nep-exp New Economics Papers
on Experimental Economics
Issue of 2006‒04‒01
seven papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Friend or Foe? A Natural Experiment of the Prisoner%u2019s Dilemma By John A. List
  2. A survey of economic theories and field evidence on pro-social behavior By Stephan Meier
  3. Choosing Monetary Sequences: Theory and Experimental Evidence By Paola Manzini; Marco Mariotti; Luigi Mittone
  4. Space-filling Latin hypercube designs for computer experiments By Husslage,Bart; Rennen,Gijs; Dam,Edwin R. van; Hertog,Dick den
  5. The Basics of International Trade: A Classroom Experiment By Alberto Isgut; Ganesan Ravishanker; Tanya Rosenblat
  6. Robert Aumann’s Game and Economic Theory By Sergiu Hart
  7. John Charles Harsanyi By John A. Weymark

  1. By: John A. List
    Abstract: This study examines data drawn from the game show Friend or Foe?, which is similar to the classic prisoner’s dilemma tale: partnerships are endogenously determined, players work together to earn money, after which, they play a one-shot prisoner’s dilemma game over large stakes: varying from $200 to (potentially) more than $22,000. If one were to conduct such an experiment in the laboratory, the cost to gather the data would be well over $350,000. The data reveal several interesting insights; perhaps most provocatively, they suggest that even though the game is played in front of an audience of millions of viewers, there is some evidence consistent with a model of discrimination. The observed patterns of social discrimination are unanticipated, however. For example, there is evidence consistent with the notion that certain populations have a general “distaste” for older participants.
    JEL: C9 C72
    Date: 2006–03
  2. By: Stephan Meier
    Abstract: In recent years, a large number of economic theories have evolved to explain people’s pro-social behavior and the variation in their respective behavior. This paper surveys economic theories on pro-social behavior and presents evidence — mainly from the field — testing these theories. In addition, the survey emphasizes that institutional environment might significantly interact with pro-social preferences and explain some of the variation in observed pro-social behavior.
    Keywords: Human behavior ; Interpersonal relations
    Date: 2006
  3. By: Paola Manzini; Marco Mariotti; Luigi Mittone
    Abstract: In this paper we formulate and investigate experimentally a model of how individuals choose between sequences of monetary outcomes spread out in time. The theoretical model assumes that a decision-maker uses, in a sequential way, two criteria to screen options. Each criterion only permits a decision between some pairs of options, while the other options are incomparable according to that criterion When the first criterion is not decisive, the decision maker resorts to the second criterion to select an alternative. This type of decision procedures has encountered the favour of several psychologists, though it is quite under-explored in the economics domain. We find that: 1) traditional economic models based on discounting alone cannot explain a significant (almost 30%) proportion of the data no matter how much variability in discount functions is allowed; 2) our model, despite considering only a specific (exponential) form of discounting, can explain the data much better solely thanks to the use of the secondary criterion; 3) our model explains certain specific patterns in the choices of the 'irrational' people: we can reject the hypothesis that anomalous behaviour is due simply to random 'mistakes' around the basic predictions of discounting theories: the deviations are not random and there are clear systematic patterns of association between 'irrational' choices.
    Keywords: Time preference, Time sequences, Negative discounting
    Date: 2006
  4. By: Husslage,Bart; Rennen,Gijs; Dam,Edwin R. van; Hertog,Dick den (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: In the area of computer simulation Latin hypercube designs play an important role. In this paper the class of maximin Latin hypercube designs is considered. Up to now only several two-dimensional designs and designs for some small number of points are known for this class. Using periodic designs and simulated annealing we extend the known results and construct approximate maximin Latin hypercube designs for up to ten dimensions and for up to 100 design points. All these designs can be downloaded from the website
    Keywords: computer experiment;Latin hypercube design;non-collapsing;packing problem; simulated annealing;space-filling
    JEL: C90
    Date: 2006
  5. By: Alberto Isgut (Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2V6); Ganesan Ravishanker (ITS, Wesleyan University); Tanya Rosenblat (Department of Economics, Wesleyan University)
    Abstract: We introduce a simple web-based classroom experiment in which students learn the Ricardian model of international trade. Students are assigned to countries and then make individual production, trade and consumption decisions. The analysis of experimental data introduces students to the concepts of absolute and comparative advantage, relative prices, production possibility frontier, specialization, gains from trade, utility maximization and general equilibrium. Students learn about the relationship between individual decision-making and aggregate economic activity. The associated software, Ricardian Explorer, is easy to setup and requires minimal preparation time for instructors. The game is developed as a tool to complement courses in international trade, but it can be used in introductory and intermediate microeconomics courses as well. The analysis of teaching effectiveness has demonstrated that integration of this experiment in the curriculum enhances student learning.
    Keywords: Absolute advantage, comparative advantage, specialization, production possibility frontier, gains from trade, utility maximization, general equilibrium, classroom experiments
    Date: 2005–05
  6. By: Sergiu Hart
    Date: 2006–03–27
  7. By: John A. Weymark (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)
    Abstract: This article provides an overview of the main events in the life of John Harsanyi and a summary of his research on decision-theoretic foundations for utilitarianism, cooperative bargaining theory, games of incomplete information, and equilibrium selection in noncooperative games.
    Keywords: John Harsanyi, utilitarianism, bargaining theory, games of incomplete information, equilibrium selection
    JEL: B31
    Date: 2006–03

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