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  • 11
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    Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
    Publication Date: 2015-05-22
    Description: We devise an experiment to explore the effect of different degrees of competition on optimal contracts in a hidden-information context. In our benchmark case, each principal is matched with one agent of unknown type. In our second treatment, a principal can select one of three agents, while in a third treatment an agent may choose between the contract menus offered by two principals. We first show theoretically how these different degrees of competition affect outcomes and efficiency. Informational asymmetries generate inefficiency. In an environment where principals compete against each other to hire agents, these inefficiencies remain. In contrast, when agents compete to be hired, efficiency improves dramatically, and it increases in the relative number of agents because competition reduces the agents' informational monopoly power. However, this environment also generates a high inequality level and is characterized by multiple equilibria. In general, there is a fairly high degree of correspondence between the theoretical predictions and the contract menus actually chosen in each treatment. There is, however, a tendency to choose more 'generous' (and more efficient) contract menus over time. Competition leads to a substantially higher probability of trade, and that, overall, competition between agents generates the most efficient outcomes
    Keywords: ddc:330 ; Arbeitsvertrag ; Vertragstheorie ; Unvollkommene Information ; Wettbewerb ; Test ; Theorie
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 12
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    Munich: Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute (CESifo)
    Publication Date: 2016-05-23
    Description: We test experimentally an explanation of over and under confidence as motivated by (perhaps unconscious) strategic concerns, and find compelling evidence supporting this hypothesis in the behavior of participants who send and respond to others' statements of confidence about how well they have scored on an IQ test. In two-player tournaments where the highest score wins, one is likely to enter at equilibrium when he knows that his stated confidence is higher than the other player's, but very unlikely when the reverse is true. Consistent with this behavior, stated confidence by males is inflated when deterrence is strategically optimal and is instead deflated by males and females when hustling (encouraging entry) is strategically optimal. This behavior is consistent with the equilibrium of the corresponding signaling game. Based on the theory of salient perturbations, we propose a strategic foundation of overconfidence. Since overconfident statements are used in familiar situations in which it is strategically effective, it may also occur in the absence of strategic benefits, provided the environment is similar.
    Keywords: A12 ; C91 ; D03 ; D82 ; ddc:330 ; self-confidence ; overconfidence ; salient perturbations ; analogies ; strategic deterrence ; unconscious behavior ; self-deception ; hustling ; experiment
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 13
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    Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University, Department of Economics
    Publication Date: 2018-07-02
    Description: This paper reports the results of a series of experiments designed to test whether and to what extent individuals succumb to the conjunction fallacy. Using an experimental design of Kahneman and Tversky (1983), it finds that given mild incentives, the proportion of individuals who violate the conjunction principle is significantly lower than that reported by Kahneman and Tversky. Moreover, when subjects are allowed to consult with other subjects, these proportions fall dramatically, particularly when the size of the group rises from two to three. These findings cast serious doubts about the importance and robustness of such violations for the understanding of real-life economic decisions.
    Keywords: ddc:330 ; Conjunction fallacy ; representativeness bias ; group consultation ; incentives ; Entscheidung bei Unsicherheit ; Rationales Verhalten ; Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung ; Test
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 14
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    Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University, Department of Economics
    Publication Date: 2018-07-02
    Description: This paper reports the results of experiments designed to test (a) whether and to what extent individuals display non-neutral ambiguity attitudes in their choice behavior and (b) if and how do ambiguity attitudes change as a result of interpersonal interactions and persuasion. To address the first question we designed and conducted experiments involving individual choice between betting on ambiguous and unambiguous events of their choice. We found that a large majority of subjects display ambiguity-neutral attitudes, many others display ambiguity-incoherent attitudes, and few subjects display either ambiguity-averse attitudes or ambiguity-seeking attitudes. To address the second question we introduced a new experimental design with a built-in incentive to persuade. We found that interpersonal interactions without incentive to persuade have no effect on behavior, but when incentives were introduced, the ambiguity-neutral subjects were better able to persuade ambiguity seeking and ambiguity-incoherent subjects to follow ambiguity-neutral choice behavior. No such influence was detected with respect to ambiguity-neutral subjects.
    Keywords: ddc:330
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 15
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    Amsterdam and Rotterdam: Tinbergen Institute
    Publication Date: 2013-11-13
    Description: We examine factors that may contribute to 'overconfidence' in relative ability on an intelligence test. We test experimentally for evidence of self-esteem concerns and instrumental strategic concerns. Errors in Bayesian updating are rare when the information does not involve own relative ability, but far more common when it does, suggesting self-esteem issues. There is also strong evidence that males state higher levels of confidence in relative ability when this precedes a tournament; as entry is predicted by relative confidence, this can be an effective deterrent. Inflating confidence can be part of an equilibrium strategy, providing a rationale for strategic overconfidence.
    Keywords: A12 ; C91 ; D03 ; D82 ; ddc:330 ; Self-confidence ; overconfidence ; strategic deterrence ; unconscious behavior ; selfdeception
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 16
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    Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
    Publication Date: 2018-11-15
    Description: The 'ratchet effect' refers to a situation where a principal uses private information that is revealed by an agent's early actions to the agent's later disadvantage, in a context where binding multi-period contracts are not enforceable. In a simple, context-rich environment, we experimentally study the robustness of the ratchet effect to the introduction of ex post competition for principals or agents. While we do observe substantial and significant ratchet effects in the baseline (no competition) case of our model, we find that ratchet behavior is nearly eliminated by labor-market competition; interestingly this is true regardless of whether market conditions favor principals or agents.
    Keywords: C91 ; ddc:330 ; Ratchet effect ; competition ; experiment ; private information ; labor markets ; Agency Theory ; Asymmetrische Information ; Arbeitsmarkt ; Wettbewerb ; Test
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 17
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    Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
    Publication Date: 2018-11-15
    Description: This paper surveys the contributions of laboratory experiments to labor economics. We begin with a discussion of methodological issues: why (and when) is a lab experiment the best approach; how do laboratory experiments compare to field experiments; and what are the main design issues? We then summarize the substantive contributions of laboratory experiments to our understanding of principal-agent interactions, social preferences, union-firm bargaining, arbitration, gender differentials, discrimination, job search, and labor markets more generally.
    Keywords: C9 ; J0 ; ddc:330 ; Labor economics ; laboratory experiments ; principal-agent theory ; personnel economics ; Arbeitsmarkttheorie ; Soziale Wohlfahrtsfunktion ; Lohnverhandlungen ; Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit ; Gleichberechtigung ; Gleichbehandlungsrecht ; Arbeitsuche ; Experimentelle Ökonomik
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 18
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    Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
    Publication Date: 2018-11-15
    Description: In this paper, we investigate individuals' investment in status in an environment where no monetary return can possibly be derived from reaching a better relative position. We use a real-effort experiment in which we permit individuals to learn and potentially improve their status (rank). We find that people express both intrinsic motivation and a taste for status. Indeed, people increase their effort when they are simply informed about their relative performance, and people pay both to sabotage others' output and to artificially increase their own relative performance. In addition, stronger group identity favors positive rivalry and discourages sabotage among peers.
    Keywords: C91 ; C92 ; M54 ; D63 ; J28 ; J31 ; ddc:330 ; Status seeking ; rank ; competitive preferences ; experiment ; Sozialer Status ; Wettbewerb ; Präferenztheorie ; Leistungsmotivation ; Test
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 19
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    Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
    Publication Date: 2018-11-15
    Description: In this paper, we describe a series of laboratory experiments that implement specific examples of a more general network structure and we examine equilibrium selection. Specifically, actions are either strategic substitutes or strategic complements, and participants have either complete or incomplete information about the structure of a random network. Since economic environments typically have a considerable degree of complementarity or substitutability, this framework applies to a wide variety of settings. The degree of equilibrium play is striking, in particular with incomplete information. Behavior closely resembles the theoretical equilibrium whenever this is unique; when there are multiple equilibria, general features of networks, such as connectivity, clustering, and the degree of the players, help to predict informed behavior in the lab. People appear to be strongly attracted to maximizing aggregate payoffs (social efficiency), but there are forces that moderate this attraction: 1) people seem content with (in the aggregate) capturing only the lion's share of the efficient profits in exchange for reduced exposure to loss, and 2) uncertainty about the network structure makes it considerably more difficult to coordinate on a demanding, but efficient, equilibrium that is typically implemented with complete information.
    Keywords: C71 ; C91 ; D03 ; D85 ; ddc:330 ; random networks ; incomplete information ; connectivity ; clustering ; strategic substitutes ; strategic complements ; experiment
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 20
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    Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
    Publication Date: 2018-11-15
    Description: We study worker and firm behavior in an environment where worker effort could depend on co-workers? wages. Theoretically, we show that an increase in workers? ?concerns? with coworkers? wages should lead profit-maximizing firms to compress wages under quite general conditions. However, firms should be harmed by such concerns, and such concerns can justify paying equal wages to workers of unequal productivity only when those concerns are asymmetric (in the sense that only underpayment matters). Our laboratory experiments indicate that workers? effort choices are highly sensitive to their own wages, but largely unresponsive to co-workers? wages. Despite this, in apparent anticipation of a negative worker reaction, firms in our experiment were more likely to compress wages when wages became public information. Profits were not significantly reduced by a requirement to make wages public. Overall, our results seem to weaken the case that either wage secrecy or wage compression is a profit-maximizing policy in practice.
    Keywords: C92 ; M52 ; M12 ; J33 ; ddc:330 ; experiments ; effort ; social preferences ; jealousy ; wage compression ; wage secrecy ; Leistungsmotivation ; Lohnstruktur ; Neid ; Geheimhaltung ; Vergütungssystem ; Experiment
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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