Martin Benedikt Busch, PhD




Statistical inference in social networks:

how sampling bias and uncertainty shape decisions

(with Andreas Bjerre-Nielsen)

We investigate how individuals form beliefs about population behavior using statistical inference based on observations of their social relations. Sampling bias due to the friendship paradox and uncertainty due to small samples lead to misperceptions about others' connectedness and behavior. In a game where actions are strategic complements, we characterize the equilibrium and analyze equilibrium behavior. We show how population behavior depends on the extent of the two biases and agents' level of sophistication to account for them. We demonstrate the role of uncertainty for estimation precision and illustrate when sampling uncertainty plays a critical role compared to sampling bias. We outline how our framework is useful for further analysis of behavior by agents embedded in networks.


Non-Linear Equilibrium Expectations

Nudging Cooperation in Networks

(with Gorm G. Jensen, Jan O. Haerter, and Marco Piovesan)

We investigate the development of cooperative behavior in networks over time. In our controlled laboratory experiment, subjects can cooperate by sending costly messages that contain valuable information for the receiver or other subjects in the network. Any message sent can increase the chance that subjects find the information they are looking for and consequently their profit. We find that cooperation emerges spontaneously and remains stable over time. In an additional treatment, we provide a non-binding suggestion about who to contact at the beginning of the experiment. We find that subjects partially follow our recommendation, and this increases their own and others’ profit. Despite the removal of suggestions, subjects build long-lasting relationships with the suggested contacts.

[Paper] [Supplementary Information]

Network Formation in the Experiment

Statistical Inference with Sample Selection in Games

(with Andreas Bjerre-Nielsen)

We investigate sample selection as a source of misperceptions in games with complete information. We analyze equilibrium behavior in binary action games where the decision to take the action depends on the estimated share of others taking it. With sample selection, agents observe an unrepresentative sample of others’ behavior. We show and disentangle how sample selection, sample size, and heterogeneity in agents' inference procedures affects equilibrium behavior. We outline how our analysis of equilibrium behavior can be useful to analyze the welfare implications of sample selection.

draft available upon request

Statistical Inference Equilibria (SESI)

Choosing Cooperators Among Familiar Faces

(with Helene Willadsen, Andreas Bjerre-Nielsen, and Ingo Zettler)

Experimental Design Phase ----- Ethical approval granted ----- Funding Received ----- Pre-Registration ----- Data Collection

Conference Presentations and Organization

  • Co-Organizer: 1st Junior Economists Meeting | University of Milan, Italy | 13/5/2022

  • Experimental Lunch Seminar | University of Milan, Italy | 8/4/2022

  • Experimental Lunch Seminar | University of Milan, Italy | 3/11/2021

  • Spring Meeting of Young Economists | Bologna, Italy (Online) | 17/6/2021 – 19/6/2021

  • Maastricht Behavioral and Experimental Economics Symposium | Maastricht, Netherlands (Online) | 7/6/2021 - 8/6/2021

  • Young Academics Networks Conference | Cambridge-INET, United Kingdom (Online) | 1/6/2021 - 3/6/2021

  • Book a Scientist | The Danish Scientist Festival, Denmark (Online) | 23/4/2021 - 29/4/2021

  • Spanish Economic Association SAEe Meeting | Salamanca, Spain (Online)| 10/12/2020 – 11/12/2020

  • The Danish Graduate Program in Economics (DGPE) | Aarhus University, Denmark (Online) | 5/11/2020

  • Bocconi Virtual Ph.D. Conference | Milan, Italy (Online) | 3/9/2020

  • European Economic Association Virtual | Rotterdam, Netherlands (Online) | 24/8/2020 – 27/8/2020

  • Copenhagen Network of Experimental Economics | University of Copenhagen, Denmark (Online)| 27/5/2020

  • 13th RGS Doctoral Conference in Economics | Dortmund, Germany | 18/2/2020 – 19/2/2020

  • North American meeting of the Economic Science Association (ESA) | Los Angeles, California, USA | 10/10/2019 – 13/10/2019

  • CEBI Lunch Meeting | Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI), Denmark | 8/4/2019

  • The Danish Graduate Program in Economics (DGPE) | Aarhus University, Denmark | 15/11/2018 – 16/11/2018

  • Workshop on Field Experiments | University of Copenhagen, Denmark | 10/9/2018 – 21/9/2018

  • Workshop on Endogenous Institutions in Social Dilemmas | University of Copenhagen, Denmark | 28/6/2018 – 29/6/2018

  • Workshop on Experimental Economics meets Statistical Physics | Niels Bohr Institute, Denmark | 4/5/2018

Teaching and Supervision

Master Thesis Supervison | University of Copenhagen, Denmark | 09/2020 – 12/2020

Thesis Title: Network creation in a classroom environment - the role of gender, preferences, abilities, and parental attributes

Student: [Bogdan Birgovan]

Industrial Organization |Graduate Level | University of Copenhagen, Denmark | 02/2019 – 06/2019

Teaching fellow for Prof. Johan Largerlöf

[Course Description]

Incentives and Organizations |Graduate Level | University of Copenhagen, Denmark | 09/2018 – 01/2019

Teaching fellow for Prof. Steffen Altmann

[Course Description]

Academic References

Marco Piovesan

University of Verona, Italy


Andreas Bjerre-Nielsen

University of Copenhagen, Denmark


Shachar Kariv

University of California Berkeley, USA