Crime without punishment: an experiment on antisocial preferences
Punishment is known to be one of the major factor of cooperation in the public goods (PG) games. However, the exact nature and reasons why people punish each other to a large extent remains unexplored. In this work we study the punishment strategies in a systematic way, disentangling several possible explanations for punishing behaviour, including competitive, emotional and preemptive motives, alongside with availability and tolerance towards punishment. We set and ran a series of experiments in different regions of Russia, which establishes that actual disapproval of others' contirbutions is the determinant of punishment in a minority of cases. Using a structural statistical model, we offer a classification of behavioural strategies of the punishers for our sample, as well as in cross-regional perspective. This analysis establishes that, besides ethical considerations, willingness to outperform other players in the group, and precautionary punishment in anticipation of the punishment from the other player, play a major role in determination of the direction and size of spiteful punishments.
Risk measurement and risk preferences
We present the results of a novel experimental measure of preferences under risk, and compare the preferences of children and adults. Our data allows to contribute to the `nature vs. nurture' debate of the origins of gender differences in attitudes towards risk (and we show it has a clear ageing component), as well as to propose a novel dynamic measure of risk preferences with feedback about the quality of own choices. Specifically, we develop and estimate a structural model of preferences under risk, which allows to disentangle risk attitudes per se from the expectation about own skills (aspiration levels), which we model as dynamic Bayesian process. Resulting estimates suggest that static measures which fail to account for aspirations result in overestimation of risk tolerance, especially among the adults.
Cross-country cooperation with applications to climate change
A large number of problems of global cooperation, starting from overharvesting of natural resouces to lack of common ground in international affairs - require common understanding of the problem and joint action to deal with it. Is it feasible, and if so, under which conditions? We explore this issue with large-scale international experiment which brings together participants from four locations in two countries (Russia and Germany) in real time. Results of the experiment - a threshold public goods game with various informational treatments and punishment possibilities - suggest that people can be reasonably cooperative when facing the same commonly known threat, although German participants are somewhat more cooperative than the Russian ones.
Power and preferences in multilateral bargaining
The project aims at an experimental investigation of the voting power distribution in the context of classical preferences, as well as in generalized form which takes into account players’ preferences to coalesce with each other. Our results are driven by our bargaining experiment under nonstructured protocol used by Montero e.a. (2008), and explored in terms of equilibrium in noncooperative game in the spirit of the Nash program. We study the effect of player preferences on bargaining outcomes, leading to the resolution of the `paradox of new members' (Brahms and Affuso, 1976), as well as the efficiency of various bargaining strategies, which is considered in a companion paper (in progress).
From experiments to mechanism design: a field study of the Russian police
Corruption as social practice, i.e. regular abuse of public office for private gains, is drawing substantial attention of researchers in many disciplines. Our paper adds to the already substantial and quickly growing experimental literature on corruption (Abbink e.a., 2002; Abbink, 2006; Alatas e.a., 2009; Barr, 2009; Campos-Ortiz, 2011) a novel experiment on corruption-at-the-top, explicitly motivated by the specifics of the country (Russia). Our experimental subjects are real Russian police officers of senior middle rank (to our knowledge, this is the first experiment with that pool of subjects), which results in a number of interesting insights, to be reinforced with data collection (in progress). This work is part of a large multidisciplinary project which, inter alia, includes lab in the field and field experiments with community-based policing. The long-term project joint with the laboratory for socio-economic studies starts from lab-in-the-field experimental research on Russian police, is being gradually transformed to a field project in Russian regions, aimed at a development of incentive-compatible mechanism of public assessment of local police officers ("beat cops") performance.
Tax behaviour and tax compliance in a cross-country perspective
This project worked out by an international team aims at the exploration of economic and psychological origins of tax compliance depending on government efficiency, transparency and accountability. The slippery slope framework of tax compliance integrates different determinants of tax compliance and assigns them to one of two major dimensions: perceived trust in the authorities and perceived power of the authorities. A submitted paper tests these main assumptions of the slippery slope framework in four European countries differing in terms of cultural and economic settings (Austria, Hungary, Romania and Russia) by presenting participants with different scenarios of trust and power. As predicted, the highest level of intended tax compliance and the lowest level of tax evasion were found in conditions of high trust and high power. In addition, participants in conditions of high trust indicate more voluntary compliance just as participants in conditions of high power indicate higher enforced compliance. A companion paper (in progress) explores the interrelation between tax compliance, government efficiency and civil society in an experimental setup.
Clinical conditions and perceived well-being of the patients suffering from chronic diseases: An application to Multiple Sclerosis
This multidisciplinary project brings together physicians, clinical an behavioural psychologists, sociologists and economists in a quest for welfare-enhancing treatments of chronical patients. Using clinical examination, medical treatments, psychological testing and repeated measurements of well-being (the Day Reconstruction Method by D.Kahneman), we explore which combinations of clinical, psychological and social measures come out as factors of health maintenance and best treatment practices. The project ultimately aims at building of a taxonomy of optimal treatments conditional upon physical and psychological state of the patient and affecting the degree of health decay through patient's attitude towards her treatment.
Religion and economic behavior
This cross-disciplinary project studies the impact of religious values on economic decisions in cross-country perspective, and combines economic experiments, socio-economic measures and values, and psychological characteristics of religious vs. non-religious people in different cultures.
Xenophobia in the lab: an experimental measurement
The main goal of the project is to investigate the extent and possible origins of xenophobia (understood as unmotivated dislike on ethnic grounds) by experimental methods. A carefully designed experiment (following the insights of Eckel and Wilson, 2004) offers an opportunity to measure abstract dislike of aliens in a particular community, while also taking into account the need to avoid misleading of the subjects.
Strategic information transmission with applications to financial markets
This project focuses on the incentives and effects of communications of incomplete information, similar to the literature on deception in economics (Gneezy, 2005; Rode, 2007), or trojan teaching in psychology (works available at SSRN and IADIS). We concentrate on two dimensions of this problem: strategic interests to conceal available information with applications to financial markets, and experimental investigation of the role of market mechanism in mitigating strategic incentives to hide information.
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