Katherine Coffman is an assistant professor of business administration in the Negotiations, Organizations & Markets unit at Harvard Business School. Before joining HBS, she was an assistant professor of economics at The Ohio State University. Professor Coffman studies the dynamics of decision making by individuals and groups, and particularly how gender differences affect outcomes in economically significant contexts. Recognizing that innovative ideas and good answers are valuable only if they are put forward, Professor Coffman employs controlled laboratory settings to investigate the factors that predict whether a person will decide to volunteer ideas, and to measure the effect of these decisions on outcomes.
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.