IFREE Small Grants Awarded

 The deadline for the most recent round of awards was August 15, 2017. The next round of applications will be due no later than February 15, 2018.

Please visit the Small Grants Program page to learn more.

Grant Recipients

The following research has been funded by the IFREE Small Grants program:

IFREE Proudly Announces Fall 2017 Small Grant Awards

NEW IMAGE“Manipulation in Prediction Markets,” Todd Kaplan, University of Exeter, UK (Lawrence Choo, Ro’i Zultan)

We experimentally test a prediction market to make economic decisions.  A prediction market is run using partially informed participants about outcome states. Then, an economic decision based upon the information is voted upon. In this initial analysis we will determine whether markets can aggregate price information when market outcomes are known to influence future collective decision-making and to determine whether this influence produces better decisions. Then, preferences mis-aligned with the organization are induced on a minority to determine the extent of their manipulative success, including “false news” about outcomes.

NEW IMAGE“Project Selection and Competitive Cheap Talk,” Eric Schmidbauer, University of Central Florida (John Hamman, Miguel Martinez-Carrasco)

An agency problem occurs if agents with private information compete for resources from a principal and are biased towards their own favored projects. Possible future interaction can mitigate this problem if an agent accepts a low-valued project today, but consumes resources that crowd out better future opportunities. The experiments are based on a principle/agent model to study this incentive problem. We test the hypothesis that revelation is easier to support, the larger is this future benefit.

NEW IMAGE“Media and Motivation: the Micro-Foundations of the Market for News,” Emilia Tjernstroem, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Ivan Balbuzahov)

We will measure the effects of performance-pay contracts for citizen journalists in an online English-language news firm in Kenya. The firm is a growing source of local news, garnering more than a million monthly views, receiving submissions from hundreds of active reporters. Currently, the author receives a fixed fee, independent of quality. By randomly allocating active reporters on the site to one control or two treatment groups, we will compare the current contractual approach to two new types of incentive contracts: (i) fee plus bonus based on number of readers and (ii) the writer chooses fixed-fee vs performance-pay.

NEW IMAGE“Do Negative Random Shocks Affect Trust and Trustworthiness?” Ismael Rodriguez-Lara, Middlesex University London (Hernan Bejarano, Joris Gillet)

We study whether (and how) negative external random shocks (e.g., war, earthquakes, personal health) impede trust and trustworthiness in sequential exchange. We propose an innovative design that relies on the Berg, et al.(1995) investment game. The experiments are designed to disentangle the effects of the shock, the inequality it creates and the uncertainty involved.

IFREE Proudly Announces Spring 2017 Small Grant Awards

“Unethical and Prosocial Behavior: The Role of Hedonic and Instrumental Social Image Concerns,” Fatemeh Momeni, University of Chicago, post doc

Engaging in prosocial behavior visible to others can create a “halo effect” which influences the judgment of others about unethical acts committed by the same individual.  Through prosocial behavior, a misbehaving agent whose action is observed by a third party with (or without) the power to influence the agent’s payoff can create a halo effect and alter the judgment of the third party about his unethical choice, and consequently lower his potential punishment.  The experimental design allows exploration of the extent to which various elements each contribute to the correlation between prosocial and unethical choices.

 “Stability and Dissolution of Economic and Monetary Unions: an Experimental Investigation,”  PI: Gabriele Camera, Professor, Chapman University

We seek to understand how countries form and dissolve economic and monetary unions when there are heterogeneous returns to cooperation (representing weak and strong countries).  In this study subjects make decisions as countries; they experience environments in which there are returns to cooperation; they are allowed to vote on whether they will stay in a union.  Various treatments examine how different distributions of returns to cooperation, monetary policies, and limits on entry/exit affect the returns and stability of unions.

“An Experimental test of Prediction Markets,”  PI: Antonio Filippin, Associate Professor, University of Milan

Prediction markets are an increasingly called-upon tool for aggregating diffuse information.  What can one really infer from the observed prices in such markets?  Theoretically, this depends on the underlying risk attitudes of the traders and the distribution of their prior beliefs.   This is the first study that has tried to directly measure trader beliefs and risk attitude in a lab setting in the context of these markets.  In preliminary results, it is found that risk attitudes do not play a strong role in explaining the observed mispricing.  Also, people’s beliefs are influenced by market prices, and where markets do not aggregate information well this actually leads to poorer quality posterior beliefs.

“Government Buyback Programs for Commodity Markets: An Experimental Investigation of the Subtle Effects of Floor Price Changes,” PI: Neslihan Uler,  Assistant Professor, AREC Department, University of Maryland

This research examines the effect of price floors on trading and storage decisions in a dynamic market setting comprised of government, producers and consumers.  The aim of the research is to explore how various nonbinding price floors, in environments where the possibility of negative shocks could push spot prices to the floor, affect behavior.  The results could better inform interventionist policies in agricultural markets.

“Coordination Under Fear,”  PI: Lauren Young, Assistant Professor, UC Davis

The authors use a coordination game to model citizens who could mobilize against a government regime.  The players are uncertain about the regime’s strength, which determines the costs of revolting. Each of two players receives a private, noisy signal about the regime’s strength, and then players simultaneously choose whether to mobilize or abstain.  The authors manipulate the emotion of fear by using a video from previous research, then test the effects of fear on citizens’ attempts to coordinate against the regime.

“Cursed Buyers in the Marketplace,”  Lukas Wenner, post-doc, University of Cologne

The focus of this research is on markets where quality is known by sellers, but not buyers.  The classic lemons result is that only low quality products will trade in equilibrium, but past experiments have found that buyers have a difficult time recognizing this.  The design varies the number of buyers and sellers who are in the market (one of each or two of each) and who makes price proposals.  The main point of the experiment is to see if competition will reduce the degree to which buyers are exploited.

Previous Awards:

Leeat Yariv, Marina Aganov, and Ahrash Dianat, California Institute of Technology; Larry Samuelson, Yale.

Nor Izzatina Abdul Aziz, Abhijit Ramalingam, Robert Sudgen, University of East Anglia, UK.

Peter DeScioli, Scott Bokemper, Stony Brook University.

Leeat Yariv, Marina Aganov, and Ahrash Dianat, California Institute of Technology; Larry Samuelson, Yale.

Nor Izzatina Abdul Aziz, Robert Sudgen, University of East Anglia, UK.

Peter DeScioli, Scott Bokemper, Stony Brook University.

Radovan Vadovic, Till Gross, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

Marco Castillo, Ahrash Dianat, George Mason University

Yan Chen, University of Michigan  

Abhijit Ramalingam, University of East Anglia; M.T. Aditya Srinivasan, Berklee College of Music; Brock V. Stoddard, University of South Dakota; and James M. Walker, Indiana University

Ro’i Zultan, Ella Segev, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Joshua Foster, graduate student, Economics Department, University of Arkansas

Colin Camerer, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology; Amos Nadler, Assistant Professor, Ivey Business, Western University, Ontario, Canada; Gideon Nave, PhD Student, Cal Tech.

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Yaron Lahav, Assistant Professor, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel

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Chineze E. Christopher, PhD student, Purdue University

David Kingsley, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Marco Fabbri, PhD candidate and Erasmus Mundus Scholar at the European Doctorate in Law & Economics; Paola Nicola Barbieri, PhD candidate in Economics, University of Bologna; Maria Bigoni, Assistant Professor, Economics, University of Bologna

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Abel Winn and Matthew McCarter, George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics and Chapman University

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Kyle Hyndman (School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University, Netherlands)

Gary Charness (Dept. of Economics, Univ. of CA Santa Barbara)

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Ciril Bosch-Rosa (5th year PhD student, Univ. of CA Santa Cruz)

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Caiyun Liu, Vincent Mak, Amnon Rapoport (The Graduate School of Management, Univ. of CA Riverside and Cambridge Judge Business School)

Benjamin Enke, Florian Zimmermann (Dept. of Economics, Institute for Applied Macroeconomics, Bonn, Germany)

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Marco Pagnozzi, Universita di Napoli Federico II, Department of Economics, Krista Jabs Saral, Webster University Geneva, Department of Business and Technology

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Todd L. Cherry, Appalachian State University, Department of Economics, David M. McEvoy, Appalachian State University, Department of Economics

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Peter DeScioli, Departments of Psychology and Economics, Brandeis University

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Erik O. Kimbrough, Assistant Professor of Economics, Simon Fraser University

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Moana Vercoe, post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Neuroconomics Studies; Paul J. Zak, Founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and Professor of Economics, Psychology and Management, Claremont Graduate University

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Michael K. Price, Department of Economics, University of Tennessee; Robert Hammond, Department of Economics, North Carolina State University

Peter Twieg, graduate student in economics working with Professor Kevin McCabe, Kevin McCabe, Director of the Center for the Study of Neuroeconomics, GMU
April 2011

Alexander L. Brown (Department of Economics, Texas A&M University), Joanna Lahey (Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University)

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Catherine J. Weinberger (Independent Scholar affiliated with the University of CA Santa Barbara, Department of Economics, and ISBER)

Jason Dana (Assistant Professor, Psychology, University of Pennsylvania)

Wei Shiun Chang (Pre-doc, Economics), and Timothy Salmon, (Professor/Advisor, Economics) Florida State University)

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Diego Aycinena (Assistant Professor, Universad Francisco Marroquin)