Will college students who set goals work harder and perform better? We report the results of two field experiments that involved four thousand college students. One experiment asked treated students to set goals for performance in the course; the other asked treated students to set goals for a particular task. Task-based goals had large and robust positive effects on the level of task completion, and task-based goals also increased course performance. We also find that performance-based goals had positive but small effects on course performance. We use theory that builds on present bias and loss aversion to interpret our results.
What explains large and persistent differences in reciprocity across social groups? This paper exploits variation in historical experience of democracy over space and time in Switzerland to highlight its strong positive association with reciprocity today. Individuals from regions that experienced democracy since the Middle Ages display stronger reciprocity than individuals from regions that acquired democracy only after the invasion by Napoleon. Because historical democracy was widespread in Swiss German but limited in Swiss French-speaking regions, individuals from these groups differ widely in their reciprocity. The difference, however, disappears when we compare Swiss Germans and Swiss French from regions without historical democracy. These results are not capturing current institutions, beliefs, migration, historical dynasties, language and other group-specific characteristics. Further results suggest that the emergence of historical democracy was due to idiosyncratic events and that its effect on reciprocity persists due to intergenerational transmission.
Roman Sheremeta is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University and a research affiliate at the Economic Science Institute at Chapman University. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Purdue University. The focus of his research is in experimental economics and game theory, with applications to behavioral economics, conflict resolution, industrial organization, public and labor economics.
The presentation will be loosely based on the paper “Impulsive Behavior in Competition: Testing Theories of Overbidding in Rent-Seeking Contests.” https://ideas.repec.org/p/chu/wpaper/16-21.html
Drew Fudenberg is the Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics at MIT. He received an A.B. in applied mathematics from Harvard College in 1978, and a Ph.D. in economics from MIT in 1981. Fudenberg’s work on game theory ranges from foundational work on learning and equilibrium to the analysis of repeated games and reputation effects to the study of particular games, competition between firms, and other topics in theoretical industrial organization. More recently he has worked on topics in behavioral economics and decision theory such as self-control and stochastic choice.
Muriel Niederle is a Department of Economics Professor at Stanford University. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University. She is a behavioral and experimental economist with a strong interest on gender differences in economic outcomes. Niederle also has a line of work on market design.
We would like to welcome Peter Schwardmann, who is visiting CESS from February to April 2017. Peter’s research focuses on motivated cognition and topics in behavioral industrial organization. He is particularly interested in why people hold biased beliefs and in how biased beliefs affect market outcomes. Peter works at the University of Munich and received his Ph.D. from the Toulouse School of Economics in 2014.