Dishonesty is a pervasive and costly phenomenon. This column reports the results of a lab experiment in which parents had an opportunity to behave dishonestly. Parents cheated the most when the prize was for their child and their child was not present. Parents cheated little when their child was present, but were more likely to cheat in front of sons than in front of daughters. The latter finding may help to explain why women attach greater importance to moral norms and are more honest.
Daniel Houser, John List, Marco Piovesan, Anya Samek, Joachim Winter, 23 February 2015
Christine Exley, 27 December 2014
Decisions involving charitable giving often occur under the shadow of risk. A common finding is that potential donors give less when there is greater risk that their donation will have less impact. While this behaviour could be fully rationalised by standard economic models, this column shows that an additional mechanism is relevant – the use of risk as an excuse not to give. In light of this finding, this column also discusses how charities may benefit from structuring their donation requests in particular ways.
Ben Ho, 13 May 2014
Apologies are often hard – that’s the point. An apology is due when trust is broken, and to restore trust the apology must be hard. This column discusses a model of apologies as costly signals with some recent experimental evidence.
Martin Brown, Stefan Trautmann, Razvan Vlahu, 10 April 2014
Contagious bank runs are an important source of systemic risk. However, with observational data it is near-impossible to disentangle the contagion of bank runs from other potential causes of correlated deposit withdrawals across banks. This column discusses an experimental investigation of the mechanisms behind contagion. The authors find that panic-based deposit withdrawals can be strongly contagious across banks, but only if depositors know that the banks are economically related.
Vincenzo Galasso, Tommaso Nannicini, 22 September 2013
The perceived tone of a product or political advertisement affects public response – even holding constant the content of the message. This column provides evidence that men and women react differently to positive and negative tones in electoral advertisements. Negative advertising increases voter turnout among men but not women; positive advertising tends to win women’s sympathy but alienates men. This should inform gender-specific tailoring of targeted advertisements.
Daniel Sgroi, 26 July 2010
Happiness economics typically looks at how macro-level variables such as economic growth affect happiness. This column turns such thinking on its head and asks whether a rise in happiness might change behaviour at the micro-level, looking specifically at productivity. Experiments suggest that happiness raises productivity by increase workers' effort. Economists may need to take the emotional state of economic agents seriously.
Robert Sugden, 26 March 2010
Robert Sugden talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about the new book of which he is a co-author, ‘Experimental Economics: Rethinking the Rules’. They discuss the development of experimental research in economics over the past 30 years, the design of laboratory experiments and the achievements of these methods in increasing understanding of economic behaviour. The interview was recorded in London in March 2010.
Juan Carrillo, Isabelle Brocas, 18 March 2010
Why do people persistently make seemingly irrational decisions? This column introduces neuroeconomic theory, which uses neuroscience and neurobiology to try to shed light on the black box of human decision-making.
John List, Sally Sadoff, Mathis Wagner, 20 February 2010
Experimental economics represents a strong growth industry. In the past several decades the method has expanded beyond intellectual curiosity, meriting consideration alongside the other more traditional empirical approaches used in economics. Accompanying this growth is an influx of new experimenters who are in need of straightforward direction to make their designs more powerful. This column provides several simple rules of thumb that researchers can apply to improve the efficiency of their experimental designs.
This 3 day conference at St Catherine's College, Oxford University hosts speakers from Oxford, LSE, UCL, World Bank brings together many of the new and emerging themes in the economics of welfare. Theory tracks focus on social choice and welfare, and other related aspects of welfare economic theory and public economics. Empirical/applied tracks focus on policy areas including health, development, social policy, environment, education, poverty reduction, non-monetary measures of economic progress etc. Papers on applied econometrics or experimental work relevant to welfare economic theory and assumptions about human behaviour also welcome.
Marco Cipriani, Paola Giuliano, Olivier Jeanne, 01 August 2007
Through an experimental game in which participants had incentives to reveal their true preferences, we show that, surprisingly, there is no intergenerational transmission of public-mindedness between parents and their children.
Steffen Huck, Jean-Robert Tyran, 29 June 2007
Experimental economics opens the door to better policy design. Laboratory experiments should be used to try out proposed policy changes on a small scale before causing upheaval in the large national economy - like wind tunnels are used in car and plane design.
Steffen Huck, Jean-Robert Tyran, 30 June 2007
Experimental economics opens the door to better policy design. Laboratory experiments should be used to try out proposed policy changes on a small scale before causing upheaval in the real economy - just as wind tunnels are used in car and plane design.