Douglas Dyer, John H Kagel
Cited by*: 7 Downloads*: 29

Experienced construction industry executives suffer from a winner's curse in laboratory common value auction markets (Dyer et al. [Dyer, D., J. H. Kagel, D. Levin. 1989. A comparison of naive and experienced bidders in common value offer auctions: Laboratory analysis. Econom. J. 99 108-115.]). This paper identifies essential differences between field environments and the economic theory underlying the laboratory markets that account for the executives' success in the field and a winner's curse in the lab. These are (1) industry-specific mechanisms which enable contractors to escape the winner's curse even when they bid too low, (2) learned, industry-specific evaluative processes which enable experienced contractors to avoid the winner's curse in the first place, and (3) important private value elements that underlie bidding. Also identified are a number of industry-specific bidding characteristics whose evolution can be explained using modern auction theory. Lessons are drawn regarding the use of experimental methods in economics.
John A List, Jason F Shogren
Cited by*: 19 Downloads*: 20

This paper calibrates real and hypothetical willingness-to-accept estimates elicited for consumer goods in a multi-unit, random nth-price auction. Using a within-subject experimental design, we find that people understated their real willingness to accept in the hypothetical regimes, framed both as demand and non-demand revealing. After controlling for personspecific effects, however, hypothetical and real statements are equivalent on the margin.
David Ong, Mengxia Zhang
Cited by*: 0 Downloads*: 7

A large body of research has attempted to demonstrate that people can exhibit psychological choice averse behavior (CAB) when faced with many choices. However, meta-analyses of these studies (which are of a small number of individual product lines) reveal conflicting results. Findings of CAB with some products lines are balanced by findings of choice loving behavior (CLB) with other products. The mean effect across product lines is zero. We hypothesize that CAB is driven by beliefs of unfamiliar shoppers about the risk of getting an ex-post undesired product. We constructed a measure of sampling risk by surveying 1,440 shoppers for their "likes", "neutrals", "dislikes", and "tried" for 339 varieties across 24 product lines at a large supermarket. We then recorded 35,694 shoppers' pass bys, stops, or purchases after we randomly reduced the varieties they faced on shelves. Again, the mean effect of reduced varieties across product lines was zero. However, we show that both the probability and intensity of CAB/CLB across product lines is predicted by our measure of sampling risk. We show that our findings are consistent with consumers exploiting the averaging effect of repeated gambles in order to maximize the probability of achieving a required rate of success in sampling untried varieties.
John A List, Anya Samek, Dana L Suskind
Cited by*: 0 Downloads*: 258

Behavioral economics and field experiments within the social sciences have advanced well beyond academic curiosum. Governments around the globe as well as the most powerful firms in modern economies employ staffs of behavioralists and experimentalists to advance and test best practices. In this study, we combine behavioral economics with field experiments to reimagine a new model of early childhood education. Our approach has three distinct features. First, by focusing public policy dollars on prevention rather than remediation, we call for much earlier educational programs than currently conceived. Second, our approach has parents at the center of the education production function rather than at its periphery. Third, we advocate attacking the macro education problem using a public health methodology, rather than focusing on piecemeal advances.
Glenn W Harrison, John A List
Cited by*: 0 Downloads*: 6

No abstract available
Sera Linardi, Tomomi Tanaka
Cited by*: 3 Downloads*: 7

This paper describes a randomized field experiment testing the impact of a savings competition on the behavior of working homeless individuals at a transitional shelter. When monetary prizes were offered for achieving the highest saving rates within a particular month, average savings increased by $80 (a 30% increase) while income and attendance at case management meetings remained unchanged. However, repeating the competition in the following month had no effect because responsive savers selected out of the shelter after the first month. In summary, while competition can increase savings in the short run, its effect may be limited to the intensive margin and may diminish with repetition. Combined with our findings that the strongest determinant of savings is income, it appear that for transitional populations on the economic margin, policies that provide opportunities to increase income may be a more effective first step than saving incentives.
Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, Leigh Linden
Cited by*: 2 Downloads*: 54

This note presents the results obtained after the first year of a two-year randomized evaluation of a computer assisted learning (CAL) program in Vadodara, India. The CAL program, implemented by a NGO, took advantage of the donation of four computers to each municipal primary school in Vadodara by the state government. The program provided each child in the fourth standard with two hours of shared computer time in which students played educational games that reinforced mathematics competencies ranging from the standard 1 to the standard 3 level. We find the program to be quite effective. On average, it increased math scores by 0.37 standard deviations. The program effect is slightly higher at the bottom of the distribution but persists throughout the distribution. The program had no apparent spillover on language competencies.
Thomas S Dee
Cited by*: 5 Downloads*: 7

Wisconsin's influential Learnfare initiative is a conditional cash penalty program that sanctions a family's welfare grant when covered teens fail to meet school attendance targets. In the presence of reference-dependent preferences, Learnfare provides uniquely powerful financial incentives for student performance. However, a 10-county random-assignment evaluation suggested that Learnfare had no sustained effects on school enrollment and attendance. This study evaluates the data from this randomized field experiment. In Milwaukee County, the Learnfare procedures were poorly implemented and the random-assignment process failed to produce balanced baseline traits. However, in the nine remaining counties, Learnfare increased school enrollment by 3.7 percent (effect size = 0.08) and attendance by 4.5 percent (effect size = 0.10). The hypothesis of a common treatment effect sustained throughout the six-semester study period could not be rejected. These effects were larger among subgroups at risk for dropping out of school (e.g., baseline dropouts, those over age for grade). For example, these heterogeneous treatment effects imply that Learnfare closed the enrollment gap between baseline dropouts and school attendees by 41 percent. These results suggest that well-designed financial incentives can be an effective mechanism for improving the school persistence of at-risk students at scale.
John A List, Michael K Price
Cited by*: 15 Downloads*: 27

We explore collusion by using the tools of experimental economics in a naturally occurring marketplace. We report that competitive price theory adequately organizes data in multilateral decentralized bargaining markets without conspiratorial opportunities. When conspiratorial opportunities are allowed and contract prices are perfectly observed, prices (quantities) are considerably above (below) competitive levels. When sellers receive imperfect price signals, outcomes are intermediate to those of competitive markets and collusive markets with full information. Finally, experienced buyers serve as a catalyst to thwart attempts by sellers to engage in anticompetitive pricing: in periods where experienced agents transact in the market, average transaction prices are below those realized in periods where only inexperienced agents execute trades.
Jay R Corrigan, Matthew C Rousu
Cited by*: 3 Downloads*: 18

Policymakers are considering including stricter standards in international trade agreements. Using auctions to assess preferences, we find that the median consumer places no premium on fair trade foods produced under more stringent labor and environmental standards. This indicates that current trade policies may be preferable to U.S. consumers.