Idea: Public recognition is a frequent tool for motivating desirable behavior, yet its welfare effects are rarely measured. Public recognition can generate pride for some people, but shame in others. We develop a portable money-metric approach for measuring the direct welfare effects of shame and pride, which we deploy in a series of experiments on exercise and charitable behavior.
- "Give Less but Give Smart: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Public Information about Quality on Giving " (with Jeffrey Horn) - (PDF) Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 171 (2020): 59-76
Idea: Do existing donors adjust their donations when they perceive that the quality of their charities has changed, or when they realize that positive news about their charities can be used to receive social recognition? Good news may induce donors to give more, since they may perceive that it is cheaper to generate charitable output. On the other hand positive news may crowd-out giving because donors may provide a higher or equal level of charitable output with lower nominal donations.
- “Endogenous Testosterone is Associated with Increased Striatal Response to Audience Effects during Moral Choices” (with Yansong Li, Jean Claude Dreher, Elise Metereau, Ignatio Obeso, and Marie-Claire Villeval) - (PDF) Psychoneuroendocrinology 122 (2020): 104872.
Idea: Recent studies suggest that testosterone plays an important role in social status seeking behaviors. We study whether endogenous testosterone levels correlate with pro-social decisions made in private or in presence of an audience.
- "Neurocomputational Mechanisms at Play when Weighing Concerns for Extrinsic Rewards, Moral Values and Social Image" (with Jean Claude Dreher, Elise Metereau, Marie Claire Villeval, and Chen Qu) - (PDF) PLOS Biology 17.6 (2019): e3000283.
Idea: When observed by others, people tend to be more pro-social. Which combinations of costs for the individual and social benefits make this effect more likely? Does social image work in the same way for decisions that involve “doing good” and decisions that involve “not doing bad”?
- "Delegating Altruism: Toward an Understanding of Agency in Charitable Giving" (with Dan Houser) (PDF) Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 155 (2018): 99-109
Idea: Choosing a deserving recipient requires time and effort. One possibility is to delegate this decision to a better-informed agent. Better allocation decisions come at the cost of losing control over decisions, which in turns may reduce the charitable impulse. We study how the presence of intermediaries affects the charitable giving markets.
- "Altruistic Punishment in Elections"(With Jason Aimone and Thomas Stratmann) - PDF (European Journal of Political Economy 53 (2018): 149-160)
Idea: For many individuals, the outcome of an election rarely affects directly their material well-being. Yet, observed elections’ turnouts are often high. We study whether individuals who are indifferent to electoral outcomes “go out” and vote against a candidate who hasn’t maintained his promises.
- "A New Mechanism to Alleviate the Crises of Confidence in Science-With An Application to the Public Goods Game" (with Philip Grossman, Daniel Houser, John List, and Marie Claire Villeval) (NBER version)
Idea: How can we accelerate the diffusion of replication practices while facilitating the publication of novel experimental research? We propose a novel, bottom-up mechanism that promotes replications by leveraging mutually beneficial gains between scholars and editors. We develop a model capturing the trade-offs involved in using our method before submission of a paper to journals, and test our method on our own experiments.
Idea: Novel and surprising experimental results sometimes fail to move scholars’ priors when they should, and sometimes they move priors too much. We develop a novel mechanism to promote replications and generate mutually beneficial gains from trade between economists: the authors of a novel (and surprising) study publish their results online as a working paper but commit to never send it to a peer-reviewed journal. They instead offer co-authorship on a second, yet to be written paper to colleagues willing to independently replicate the study. The second paper references the seminal working paper, includes all replications, and it is sent to a peer-reviewed journal. We test our mechanism on our own novel experiment in which we find that individuals cooperate more when there is (Knightian) uncertainty about the quality of a public good.
- "Hidden Costs of Control under Aligned Monetary Interests" (with Jason Aimone) - PDF
Idea: Principals concerned by subordinates’ opportunism often impose output-related restrictions. This form of control backfires sometimes.We study whether these hidden costs of control arise also when principal’s authority favors – rather than reduce – subordinates’ payoffs, and how different hierarchical rules reduce or exacerbate these costs.
Selected work in progress:
- "Non-cognitive skills and labor outcomes: a field experiment" (with Jennifer Bernard, John List and Daniel Tannenbaum)