Transparency and cooperation in repeated dilemma games: a meta study (Experimental Economics, doi:10.1007/s10683-017-9517-4)

with Sigrid Suetens
Abstract: We use data from experiments on finitely repeated dilemma games with fixed matching to investigate the effect of different types of information on cooperation. The data come from 71 studies using the voluntary contributions paradigm, covering 122 data points, and from 18 studies on decision-making in oligopoly, covering another 50 data points. We find similar effects in the two sets of experimental games. We find that transparency about what everyone in a group earns reduces contributions to the public good, as well as the degree of collusion in oligopoly markets. In contrast, transparency about choices tends to lead to an increase in contributions and collusion, although the size of this effect varies somewhat between the two settings. Our results are potentially useful for policy making, because they provide guidance on the type of information to target in order to stimulate or limit cooperation.


Charitable Giving, Emotions, and the Default Effect (Economic Inquiry, Vol. 55, Issue 4, pages 1792–1812, 2017)

with Charles Noussair
Abstract: We report an experiment to study the effect of defaults on charitable giving. In three different treatments, participants face varying default levels of donation. In three other treatments that are paired with the first three, they receive the same defaults, but are informed that defaults are thought to have an effect on their donation decisions. The emotional state of all individuals is monitored throughout the sessions using Facereading software, and some participants are required to report their emotional state after the donation decision. We find that the default level has no effect on donations, and informing individuals of the possible impact of defaults also has no effect. The decision to donate is independent of prior emotional state, unless specific subgroups of participants are considered. Donors experience a negative change in the valence of their emotional state subsequent to donating, when valence is measured with Facereading software. This contrasts with the selfreport data, in which donating correlates with a more positive reported subsequent emotional state.




Complex Incentives and Asymmetric Dynamic Responses in a Public Goods Game

with Eric van Damme
Abstract: We study cooperation dynamics in a finitely repeated linear public goods game with communication and various competitive bonuses. We show that game unrelated communication does not affect cooperation levels, however, a bonus rewarding free riders has a strong and significant negative effect on cooperation. Team bonuses are found not to boost cooperation. We employ a dynamic econometric model to study how subjects react to others contributing more or less than themselves, and find that subjects decrease their contributions by a larger amount in response to others not cooperating compared to the increase when others do cooperate. We do not find additional dynamic effects of our treatments.


Using Experimental Evidence to Design Optimal Notice and Takedown Process

with Martin Husovec


Academic Debate: Improving Student Performance one Speech at a Time

in collaboration with the Czech Debate Society, and SCIO company. Pre-registered at the AEA RCT Registry under the number AEARCTR-0001965.
Abstract: I study the introduction of a compulsory argumentation and debate program into high school curricula. I measure the impact of the program on critical thinking, student learning motivation, competitiveness, and behavior towards people who disagree with the student.

In media:

  • Die Welt: So wollen Top-Ökonomen die Welt verbessern. (link) [in German]
  • Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings 2017: The Press Talk. (info, article [in German], article [in English], photo)
    Photo credit: Julia Nimke/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

SSRN author page: here
ORCID account: here