of Risky Intertemporal Choice
Does DEU hold/ without present certainty?/ Let’s test axioms.
+ How Randomization Impacts Response Times
with Ian Krajbich
Indifference is slow./Does flipping a coin speed up?/When might it help you?