Interests: Experiments, game theory, mechanism design, some individual choice stuff, some other stuff.
See my Google scholar profile.
Current Working Papers & Work In Progress
Summary: This was supposed to be a test of Yoon's (2015) prediction that truthfulbutnoisy ratings can actually increase certain types of information cascades. But the crazy subjects just loved to purchase regardless of the history! Appears to be some sort of activity bias going on.
(paper uploaded: 10/05/16 11:29:55am.)


Summary: In some markets where pollution permits are auctioned off, a few players get consigned an initial allocation of permits and receive the revenue from their sale. How does this alter the auction outcome? We test this setting in the lab.
(paper uploaded: 9/30/15 10:57:52am.)


Summary: A risk averse agent will misreport their beliefs in a proper scoring rule. We use duality techniques to characterize what beliefs they will report. Not super useful, unless the indirect utility function is easier to work with. We also show how to bound the degree of misreport with CARA preferences.
(paper uploaded: 11/30/16 1:19:23pm.)


Summary: In our other paper on experiment incentives we model gambles as Savage acts, which are very general. Here we repeat the exercise when gambles are viewed as objective lotteries. In practical terms the conclusions are the same, but the characterization is more beautiful here.
(paper uploaded: 6/05/14 11:20:55am.)


Summary: I elicit a ridiculous amount of stuff from people playing games. Classical centipede games and prisoners' dilemmas definitely have social preferences. They're Bayesian games! There's some irrationality out there, too. But it goes away when strategic uncertainty is removed.
Download: 90Min Presentation 60Min Presentation 20Min. Presentation
(paper uploaded: 6/08/17 1:45:03pm.)


Summary: People (imperfectly) reciprocate others' contributions in public goods games, causing a decline over time. We manipulate firstorder and secondorder beliefs of subjects (without using deception) and find that increases in secondorder beliefs cause an increase in contributions, but increases in firstorder beliefs do not. This supports guilt aversion, not reciprocity.
Download: 20Min. Presentation


Summary: Markov perfect equilibrium (MPE) requires that players react only to payoffrelevant information. In a repeated duopoly, Maskin & Tirole (1991) prove that Edgeworth cycles can be a MPE. We find cycles in the lab, but subjects also respond to recent information that's not payoffrelevant.
Download: 75Min. Presentation


Summary: We study a repeated prisoners' dilemma with private monitoring, except the whole history gets revealed (privately) at random points in time. Subjects can revise their currentperiod action after seeing the true history, but shockingly they don't! That's consistent with belieffree play.
Download: 30Min. Presentation


Refereed Publications
For published versions of these papers, remove "_WP" from the Working Paper Version's URL.
Summary: If we assume only monotonicity (dominated gambles are never chosen), paying for one random period (the RPS mechanism) is typically the only incentive compatible way to pay subjects. Paying every period is similarly justified if we assume a 'no complementarities at the top' (NCaT) condition. Which should you use? That's your decision.
Download: Online Appendices Full Working Paper Version 20Min. Presentation 90Min. Presentation


Summary: In a multiple price list experiment (eg, HoltLaury), we find that paying one randomly is not incentive compatible when all decisions are shown in a single table or list. When we show each decision on a separate screen, then it becomes incentive compatible. Yeah, subjects exhibit more multiple switches, but those are their true preferences!
Download: Working Paper Version 20Min. Presentation


Summary: Nobody knows this, but Groves & Ledyard's (1977) mechanism is actually just a VCG mechanism where people with nonquadratic preferences announce quadratic approximations. We generalize this procedure to construct some really messylooking mechanisms.
Download: Working Paper Version 30Min. Presentation


Summary: We test crossgame stability of the Levelk/CogHi model. Ann's estimated level in one set of games fails to predict her level in another. In fact, Ann being a higher level than Bob in the first set of games doesn't predict who's higher in the other.
Download: Working Paper Version Data
Instructions


Summary: Let C be the set of preference profiles that admit a Condorcet winner. Any social choice correspondence that picks the Condorcet winner and whose domain is a subset of C can be implemented. But if you allow for more preferences, it cannot be implemented.
Download: Working Paper Version


Summary: Ann and Bob play a finitelyrepeated prisoners dilemma (FRPD). Ann can see how Bob played a previous FRPD against Charlie. If Bob was good to Charlie, then Ann trusts Bob more than she would've if she hadn't seen his history. But if Bob was a jerk to Charlie, Ann doesn't trust him less! Standard reputation models can't explain this.
Download: Working Paper Version 20Min. Presentation


Summary: Our experiments suggest that, when perceiving inflation, people tend to overweight those goods whose prices they see frequently. For example, if you see gas prices shooting up, you think the entire economy is inflating faster than it really is.
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Working Paper Version


Summary: We characterize all mechanisms that implement Walrasian or Lindahl allocations in Nash equilibrium. Then we prove that they can't be dynamically stable if their message space is onedimensional, but can be stable if messages are twodimensional. Example mechanisms are given.
Download:
Working Paper Version (with corrections since publication)
Presentation


Summary: For normal distributions, the posterior mean always lies between the prior mean and the signal. That's not true in general. We characterize distributions for which that is true. Symmetry and unimodality of the error distribution are important.
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Working Paper Version
Presentation


Summary: Fix any bounded prior. We can construct a signal distribution and two possible signals where the higher signal is actually worse news, in terms of stochastic dominance of the posterior. (A failure of MLRP says this must be true for some prior; we say here it can be true for any.)
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Working Paper Version


Summary: A prediction market works great if you have lots of traders to help equilibrate prices. When you don't, we find that incentivized, iterated polls perform better.
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Working Paper Version
Presentation


Summary: Suppose you use an incentive compatible mechanism to determine an ideal public goods allocation. But then some people don't mail in their check to the social planner. If you can't punish them, then no allocation better than the endowment is achievable when the economy grows large.
Download:
Working Paper Version
Presentation
MATLAB script for drawing Kolm triangles


Summary: First, we distinguish between overplacement, overestimation, and overprecision. Then we show negative correlation between overplacement and overestimation as task difficulty varies, and rationalize this observation via a simple Bayesian argument.
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Working Paper Version


Summary: I show how rational cooperation between groups can be sustained when sufficient stereotyping (modeled as a belief in type correlation among group members) is present. Behavior in experimental labor markets ('gift exchange games') is consistent with this theory.
Download:
Working Paper Version
Appendix
Data
Instructions
Presentation


Summary: Using simple theory and lab experiments, we show that the current method of funding space science projects within NASA is inferior to a proposed alternative with a cost sharing feature. (Thronson, Ulrich & Varsi are/were NASA employees.)
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Working Paper Version
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Presentation


Summary: We know dynamic stability (supermodularity?) is important for public goods mechanisms. Here, I test 5 mechanisms, and provide a simple bestreply dynamic that predicts play (and convergence) reasonably well. (This was my job market paper.)
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Working Paper Version
Data
Instructions
Presentation


Summary: Nonequilibrium behavior in the 4player `contestants row' game on the Price is Right is replicated in the lab. But when the game is made simpler (requiring less backwards induction), players play equilibrium more frequently.
Download:
Working Paper Version
Data
Instructions
View a nontechnical summary of this paper.
I was interviewed by CBC Radio (Canada) in May, 2007 about this paper. You can listen to the broadcast. 

Papers in Proceedings
Summary: This is a 6page version of "The Trouble With Overconfidence", Psychological Review 115(2): 502–517. April 2008.


NonRefereed & EditorRefereed Publications
Summary: I agree with Rothkopf's shortcomings of the VCG mechanism, but urge computer scientists to look beyond dominant strategy implementation.


Older Unpublished Papers
Summary: Take a standard G.E. model. As the economy grows large, the Pareto optimal public good level is infinitely larger than the private good levels. This seems unrealistic. We fix this by assuming attention constraints limit agents' consumption of public goods.


Summary: In beliefbased learning models, agents form predictions based on past play and then best respond to them. To uncover the model players actually use, I either track their calculator usage or have them make incentivized predictions as they play.
Download: Presentation


Summary: Pratt gave a risk premium for gambles in which a random variable gets added to your wealth. We give several notions of a risk premium for gambles in which your wealth gets multiplied by a random variable.


Summary: This is a working paper version of "The Trouble With Overconfidence", writen for an economics audience and with more focus on the theory. This paper won the 2007 Roman Weil prize at CMU's Tepper School of Business.
Download: Appendix
Presentation
Data (.xls)


Summary: In 1999 I was an undergraduate student in Tim Cason's Experimental Economics (ECON 690) course at Purdue. I ran a pilot experiment testing behavior in Final Jeapordy against the predictions of Metrick (1995, AER).


Ph.D. Dissertation
Survey Presentations
Other Documents
Summary: I wrote this while studying for qualifier exams in graduate school. It's incomplete and messy. And I failed the exam.


Summary: This is a master record of all BibTeX entries I've entered over the years.
Last updated: 4/27/17 6:50:08pm.


Financial Support Sources
 NSF Grant #SES0847406: "CAREER: Behavioral Mechanism Design". 2009–14.
 NSF Grant #SES1426967: "Eliciting the Type Space in ExtensiveForm Game Forms". 2014–16.
