Research Seminars (Archive)
Lying about Luck versus Lying about PerformanceLecturer: Agne Kajackaite Affiliation: WZB Berlin ESF MU Room S310 10:00 AM • 2/23/2018
Abstract: I compare lying behavior in a real-effort task in which participants have control over outcomes and a task in which outcomes are determined by pure luck. Participants lie significantly more in the random-draw task than in the real-effort task, leading to the conclusion lying about luck is intrinsically less costly than lying about performance.
Courts' Decisions, Cooperative Investments, and Incomplete ContractsLecturer: Alessandro De Chiara Affiliation: Central European University (CEU) ESF MU room S309 1:00 PM • 2/22/2018
Abstract: Buyers are often concerned about the adequateness of the design of the goods they procure. To reduce the probability of a design failure, buyers may try to motivate the sellers to make relationship-specific investments. In this paper I study how courts’ decisions affect sellers’ cooperative investment and buyers’ specification of the good. In assigning liability for a defective design, in some countries courts examine how much real authority the seller had in performing the work, instead of considering how formal authority was contractually allocated between the parties. I show that this approach induces the sellers to invest, albeit suboptimally, but leads the buyers to inefficiently under-specify the design of the good. I find that this approach can also make it harder to sustain optimal relational contracting, leading to the conclusion that it cannot be justified on efficiency grounds.
Revenues and expenditures of autonomous-connected-electric and shared vehiclesLecturer: Stefanie Peer Affiliation: WU Vienna ESF MU room S308 12:00 PM • 1/17/2018
Authors: Martin Adler (VU Amsterdam), Stefanie Peer (WU Vienna), Tanja Sinozic (ITA, Vienna)
Abstract: This paper aims at providing an overview of the public finance implications of autonomous-connected-electric and shared vehicles (ACES). Fuel and vehicle taxation currently generate 5-10% of federal and up to 30% of local tax revenue in OECD countries. The pending introduction of ACES is expected to have significant impacts on (among others) fuel consumption, travel demand, and car ownership structures, infrastructure requirements, and as a consequence also on fiscal revenues and expenditures. We argue that the increased demand for mobility due to the availability of affordable ACES will render the introduction of targeted taxes in line with ‘user pays’ and ‘polluter pays’ principles necessary, and also feasible, through the digitalization of mobility systems and other innovations such as ubiquitous GPS tracking of vehicles. Moreover, we emphasize the (changing) relevance of different governance layers: with targeted taxation schemes and declining federal tax revenues from fuel, registration and circulation taxes, local governance entities are expected to increase in relevance.
Commitment to Pay Taxes: A Field Experiment on the Importance of PromiseLecturer: Ann-Kathrin Koessler Affiliation: University of Osnabrück, Germany ESF MU room P103 1:00 PM • 12/8/2017
The ability of a tax authority to successfully collect taxes depends critically on both its relationship with the taxpayers and how strongly these taxpayers are committed to contributing to the common good. We present evidence on a new non-intrusive approach aimed at fostering the commitment to pay taxes. Using a between-subject design in a unique field setting, we experimentally test whether tax compliance can be increased by linking a voluntary promise of timely payment to a reward. We measure the change induced by an additional compliance promise through identifying the pure reward effect. We find that although previously compliant taxpayers are more likely to make a promise, the commitment to do so can improve payment behaviour. This effect, however, is strongly dependent on the type of reward to which the promise is linked. Compliance only increases when the reward is non-financial. No compliance effect is observed if cash is offered in return for promise fulfillment.
Link to paper: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2887289
The Winding Roads of Union Revitalization: the Old and New Challenges to Trade Unionism in PolandLecturer: Adam Mrozowicki Affiliation: University of Wrocław ESF AKADEMIC CLUB (FLOOR -1) 2:00 PM • 11/16/2017
(Coffee and cake will be available from 13:45 with the seminar starting promptly at 14:00)
Abstract: In the context of ongoing discussion on the changing nature of union power resources, this presentation will discuss selected trade union strategies adopted in Poland in the last decade with an aim of increasing their associational and (to the extent it was possible) structural power resources and, by these means, to reinforce their positions as the actors of industrial relations. The reference point for the lecture will be selected observations derived from the EC project PRECARIR and NCN-DFG project PREWORK both tackling the issue of the growth of precarious work in Poland from the perspective of workers and unionists themselves. The lecture will start from an overview of trade union situation in Poland in the context of: (a) the political-economic regime and its evolution after 1989 and, in particular, in the last decade, against the comparative background of selected other Central and Eastern European countries; (b) the labour market changes, in particular the spectacular rise of temporary Labour Code and non-Labour Code contracts; (c) the changes of workers’ attitudes towards trade unions as documented by existing surveys and authors’ own research. In the main part of the lecture, I will discuss selected innovative union practices in Poland, including trade union organizing of precarious employees, mass media campaigns, street protest (worker-citizens) actions and making use of political instruments to better regulate employment conditions of precarious workers. Again, selected examples from other CEE countries will be given as the context for the discussion of the Polish case. In concluding discussion, I will attempt to assess intended and unintended outcomes of union practices with regards to the collective situation of workers, the position of trade unions and the political impact of union strategies in the country.
Extractive Institutions: A Little Goes a Long Way. The Soviet Occupation of Germany versus AustriaLecturer: Martin Halla Affiliation: Johannes Kepler University Linz Room S308, ESF MU 1:00 PM • 11/13/2017
(Coffee and cake will be available from 12:45 with the seminar starting promptly at 13:00)
Abstract: As a consequence of World War II, Austria was divided into four different occupation zones for 10 years. Before tight travel restrictions came into place, about 11 percent of the population residing in the Soviet zone moved across the demarcation line. We exploit this large internal migration shock to further our understanding of why economic activity is distributed unevenly across space. Our analysis shows that the distorted population distribution across locations has fully persisted until today (60 years after the demarcation line become obsolete). An analysis of more direct measures of economic activity shows an even higher concentration in the former non-Soviet zone. This gap in economic activity is growing over time, mainly due to commuting streams out of the former Soviet zone. This shows that a transitory shock is capable of shifting an economy to a new spatial equilibrium, which provides strong evidence for the importance of increasing returns to scale in explaining the spatial distribution of economic activity.
Link to paper: https://econpapers.repec.org/paper/innwpaper/2016-23.htm
Hierarchies and honestyLecturer: Rainer Michael Rilke Affiliation: WHU Business School S308, ESF MU 11:00 AM • 10/24/2017
Every organization rests on hierarchical structures. In organizations hierarchies are essential to structure and delegate which agent is responsible for which kind of task, but also which agent in the organization is required to report to other members of the organization. In the present study, we experimentally study reporting behavior in three-person coordination games. Subjects report the outcome of a private die-roll to their group. If all three reports are identical, payoffs are realized. We vary the reporting hierarchies, i.e., whether all subjects report simultaneously, as in flat hierarchies, or sequentially, as in steep hierarchies. We observe the highest levels of dishonest overreporting in flat reporting hierarchies. Our results show that honest leaders in steep hierarchies can induce honest follower behavior. In additional treatments, we investigate different motives for leaders to behave honest. Taken together, our results highlight the critical role of reporting hierarchies and leadership in shaping honesty in organizations.
Contract enforcement and trustworthiness across ethnic groups: Experimental evidence from Northern AfghanistanLecturer: Vojtěch Bartoš Affiliation: University of Munich ESF MU, Room S314 12:00 PM • 4/7/2017
We study how the availability and use of an institution a financial sanction affects trust, trustworthiness, and moral intentions towards co-ethnics and non-co-ethnics using an economic experiment run with 420 adult males from peri-urban areas in Afghanistan. In contrast to previous studies on the behavioral effects of financial incentives, our subjects have little experience with formal institutions. We use a trust game with a requested back-transfer in which the investor can choose to impose a financial sanction for non-compliance. The sanction is costly to the trustee but cost-less to the investor. While sanctioning increases back-transfers in cross-ethnic pairs, it does not in co-ethnic pairs. Our results suggest that financial sanctions may crowd out moral incentives more strongly among one's own group, but have a much smaller behavioral effect when applied to individuals from a different ethnic group. The results have important implications for understanding how formal institutions affect cooperation in ethnically heterogeneous settings.
Dispute resolution or escalation? The strategic gaming of feedback withdrawal options in online marketsLecturer: Ben Greiner Affiliation: WU Vienna Faculty of Economics, Masaryk University, Room S310 1:00 PM • 3/24/2017
Many online markets encourage traders to make good after an unsatisfactory transaction by offering the opportunity to withdraw negative reputational feedback in a dispute resolution phase. Motivated by field evidence and guided by theoretical considerations, we use laboratory markets with two-sided moral hazard to show that this option, contrary to the intended purpose, produces an escalation of dispute. The mutual feedback withdrawal option creates an incentive to leave negative feedback, independent of the opponent’s behavior, to improve one’s bargaining position in the dispute resolution phase. This leads to distorted reputation information and less trust and trustworthiness in the trading phase. Buyers who refuse to give feedback strategically, even when it comes at a personal cost, mitigate the detrimental impact. It is also mitigated in markets with one-sided moral hazard and a unilateral feedback withdrawal option.
Road congestion and public transitLecturer: Martin Adler Affiliation: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Faculty of Economics, Masaryk University, Room S314 1:00 PM • 12/16/2016
Road congestion and travel delays are a major obstacle to efficient transportation. We estimate the marginal external time cost of motor vehicle travel as well as the public-transit induced reduction in motor vehicle congestion for the city of Rome. We estimate the marginal external cost of car flow introducing an approach which allows for endogeneity and other statistical issues caused by reverse causality –.i.e. a situation where an increase in travel time results in a decrease in transport flow, a phenomenon sometimes labelled as hypercongestion, We make use of a quasi-experimental approach employing public transit strikes to account for endogeneity issues. The motor vehicle’s marginal external time cost is 4.1 minutes per kilometer during peak hours, which is substantial as it is about four times its marginal private time cost. By supplying public transit, motor vehicles’ travel time is reduced by 0.14 minutes per kilometer during peak hours. The external benefits of public transit justify current subsidy levels to public transit and suggest that even larger subsidies would be welfare improving. Large welfare gains could be achieved by bus-lanes and road pricing that would decrease congestion and increase public transit use.