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Regular version of the site

Research Seminar

Laboratory runs a regular research seminar in experimental studies of human behaviour. Regular participants are researchers and research students in psychology, economics, neuroscience, mathematical and statistical modelling of individual and collective behaviour in economic context broadly defined.

Time:  11 a.m. - 12 am (UTC+3) unless otherwise noted

Location: Online in Zoom, link sent out to interested participants  (please, contact Alina Zannyatova)

Working language: English


2023 год

Nadezhda Markova (NRU HSE-St. Petersburg),

Diana Pavlova (NRU HSE-St. Petersburg)

"The peer effect in prosocial behaviour among pre-school age children: experimental evidence from St. Petersburg"

Given the importance of prosocial behaviour in the society, this paper investigates the impact of peer choice on individual decision-making in the dictator game among 4-7-year-old children. A theoretical framework is developed, and an experiment is conducted with two groups of children, one playing the standard dictator game with allocation, and the other being informed of a peer's decision before playing. We hypothesize that observing a prosocial decision from a peer will encourage the decision-maker to make a similar choice. We also explore the children's perception of others' norms using a Krupka & Weber's (2013) approach adopted to young children. We show that equal distribution is a norm among children. 


Marina V. Ryzhkova (professor, Tomsk State University, Tomsk Polytechnic University)

Elmira R. Kashapova (Junior Research Fellow, Tomsk State University; senior Lecturer, Tomsk Polytechnic University)

«Investment decisions of nonprofessional investors: nudges and sludges in Ponzi schemes»


The digital transformation of the financial market contributes to an increase in the availability of financial services, which leads to an increase in the number of non-professional investors. On the one hand, it expands the possibilities of attracting free funds to the financial markets, on the other hand, it gives rise to increased volatility and risks associated with mass trading of assets by market agents who do not have any information, knowledge, or experience. And financial scammers use it. At the seminar our research group wants to discuss the option of organizing financial pyramids in laboratory economic experiment. Instrumental variables are factors that can push/nudge (restrain/sludge) a non-professional investor to participate in Ponzi schemes. The goal is to determine the factors for attracting non-professional investors to participate in digital Ponzi schemes.


Student project presentation seminar:

Nikolai Sapega (NRU HSE, ICEF BSc 4th year student)

Konstantin Sidyaking (NRU HSE, ICEF BSc 4th year student)


«How corruption experience  affects affected when they get power?»                                                    

«Analysis of agents' knowledge about each other's characteristics as a determinant of trust?»


Mikhail Freer (University of Essex, presenter)

Co – authors: Christian Basteck (WZB), Ahrash Dianat (University of Essex)

«Simple Voting»

Abstract: Sincere voting fails to deliver social optimum, especially in polarized societies and societies with divided majorities. In response to the failure of sincere voting, there have been several attempts at coordinated voting (e.g., tactical voting in the UK).  However, these attempts were largely unsuccessful due to natural constraints on voters’ cognitive abilities.  For strategic voting to be successful, each voter must use a correct model of other voters’ behavior.  The construction of such models requires the formation of higher-order beliefs. In this paper, we propose a class of simple voting rules, that  (1) allow voters to have a limited belief hierarchy,  (2) robust to ad hoc assumptions about the behavior of other voters, and (3) guarantee that the equilibrium outcome is optimal. We bring these voting mechanisms to the diagnostics test in the lab.

16/02 Julia Varlamova (Kazan Federal University), Marina Ryzhkova (Tomsk State University, Tomsk Polytechnic University) "An experimental study of job regime decision-making"

Abstract: The initial design and results of the first pilot of this study, conducted in Tomsk, were presented at the 2nd Pacific School of Experimental Economics in September 2022. After discussion, the design of the experiment was changed and the second pilot was conducted, but already in Kazan. We present the results of the modified study design at the current seminar in Experimental Economics.
The modified hypotheses concerned the distribution of time between work, household duties, and leisure. At the same time, the employee could choose different intensities of the working regime: “work for money” or “lazy schedule”. The experimental group differed from the control group by an increase in the intensity of labor tasks. In the design of the experiment, household duties were introduced as an obligatory element to be done.
The purpose of the study is to test the features of decision-making on the distribution of time between different human activities in a situation of increasing cognitive load. The results of the study will help to understand the behavioral strategies of employees with irregular schedules that blur the boundaries between working and leisure time, for which the need for effective time management is relevant.

02/02 Tatiana Zhuravleva (NRU HSE) "Inconsistent behavior and beliefs in framed ultimatum game (harassment game)"

Abstract:  By means of a laboratory economic experiment implemented in Khorog (Tajikistan) we investigate the (in)consistency among different aspects of social norms such as empirical expectations, normative expectations, and conditionality of behaviour upon expectations, taking the example of harassment bribery, where public officials have a possibility to harass a bribe from a citizen in order to provide a prize he is entitled to. We measure actual behaviour, normative and empirical expectations and then we manipulate empirical expectations and analyse whether harassment behaviour is conditional upon them. Moreover, we check conditionality of normative expectations upon empirical expectations. Experiment shows that vast majority of “officials” harass bribes and “citizens” agree to pay them. Empirical expectations of “officials” about mean bribes are consistent with actual behaviour, however participants underestimate actual prevalence of corrupt behaviour. On average participants consider that it is socially appropriate to demand and pay relatively small amounts of bribes. At the same time participants consider greater amounts of bribes demanded and paid more socially inappropriate. Moreover, the experiment provided the evidence of conditionality of “officials” behaviour upon empirical expectations, but there are no robust and consistent results on conditionality of “citizens” behaviour. Novel part of the experiment demonstrates conditionality of normative expectations upon empirical expectations. Results from this study will help policymakers to develop effective anti-corruption policies.

26/01 Anna Yurko (NRU HSE) "Do you like my politics? Love and war in an online dating experiment"
Abstract: Affective polarization is the animosity among people holding opposing political views. It affects all social relationships, including dating and family formation. In this study, I examine the impact of an individual's political views regarding the war in Ukraine on her mating success on an online dating site in Russia. For this purpose, I conducted a field experiment on a large dating site and collected data on over 3,200 profile evaluations. Preliminary findings indicate the presence of substantial penalties for displaying pro-war or anti-war positions on a dating profile, suggesting considerable levels of affective polarization in the Russian society regarding the war.
2022 год
22/12 Alexander Poddiakov, professor (NRU HSE) "Objects created for the study of thinking"
Abstract: From a certain stage of sociogenesis, people in different communities begin to create and continue to actively develop a system of cultural tools and artifacts that support the construction of problematic situations and tasks by some people for others – for training, diagnostics, for gaming purposes. The history of the invention of toys that stimulate cognitive activity, problem–solving, and experimental objects for studying the thinking of others is part of the intellectual history of mankind, the history of the deployment of its creative potential in the direction of self-development and self-knowledge.
The report will consider various objects created by researchers for the study of thinking, including economic, or for the study of other types of thinking, but adequate to psychological and economic problems (for example, deception and Trojan training).
The analysis will be carried out in the context of B. Latour's sociological theory of non-human actors, L.S.Vygotsky's cultural and historical psychology, J. Gibson's theory of affordances (offered by objects of possibilities), A.N. Poddyakov's concept of studying the creation of problems and tasks of others.
24/11  Elizaveta Likhacheva (MSU), Alexis Belianin (NRU HSE) "Inequality and inattention"
Abstract: It is well-known from the literature that income inequality is severely misperceived — but what are the sources of that? Explanations are manifold, ranging from simple ignorance and costly information acquisition to perception biases, such as status quo or overconfidence, or else plurality of moral standards. Another source of misperception may be rational inattention, or strategic ignorance of information about inequality in order to avoid the challenge of making an (un)ethical decision. Our project aims at disentangling these motives by means of an online experiment in Russia, matching people from different regions and with different income levels. The main technique will be a dictator game, asking participants to allocate an amount of money between themselves and another person under different information regimes involving perceived or real relative position of the receiver in nationwide income distribution scale.

Tatiana Zhuravleva (NRU HSE)

"Inconsistent behaviour and beliefs in framed ultimatum game: evidence from Tajikistan"

Abstract: We plan to conduct a laboratory experiment in Khorog, Tajikistan with an aim to investigate the (in)consistency among different aspects of social norms such as actual behaviour, descriptive norms, empirical expectations, normative expectations and conditionality of behaviour upon empirical and normative expectations, taking the example of harassment bribery game, where the first player called "public official" propose the particular money transaction (or deal) to the second player called "citizen" in order to provide a prize he is entitled to. We measure separately descriptive and prescriptive norms and empirical expectations and then we manipulate empirical and normative expectations and analyse whether exaction behaviour is conditional upon them. Results from this study will help policymakers to develop effective nudges towards unfair behaviour.

2021 год

Pre-defence of term papers:

Daria Pavkina (HSE) "Economics of Healthcare and Medical Decision Making"
Abstract: The purpose of my work is to analyse the influence of addictive behaviour caused by the usage of the over-the-counter medicines on consumers and producers. The idea is that addictive behaviour has potentially damaging effect on job performance including loss of productivity and motivation. In addition, I am interested in the significance of the effect on labour activity of these consumers. Speaking of a producer’s point of view, it is important to understand whether addiction, that might arise from the misuse of the drug, leads to  higher sales on the market. 
Xenia Lebedeva (HSE) "Behavioral Health Economics"
Abstract: My area of interest is Russian case of drinking culture. Our country is well-known for its alcohol misuse history, yet little is known about fight methods. The idea is to analyse economic damage brought by alcohol overconsumption, its impact on health industry and labour market. Final idea to test is whether development of drinking culture may help us to overcome the alcoholic curse.
Alexander Rozmanov (University of Tyumen) "Information asymmetry in a risk-taking competition: a laboratory experiment"
Abstract: The purpose of my research is to study how information asymmetry affects the decision-making process in a risk-taking competition. In our model, players represent small and big firms in a competitive environment, in which they are able to choose risk levels of their actions. In addition, big firms have the opportunity to observe competitors’ intermediate progress and adjust their strategy. To obtain the data, we design a laboratory experiment. Our main hypothesis is that information acquisition affects risk-taking behavior in a presence of asymmetry.
Darya Grin (University of Tyumen) "Mining centralization as an additional volatility driver: an experimental investigation of cryptocurrency markets"
Abstract: Recent studies on cryptomarkets have identified a trend towards the centralization of cryptocurrency mining. An additional point of interest in cryptomarkets is an unjustifiably high price in relation to growing mining costs. In this study, we focus on mining centralization as a significant volatility driver. The research method is an economic experiment based on the Automated Market Maker (AMM) system which is an alternative to traditional market exchange for cryptocurrencies. In our treatments, we compare different organization types such as individual miners and pool of miners.

Kirill Afanasev (HSE), Tatiana Zhuravleva (HSE)

“Study of social norms in corruption using experimental approach”

Abstract: The research project is aimed to study the role of social norms in corruptive behaviour using the specific case of harassment bribery, where public officials have a possibility to harass a bribe from a citizen in order to provide a service he is entitled to. Golofast (2021) has found that normative expectations are not consistent with observed behaviour. People believe that harassment of a bribe is considered to be unacceptable by society but public officials still harass and citizens expect them to get involved into this type of corruption. At the same time we do not observe the normative consensus about paying or rejecting a harassed bribe. In the current study we plan to manipulate expectations and analyze whether harassment behavior is conditional upon empirical and normative expectations. Expectations are going to be shifted by anchors – hypothetical results of the harassment bribery experiment and imaginary survey on normative acceptance.

13/01 Gari WalkowitzLeading Research Fellow of International Laboratory for Experimental and Behavioural Economics, HSE

"People Prefer Moral Discretion to Algorithms: Algorithm Aversion Beyond Intransparency" - joint work with Matthias Uhl and Johanna Jauernig

Abstract: We explore aversion to the use of algorithms in moral decision-making. So far, this aversion has been explained mainly by the fear of opaque decisions that are potentially biased. Using incentivized experiments, we study which role the desire for human discretion in moral decision-making plays. This seems justified in light of evidence suggesting that people might not doubt the quality of algorithmic decisions, but still reject them. In our first study, we found that people prefer humans withdecision-making discretion to algorithms that rigidly apply exogenously given human-created fairness principles to specific cases. In the second study, we found that people do not prefer humans to algorithms because they appreciate flesh-and-blood decision-makers per se, but because they appreciate humans’ freedom to transcend fairness principles at will. Our results contribute to a deeper understanding of algorithm aversion. They indicate that emphasizing the transparency of algorithms that clearly follow fairness principles might not be the only element for fostering societal algorithm acceptance and suggest reconsidering certain features of the decision-making process.
16/12 Heike Hennig-Schmidt, Chief Research Fellow of International Laboratory for Experimental and Behavioural Economics, HSE

“The Formation of Physician Altruism” - joint work with Arthur E. Attema, Matteo M. Galizzi, Mona Groß, Yassin Karay, Olivier L’Haridon, Daniel Wiesen

Abstract: We study how patient-regarding altruism is formed by medical education. We structurally estimate altruistic preferences using experimental data from a large sample of medical students (N=733) in Germany at different stages in their studies. The estimates reveal substantial heterogeneity in altruistic preferences of medical students. Patient-regarding altruism is highest for freshmen, significantly declines for students in the course of medical studies, and tends to increase again for last year students, who assist in clinical practice. Also, patient-regarding altruism is higher for females and positively associated to general altruism. Altruistic medical students have lower income expectations and are more likely to choose surgery and pediatrics as their preferred specialty.


02/12 Galina Besstremyannaya (Senior Research Fellow of International Laboratory for Macroeconomic Analysis, HSE) “Heterogeneous Effects of Incentive Contracts in Healthcare: Evidence from Medicare Reform”
Abstract: The paper analyzes heterogeneous hospital behavior in response to an incentive scheme with linear increase of the reward function for measured quality. The main contribution of the paper is to reassess a stylized fact in the literature, which asserts that pay-forperformance systems lead to greater improvements from providers with lower baseline quality. We suggest that this “fact” is the result of measurement error, and we develop a structural model and an estimation approach to recover the effects of the linear incentive scheme on quality. Compared to threshold-based incentive schemes that pay a flat bonus for meeting a quality target, where incentives operate mostly for providers below and near to the target, linear incentives may have large effects on providers with any initial level of quality. The predictions of our theoretical model, which are verified empirically using the longitudinal data for US Medicare hospitals involved in value-based purchasing, show a direct association between prior quality and quality improvement owing to the incentive scheme. We argue that the differences between true quality and its measurable proxy may cause regression towards the mean, which needs to be excluded in empirical estimations of the impact of the incentive scheme. Our theoretical model suggests that the effect of the inaccuracy in quality measurement can also be diminished by increasing the share of hospital funds at risk. An extension of the model considers fixed cost of hospital’s investment into quality improvement. The hospitals split into two groups, and the effect of incentive on quality increase in the group that chooses to bear the fixed cost is larger than in the group that refuses the burden of the fixed cost.
14/10 Egor Bronnikov (MRes Student, Graduate School of Economics, Utrecht University, The Netherlands) "Illusory Distributional Difference between Egalitarianism and Libertarianism under High Trust?  Experimental Study on Interpersonal Trust-Building"
Abstract: Enhancing trust to a higher level is known to result in better obligations compliance, greater legal justice, less corruption,  better-educated individuals concerned about public good, faster economic growth, strength institutional legal system and general prosperity.
In this paper, we propose an experimental investigation of a novel channel of trust-building mechanisms. The experiment aims to verify whether individual fairness satisfaction results in a higher level of trust and trustworthiness.
If documented the major implication will be that even a high level of inequality occurred due to the libertarian fairness rules of income distribution might be balanced and turned to equal allocation.
16/09 Grigory Chernov (NRU HSE), Ivan Susin (NRU HSE) “Learning Asymmetry”
Abstract: When the outcomes of economic interactions are unequal, do people attribute those outcomes to luck, merits and abilities of the agents themselves or to the game being rigged? We want to experimentally study how people learn that the game is rigged when it is rigged.  What factors help or hinder this understanding? How noise and luck affect this kind of learning? We use 2 similar repeated zero-sum games: symmetric (fair) and asymmetric (unfair). Every 15 periods in a 150 rounds experiment we measure through BDM the willingness to pay to exchange role to a favorable one. Our preliminary (unfair game) results show that (a) the BDM bids are lower than fair value (b) they are lower than empirical difference between symmetric/asymmetric roles' payoffs (c) one third of the sample bids zero and does not report noting asymmetry (d) bids are quite static.
30/09 at 2:30 pm (UTC+3) Grigory Chernov (NRU HSE) "Pre-defense of the dissertation "Models of Learning in Economic Experiments"
The thesis is available here"Models of Learning in Economic Experiments"



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