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January 18-20, 2017
NYU Abu Dhabi
The Bobst Center for Peace and Justice at Princeton University and the Social Science Experimental Laboratory (SSEL) at New York University Abu Dhabi are hosting the Winter Experimental Social Sciences Institute (WESSI) Workshop at New York University Abu Dhabi on January 18-20, 2017. This workshop is organized by Rebecca Morton (NYU New York and NYU Abu Dhabi) and Amaney Jamal (Princeton University).
The Institute is designed to provide training for social science graduate students and junior faculty in experimental methods, broadly defined. The institute will provide training in lab, field, lab-in-the-field, and survey experimental methodology and cover a broad range of substantive topics in the social sciences drawn from economics, political science, and sociology. Practical training for lab-in-the-field experimentation will be provided.
- Abraham Samuel Aldama Navarrete, NYU New York
- S. Erdem Aytac, Koç University
- Jonathan Chapman, NYUAD
- Helena Fornwagner, Innsbruck
- Nick Haas, NYU New York
- Bethany Shockley, Qatar Institute
- Yuree Noh, UCLA
- Laura Paler, Pittsburgh
- Daniel Tavana, Princeton University
- Erin York, Columbia University
- Hana Radhi Al-Bannay
- Alizeh Batra, NYUAD
- Han Il Chang, NYUAD
- Aurelie Dariel, NYUAD
- David Halpern, NYU New York
- Aaron Kamm, NYUAD
- Curtis Kephart, NYUAD
- Prabin Khadka, NYU New York
- Rabia Malik, NYUAD
- Huanren Zhang, NYUAD
- Jan Zilinsky, NYU New York
September 16-17, 2016
The Bobst Center for Peace and Justice at Princeton University and the Social Science Experimental Laboratory (SSEL) at New York University Abu Dhabi are hosting the Winter Experimental Social Sciences Institute (WESSI) Workshop at New York University Florence Italy on September 16-17, 2016. This workshop is organized by Rebecca Morton (NYU New York and NYU Abu Dhabi) and Amaney Jamal (Princeton University).
The WESSI Workshop gives social science PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior Assistant Professors in experimental social science the opportunity to present their research designs and work in progress and receive personal feedback from noted scholars in the field. It enables students to attend presentations by these mentors, and learn from their research experience. Each mentor presents their own research and each student receives feedback from two mentors.
- Presentations Abstracts
The mentors who will be presenting and giving feedback to junior scholars on their research are:
Michal Bauer, Charles University Prague and Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Alexander Cappelen, Norwegian School of Economics
Fotini Christia, MIT
Catherine C. Eckel, Texas A&M University
Amaney Jamal, Princeton
Rebecca Morton, NYU New York and NYU Abu Dhabi
Arthur Schram, University of Amsterdam
Bertil Tungodden, Norwegian School of Economics
Han Il Chang, Postdoctoral Associate at NYU Abu Dhabi
Donghyun Danny Choi, PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley
Soenke Ehret, PhD Student in Politics, NYU New York
Romain Ferrali, PhD Candidate in Politics, Princeton University
Trevor Johnston, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Adam Harris, Postdoctoral Fellow in political science at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Ghida Karbala, Doctorate Researcher at Goettingen University, Germany
Dominika Kruszewska, PhD Candidate in the Government Department at Harvard University
Selin Efsan Nas Ozen, PhD Student in Economics, University of Bologna, Bologna
Leonid Peisakhin, Assistant Professor of Politics; NYU Abu Dhabi
Max Schaub, PhD Researcher at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy
Michal Bauer, Assistant Professor (under US absolute charter), CERGE-EI, Researcher, Economics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Assistant Professor, Institute of Economic Studies, Charles University in Prague, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) Research Fellow
Attention Discrimination: Theory and Field Experiments with Monitoring Information Acquisition
Coauthors: Vojtěch Bartoš, Michal Bauer, Julie Chytilová, and Filip Matějka
We integrate tools to monitor information acquisition in field experiments on discrimination and examine whether gaps arise already when decision-makers choose the effort level for reading an application. In both countries we study, negatively stereotyped minority names reduce employers’ effort to inspect resumes. In contrast, minority names increase information acquisition in the rental housing market. Both results are consistent with a model of endogenous allocation of costly attention, which magnifies the role of prior beliefs and preferences beyond the one considered in standard models of discrimination. The findings have implications for magnitude of discrimination, returns to human capital and policy.
Alexander Wright Cappelen, Vice-chair, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics, Professor, Norwegian School of Economics
Coauthors: Cornelius Cappelen and Bertil Tungodden
In many important distributive situations it is difficult to distinguish between individuals who are deserving and individuals who are undeserving. In such situations there is a trade-off between two types of mistakes; false positive, i.e. giving to someone who is not deserving, and false negative, i.e. not giving to someone who is deserving. We present the results from the first experimental study of how people make trade-offs between these mistakes. We examine the behavior of a representative sample of 2000 participants from the US and Norway, who were asked to distribute a sum of money between two groups of workers. In the first group all workers had done an assignment, but in the second group a number of the workers had falsely reported to have done the assignment. We find that the willingness to equalize income between the two groups is decreasing in the number cheaters in the second group. Two thirds of the spectators are, however, false negative averse in the sense that they are willing to accept three false positives in order to avoid one false negative. We also find that the aversion to false negatives is related to political preferences and nationality, with left-wing voters and Norwegians being significantly more likely to be false negative averse than right-wing voters and Americans.
Associate Professor of Political Science, Political Science, MIT
Networks of Sectarianism: Experimental Evidence on Access to Services in Baghdad
Coauthors: Dean Knox and Jaffar Al-Rikabi
The relationship between ethnic fractionalization and lower availability of public goods and services is now treated as an empirical regularity. Using a pool of over 300 participants from paired Sunni and Shia neighborhoods in the highly sectarian context of contemporary Iraq, we conduct a novel smallworld network experiment in which participants are randomly assigned to obtain information about local government offices in Sunni- or Shia-dominated target areas. We show that citizens draw on their social networks to gain access to public goods and services, and that segregated social networks and different patterns of network search result in differential levels of access between groups. Contrary to expectations, we find that the politically dominant majority Shia group is substantially less able to access public services than the minority Sunni group. They pursue an inefficient network search strategy that relies on lower-quality contacts, and are less able to leverage their social ties into costly assistance. The minority group appears to have developed better strategies for obtaining resources to which it would otherwise be denied access. However, we cannot fully disentangle this from alternative explanations, including the possibility that Sunni participants indirectly benefited from the historical legacy of Sunni rule.
Adam S. Harris, Postdoctoral Fellow with the Governance and Local Development (GLD) program at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden
While multiethnic coalitions are a regular feature of electoral politics in Sub-Saharan Africa, little is understood as to what forms the configuration of these coalitions will take: which groups are more likely to come together to form these partnerships than others, and which of these partnerships are more likely to endure? We propose a micro-foundational explanation to these questions based on the basic idea that the objective and subjective distance between ethnic groups, or “inter-ethnic distance,” structures the likelihood that ethnic groups will enter into a coalition arrangement. Political elites who negotiate cross-group electoral coordination must factor in the extent to which the arrangement forged at the elite level will be followed by voters, as voters have different attitudes and predispositions towards different out-groups. We introduce a novel research project with two major components: the first component combines lab-in-the-field and survey experimental methods to measure inter-ethnic group distance in Kenya, a country characterized by shifting political coalitions between a diverse set of ethnic groups. We then present a randomized experiment in the run-up to the 2017 general elections in Kenya designed to demonstrate that voters are more predisposed to support non-coethnic candidates from ethnically-proximate groups and that the strength of the elite endorsement that is required to induce voters to engage in cross-ethnic voting increases with the inter-ethnic distance between groups.
Catherine C. Eckel, Catherine Eckel is Sarah and John Lindsey Professor in the Liberal Arts and University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Economics at Texas A&M University, where she directs the Behavioral Economics and Policy Program. She has held faculty positions at the University of British Columbia, Virginia Tech, and the University of Texas at Dallas, where she was founder and director of the Center for Behavioral and Experimental Economic Science.
Coauthor: Rick K. Wilson
Individuals enter trust relationships voluntarily, and in many cases carefully screen their counterparts beforehand. However, most research on trust has been conducted using static, randomly-allocated partners. In this study we set up an environment where subjects “shop” for a trustworthy partner, selecting a (real) partner from a set of photographs. Thus partners are selected prior to a trusting decision being made. First movers in the trust game rank second movers and players are then matched based on rankings using an incentive-compatible mechanism. They then complete a standard trust game with their matched counterpart. At the end of the study, subjects rate all the photos on a set of word pairs (including race, gender, ethnicity, attractiveness, etc.) Factor analysis identifies two main factors, one related to the honesty/trustworthiness of the face, and the other related to its likeability, both of which might reasonably play a role in partner choice. Indeed, when we examine the rankings of the photos, we see that both factors significantly affect a photo’s ranking. In the trust game, we show that choosing a partner substantially increases trust and reciprocity, and we see that the first factor of the counterpart is related to the extent of trusting behavior. We also see that reciprocity is strongly predicted by the counterpart’s honesty/ trustworthiness factor, and conclude that when subjects can select their partners, they are able to identify counterparts who will reciprocate their trust. This is in contrast to prior research on inferring trustworthiness from photos, but with static, randomly-assigned partnerships.
Sönke Ehret, PhD candidate in the Politics Department at New York University
How do citizens decide between policies with real consequences for their own opportunity compared to the opportunity of others? This laboratory and online synchronous experiment develops and tests a theory on the interaction between strategic incentives in contests with political decision making on contests; in the experiment contestants vote on the distribution of the capacity to compete, an equal, and an unequal one prior to a competition. The theory suggests a vote choice strongly contingent on the availability of information about politically created privileges. With political uncertainty selfish behavior in competition can be electorally self-defeating: privileged voters choose equality but the underprivileged maintain inequality of chances.
Romain Ferrali, PhD candidate in Politics at Princeton University
This paper introduces a minimal experimental design to model the formation of corruption networks within an organization. Subjects play a diffusion game on a network. They face a tradeoff between efficiency and secrecy: diffusing corruption decreases the probability of sanction but reduces one's share of the bribe. We observe that as the probability of sanction increases, corruption decreases by weeding out petty corruption but involves more accomplices. Isolated agents are more corrupt, as they form enclaves that create fewer witnesses. Adding ties to the network reduces corruption only if it breaks down these enclaves. Results suggest that organizational structure may substitute for tougher enforcement in reducing corruption.
Associate at the Belfer Center’s Middle East Initiative
This study explores the effects of entrepreneurship on women's empowerment. We conduct a randomized evaluation to determine the impact of a small grants program in Iraq, which provides skills training for local women. Upon completing the training program, alumni are invited to apply for a small business grant. After identifying a pool of qualified applicants, we randomly assign who is awarded a grant. We then evaluate the effects of these grants on empowerment. We administer an endline survey to determine whether grant recipients report more confidence or perceive a higher status for women in their communities. Finally, we investigate whether program beneficiaries are more likely to participate in civic engagement or local politics.
Doctorate Researcher at Goettingen University, Germany
Household Bargaining over Pro-social Decisions, Evidence from Egypt
Coathors: Gerhard Riener, Marcela Ibanez
Bargaining among household members determines the allocation of resources within its unit. Pro-social decisions taken within the household are stereotypically thought to be in the power of decision of women. We test the above hypothesis by conducting a lab in the field experiment with a representative sample of the population of the city of Cairo. In a first step subjects took donation decisions, without being observed by the spouse. In a second step we paired participants in a between subject design either with the spouse or a randomly chosen subject. We then examine one’s willingness to have his/her decision implemented compared to the decision of the partner. We find that although subjects generally prefer to have their decision implemented, married women paired with their spouse tend to have low willingness to implement their decision. We do not find this difference when participants decide against a randomly chosen subject. We therefore provide empirical evidence that women have a lower willingness to bargain within the household, even in stereotypically thought female domains.
PhD Candidate in the Government Department at Harvard University
Coauthors: Ze Fu, Naima Green
What explains public opinion on US support for democracy movements abroad? In this paper, we use an experimental survey design to explore how features of pro-democratic movements in foreign countries shape American preferences for US action in support of the protesters. Using footage from recent mobilizations around the world, we test whether support for a pro-democracy movement is driven by reactions to repression by the regime or by ethnic affinity to the group challenging the regime. Our results show that violent repression of the protesters increases support for US sanctions against the host regime, but this change in preferences does not translate into personal political behavior. We find mixed evidence for the influence of protesters’ ethnic identity on policy preference and political behavior. Protester ethnicity appears to impact personal political behavior for respondents with a high social dominance orientation; moreover, warmth towards certain regions correlates with changes in policy preference and behavior. Finally, we find that, on average, Americans from racial minority groups report a willingness to donate $11 more than white Americans, regardless of protester ethnicity or repression by the host government. This paper contributes to both foreign policy and contentious politics literatures by exploring how features of mass mobilization shape preferences for government action towards other states.
Selin Efsan Nas Ozen, PhD Student in Economics, University of Bologna, Bologna
Coauthors: Maria Bigoni and Stefania Bortolotti
This research aims to analyze some of the socio-economic determinants of extreme actions, that we dub indiscriminate punishment. Indiscriminate punishment includes actions that have disruptive effects on others, at a large cost for oneself, and it is characterized by three elements: (i) the willingness to self-sacrifice, (ii) to provide a future and uncertain benefit to the members of one’s own group, (iii) and to harm all members of the opponents’ group, even if they are potentially innocent. The aim is to investigate the following questions:
1. Does economic inequality trigger indiscriminate punishment?
2. Is indiscriminate punishment more common when inequality is determined endogenously, by others’ intentional behavior, rather than exogenously by Nature?
3. How does indiscriminate punishment affect income distribution in subsequent periods?
We implement a two by two between-subjects design. The first dimension we employ is the degree of inequality of the payoff distribution. The second dimension concerns the sources of inequality, in the sense of whether it is not a direct responsibility of a subject, or whether inequality is introduced as a choice. Players are randomly assigned to two groups, and inequality is generated in the first stage (inequality game). In the second phase, each subject has the chance to indiscriminately hit some of the other group’s members, at the cost of losing all his earnings and being excluded from the subsequent phases (sacrifice game). In the third and fourth phases the inequality game and sacrifice game are played again.
Leonid Peisakhin, Assistant Professor of Politics; NYU Abu Dhabi
Han Il Chang, Postdoctoral associate at New York University Abu Dhabi
Crossing the Religious Divide: An Experiment on Deliberation and Inter-Sectarian Cooperation in Lebanon
Lack of inter-sectarian cooperation is a common problem across the Middle East. In this laboratory in the field experiment among a representative sample of the residents of Beirut, Lebanon (Sunni, Shi’a, and Christian) we ask whether members of different religious groups can be encouraged to cooperate across sectarian lines following a deliberative discussion about the benefits of inter-sectarian cooperation. The main treatment is the presence or absence of a focus-group style deliberative discussion about the benefits of cooperation. The outcome is measured in simulated elections where participants have a chance to vote for a candidate from a different religious group who proposes the egalitarian distribution of public goods. Additional treatment is intended to establish whether those who participated in a deliberative discussion are less susceptible to clientelistic appeals.
Max Schaub, PhD candidate in Social and Political Sciences, European University Institute, Florence, Italy
Introducing and assessing a new behavioural measure: the threat game
How can we measure threat perceptions behaviourally? The presentation introduces the threat game, a game developed to assess to what extent individuals fear ethnic outsiders more than their co-ethnics. The first part will briefly introduce results collected with the threat game during fieldwork in Georgia. I will then discuss some of the difficulties involved in developing and employing a new behavioural measure such as the threat game. Specifically, I address the challenges of a) keeping the game simple, and b) making sure that the game actually measures the concept (threat) that it should measure.
Arthur Schram, Professor of experimental economics at the Amsterdam School of Economics of the University of Amsterdam, Senior research fellow at the Robert Schumann Center for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.
Authority and Centrality: Leadership and Cooperation in Networked Teams
We experimentally investigate the effects of two different forms of leadership — authority and centrality — on cooperation in teams. A leader with authority can allocate funds between him/herself and the rest of the team, while leaders with centrality keep a team together by having a pivotal position in a network. In some treatments, players can vote to exclude others and prevent them from further participation in the team. We find that teams with authority reach low cooperation levels, and that leaders with authority are typically excluded early on in the game. In stark contrast, teams with centrality keep up high levels of cooperation, despite tolerating free riding by leaders with centrality.
Bertil Tungodden, Professor at the Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), Co-director of the research group The Choice Lab at Norwegian School of Economics, Associated Senior Researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI).
Coauthors: Ingvild Almas and Alexander Cappelen
There is a striking difference in income inequality and redistributive policies between the United States and Scandinavia. To study whether there is a corresponding cross-country difference in social preferences, we conducted the first large-scale international social preference experiment, with nationally representative samples from the United States and Norway. We introduce a new experimental approach, which combines the infrastructure of an international online market place and the infrastructure of a leading international data collection agency. A novel feature of our experiment is that Americans and Norwegians make real distributive choices in identical situations where they have complete information about the source of inequality and the cost of redistribution. We show that Americans and Norwegians differ significantly in fairness views, but not in the importance assigned to efficiency. The study also provides robust causal evidence of fairness considerations being much more fundamental for inequality acceptance than efficiency considerations in both countries.