Current Position
Professor of Economics, New York University in Abu Dhabi  

Editorial Positions
Main research interests
evolution of cooperation, conflict resolution, determinants of anti-social and pro-social behavior.  

Latest working paper 
"Are the Rich More Selfish than the Poor, or Do They Just Have More Money? A Natural Field Experiment" (w. James Andreoni and Jan Stoop) (2017) NBER Working paper #23229. 

AbstractThe growing concentration of resources among the rich has re-ignited a discussion about whether the rich are more selfish than others. While many recent studies show the rich behaving less prosocially, endogeneity and selection problems prevent safe inferences about differences in social preferences. We present new evidence from a natural field experiment in which we “misdeliver” envelopes to rich and poor households in a Dutch city, varying their contents to identify motives for returning them. Our raw data indicate the rich behave more pro-socially. Controlling for pressures associated with poverty and the marginal utility of money, however, we find no difference in social preferences. The primary distinction between rich and poor is simply that the rich have more money.

[You can read more about it at The Conversation]

Latest publications
"Altruistic punishment does not increase with the severity of norm violations in the field" (w. Loukas Balafoutas and Bettina Rockenbach). Nature Communications (2016) 7, 13327 doi:10.1038/ncomms13327.  

AbstractThe degree of human cooperation among strangers is a major evolutionary puzzle. A prominent explanation is that cooperation is maintained because many individuals have a predisposition to punish those violating group-beneficial norms. A critical condition for cooperation to evolve in evolutionary models is that punishment increases with the severity of the violation. Here we present evidence from a field experiment with real-life interactions that, unlike in lab experiments, altruistic punishment does not increase with the severity of the violation, regardless of whether it is direct (confronting a violator) or indirect (withholding help). We also document growing concerns for counter-punishment as the severity of the violation increases, indicating that the marginal cost of direct punishment increases with the severity of violations. The evidence suggests that altruistic punishment may not provide appropriate incentives to deter large violations. Our findings thus offer a rationale for the emergence of formal institutions for promoting large-scale cooperation among strangers.

Office hours 
Tuesday and Thursday, 9-10 am
For meetings outside these hours, please send me an email.

Office location
NYU Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, Building A5, Office 1143

This website was (partly) updated on: Dec 22, 2015