»ESI Lecture Series, sponsored by IFREE
+-2014-2015 Lecture Guests
Abstract: In May 2008, the Alaska Legislature passed House Bill 166 which allows Alaskans filing for their permanent fund dividend online to donate all or part of this refund to eligible non-profit organizations around the state. In 2013, approximately 26,000 Alaskans contributed more than $2.4 million (or approximately 0.25% of the total amount received from the permanent fund). This paper reports findings from a natural field experiment implemented in conjunction with Pick,Click,Give designed to uncover why people donate through Pick,Click,Give and identify ways for the state of Alaska to increase both the number of donors and total dollars raised. More than 250,000 households throughout Alaska were randomized into either a control group or one of two treatment groups that received a personalized post-card. Our first treatment message highlights the personal benefits of giving and encourages individuals to “Warm Your Heart: Share Your PFD” Our second message highlights the benefits to other of giving and encourages individuals to “Make Alaska Better for Everyone: Share Your PFD”. Preliminary data suggest that our messages had a positive impact on giving; relative to 2013 we observe significant increases in the number of donors, average donations per donor, and total contributions.
Bio: Dr. James Murphy is a Professor of Economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). He arrived at UAA in 2006 as the visiting Rasmuson Chair of Economics, and decided to remain at UAA as a full-time faculty member after his tenure as Chair ended in 2011. Prior to arriving at UAA, he was on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California Davis and studied experimental economics as a pre-doctoral fellow at the University of Arizona. As part of a university partnership to develop a new experimental economics program in China, he is also a visiting professor at Nankai University and Chairman of their new Nankai Vernon L. Smith Experimental Economics Laboratory.
Dr. Murphy’s research focuses on the use of experimental methods to address environmental policy and natural resource management issues. He is an active board member of the International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics and was a member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee from 2011-2013.
February 27, 2014, Marina Agranov, Ph.D. - Equilibrium Tax Rates and Income Redistribution: A Laboratory Study
Abstract: This paper reports results from a laboratory experiment that investigates the Meltzer-Richard model of equilibrium tax rates, inequality, and income redistribution. We also extend that model to incorporate social preferences in the form of altruism and inequality aversion. The experiment varies the amount of inequality and the collective choice procedure to determine tax rates. We report four main findings. First, higher wage inequality leads to higher tax rates. The effect is significant and large in magnitude. Second, the average implemented tax rates are almost exactly equal to the theoretical ideal tax rate of the median wage worker. Third, we do not observe any significant differences in labor supply or average implemented tax rates between a direct democracy institution and a representative democracy system where tax rates are determined by candidate competition. Fourth, we observe negligible deviations from labor supply behavior or voting behavior in the directions implied by altruism or inequality aversion.
Bio: I was trained both as an economic theorist specializing in political economics and an experimentalist. I received a PhD degree in Economics from New York University in 2010 and since then hold the position of Assistant Professor of Economics at California Institute of Technology, Division of Humanities and Social Sciences.
I study strategic interaction between agents. In particular, I am interested in two related and complementary questions. First question investigates how strategic agents respond to information determined often by political institutions in place, be it the pre-election polls, the partially informative campaign promises of candidates or agents’ beliefs about actions of other agents. The second question explores how strategic agents communicate information in their possession to other agents in order to affect their decisions. I use the combination of theoretical analysis and controlled laboratory experiments to address these questions.
Abstract: I analyze horizontal mergers in procurement settings in which competing for a buyer's business requires sellers to incur costs, say to design prototypes or evaluate production costs. Considering existing sellers' contest-level entry differs from antitrust authorities' typical emphasis on new sellers' market-level entry to counteract a merger's anticompetitive harm. I show that profitable mergers without efficiencies can increase consumer and total surplus by inducing more and stronger contest-level entry by the merged seller. This insight echoes common claims from merging parties that their merger will create a stronger competitor, and it suggests caution by antitrust authorities: when contest-level entry costs matter, standard models prescribe blocking procompetitive mergers.
Bio: Dr. Charles J. Thomas conducts research in industrial organization, antitrust policy, and microeconomic theory. After earning his Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University, he worked for six years as an economist for the Federal Trade Commission, where for antitrust investigations and litigation he provided economic analyses of competition in several industries. While at the FTC he held appointments as the Special Assistant to the Director of the FTC's Bureau of Economics and as a visiting research fellow at Harvard Law School. Since leaving the FTC he has worked at the University of Rochester, Clemson, and Vanderbilt.
March 20, 2015, John Horton Ph.D. - Price Floors and Employer Preferences: Evidence from a Minimum Wage Experiment
Abstract: Employers posting a job opening in an online labor market were randomly assigned to one of four experimental groups: a control group with no minimum wage or one of three active treatment groups with varying minimum wage levels. All levels of the minimum wage strongly increased the hourly wages of hired workers compared to hires in the control group. This increase in wages was due to both higher wage bids by workers and employer selection of more productive, more experienced— and hence higher wage—applicants. A sufficiently high minimum wage unambiguously reduced labor demand: for the highest minimum, demand was reduced on both the intensive and extensive margins. However, extensive margin effects for this group were quite small. For the medium and low levels of the minimum wage, a reduction was detected only on the intensive margin. The labor- labor substitution of more productive workers for less productive workers was pronounced and likely explains the intensive margin effects: by hiring more productive workers, employers’ projects were completed more quickly. Because of this hours reduction, the effect of the minimum wage on earnings was negligible—the wage increase and the hours decrease were offsetting.
Dec. 5, 2014, Gabriel Rossman, Ph.D. - Obfuscatory Relational Work and Disreputable Exchange
Nov. 7, 2014, Monica Capra, Ph.D. - The Neurobiology of Pre-play Communication
May 12, 2014, Don Ross, Ph.D - Psychological versus economic models of bounded rationality - Watch lecture
Dec. 06, 2013, Jack Stecher, Ph.D. -Description and Experience Based Decision Making: An Experimental and Structural Estimation Approach to the Decision-Experience Gap
Feb. 22, 2013 Jordi Brandts Bernad, Ph.D. - Let’s talk: How communication affects contract design.
Nov. 9, 2012 Uri Gneezy, Ph.D. - Incentives and Behavior Change
Sept. 28, 2012 Charles Thomas, Ph.D. - An Alternating-Offers Model of Multilateral Negotiations - Watch lecture
Aug. 31, 2012 Yan Chen, Ph.D. - Crowdsourcing with All-pay Auctions: a Field Experiment on Taskcn - Watch lecture
Apr. 20, 2012 Shawn Kantor, Ph.D. - Do Research Universities Generate Local Economic Growth? - Watch lecture
Feb. 24, 2012 John Tooby, Ph.D. - The Welfare Tradeoff Architecture, Cooperation, and Social Emotions - For further reading please see: Formidability and the logic of human anger and The architecture of human kin detection. - Watch lecture
Nov. 11, 2011 Mark M. Bykowsky, Ph.D. - A Market-based Approach to Establishing Licensing Rules: Licensed Versus Unlicensed Use of Spectrum Federal Communications Commission - please watch this video before lecture - Watch lecture
Oct. 21, 2011 Parker Ballinger, Ph.D. - Individual versus Social Learning: The Importance of Demonstrability - Watch lecture
Apr. 8, 2011 Kevin McCabe, Ph.D. – Experiments on the role of third parties on redistribution decisions. For further reading please see: Shared Experience and Third-Party Decisions: A Laboratory Result, Legitimacy in the lab – The separate and joint effects of earned roles and earned endowments in third-party redistribution, Whose money is it anyway? Ingroups and distributive behavior. - Watch lecture
Apr. 1, 2011 Michael Gurven, Ph.D. - Experimental investigation of fairness and altruism norms in small-scale societies - Further reading: Culture sometimes matters: Intra-cultural variation in pro-social behavior among Tsimane Amerindians and Collective Action in Action: Prosocial Behavior in and out of the Laboratory - Watch lecture
Feb. 18, 2011 Catherine Eckel, Ph.D. - Giving to Government: Voluntary Taxation in the Lab - Watch lecture
Feb. 4, 2011 Peter Boettke, Ph.D. - Polycentrism and Gargantua: Which Model Best Provides Public Education? - Watch lecture
Oct. 5, 2010 Andreas Wilke, Ph.D. - Past and Present Environments: The Evolution of Decision Making
May 7, 2010 Jim Gentle, Ph.D. - The Contribution of Jumps to the Volatility of Asset Prices - Watch lecture
Apr. 9, 2010 Gregory Waymire, Ph.D. - Can Trust Be Sustained in an Uncertain World When Individuals Have Machiavellian Intelligence? - Watch lecture
Feb. 5, 2010 Kevin McCabe, Ph.D. - Watch lecture
Dec. 2, 2009 Jeffrey Tollaksen, Ph.D. - New Ideas About the Nature of Time - Watch lecture
Nov. 13, 2009 Sarah F. Brosnan, Ph.D. - An Evolutionary Perspective on the Perception and Utilization of Property . Watch lecture
Oct. 9, 2009 Monica Smith, Ph.D. - A cognitive History of Material Objects: The Archaeology of Possession, Inheritance, and Value . Watch lecture
May 20, 2009 Gerd Gigerenzer Ph.D. - Homo Heuristicus: Why Biased Minds Make Better Inferences. Watch lecture
Mar. 20, 2009 John Ledyard Ph.D. – Individual Evolutionary Learning, Other-regarding Preferences, and the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism. Watch lecture
Nov. 7, 2008 Larry Iannaccone Ph.D. - Looking Backward: A Cross-National Study of Religious Trends. Watch lecture
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