+ Teams Promise But Do Not Deliver

with Puja BhattacharyaJohn Kagel, and Arjun Sengupta            [Instructions] [20-min presentation]

Games & Economic Behavior, Volume 117, September 2019, Pages 420–432

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 promise to cooperate at the same rate as individuals, they consistently renege on those promises. Additional treatments begin to explore the basis for team behavior. We rule out explanations hypothesizing that concern for partner’s payoffs is the basis for team outcomes, as absent within-team communication, promise fulfillment rates increase compared to individuals. Rather, the results are consistent with the idea that communication between teammates provides support for self-serving behavior.

+ Timing of Communication

with Puja Bhattacharya and Arjun Sengupta         [Instructions] [30-min presentation]

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.

+ Dynamic Risk Preferences Under Realized and Paper Outcomes

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.

Working Papers:

+ Preferences for the Resolution of Uncertainty and the Timing of Information

Revision Resubmitted, 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 elicit preferences over the resolution of uncertainty and timing of non-instrumental information acquisition in a rich choice set. Treatments vary whether the uncertainty is framed as a compound lottery or information structure. We find that individuals prefer to delay uncertainty resolution when the choice is framed as a compound lottery and prefer to expedite uncertainty resolution when framed as an information structure. 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.

Works in Progress:

+ A Systematic Test of the Independence Axiom

with Ritesh Jain         [20-min presentation]

Independence fails/But not due to certainty./It’s the opposite!

+ Randomization Across Domains: Testing Theories of Probability Matching and Convex Preferences

with Marina Agranov and Paul J. Healy         [30-min presentation]

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

with Paul J. Healy         [20-min presentation]

Contributions fall/ in repeated PG games./ It’s guilt aversion.

+ Testing the Axiomatic Foundation of Risky Intertemporal Choice

[20-min presentation]

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?