Job Market Paper:

Preferences for the Resolution of Uncertainty and the Timing of Information

[45-min presentation]

Revision Requested, Journal of Economic Theory

If it has happened/ you want to know it sooner./ Otherwise, you’ll wait.

We present results from a laboratory experiment designed to identify preferences over the resolution of uncertainty and timing of non-instrumental information acquisition in a rich choice set. We test theoretical predictions along three dimensions: early vs. late resolution, one-shot vs. gradual, and positive vs. negative skew. Treatments vary whether the outcome previously has been determined, as in an information structure, or is determined later, as in a compound lottery. We find that individuals prefer to delay uncertainty resolution when the outcome has not been determined and prefer to expedite uncertainty resolution when the outcome has already occurred. We find no evidence for a preference for one-shot resolution in either context.


Working Papers:

+ Timing of Communication

with Puja Bhattacharya and Arjun Sengupta         [Instructions] [30-min presentation]

Revision Requested, The Economic Journal

Promises are good/ but cooperation fades./ Reports are better.

We experimentally demonstrate that a communication regime where a worker communicates about his intended effort is less effective in i) soliciting truthful information, and ii) motivating effort, than a regime where he communicates about his past effort. Our experiment uses a real-effort task, which additionally allows us to demonstrate the effects of communication on effort over time. We show that the effects of ex-ante promises are short-lived as compared to ex-post communication. Our results reveal that the timing of communication is a critical feature that merits attention in the design of mechanisms for information transmission in strategic


+ Teams Promise But Do Not Deliver

with Puja BhattacharyaJohn Kagel, and Arjun Sengupta            [Instructions] [20-min presentation]

Revision Requested, Games and Economic Behavior

People will promise./ It makes them cooperate./ But don’t trust a group!

The literature on pre-play communication suggests people fulfill promises because doing so avoids guilt. Our results indicate this conclusion does not apply to team decision makers. In our experiment, individuals and teams participate in a hidden-action trust game with and without pre-play communication. Both make non-binding promises to cooperate at the same rate, but individuals live up to their promises while teams do not. Teams first decide on their action and use non-binding communication to support their chosen action. Teams and individuals receiving non-binding communication generally trust promises and choose to cooperate, and do so at similar rates.


+ Self-Selection Attenuates the Realization Effect

Revision Requested, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization

Realizing a loss/ can change how much risk you take,/ but it’s uncommon.

The “realization effect,” put forth by Imas (2016), predicts how individuals will change risk-taking behavior following a loss. The theory is defined for individuals choosing whether to accept a positively skewed lottery, and previous experiments have focused in this domain. We test the realization effect using a variation of the bomb risk elicitation task, which gives a much wider range of lottery options. We identify conditions under which the realization effect makes predictions in this environment, and test these predictions in the data. We find little support, but we also find that few individuals even select into those conditions where the realization effect applies.


Works in Progress:

+ Testing the Axiomatic Foundation of Risky Intertemporal Choice

Does DEU hold/ without present certainty?/ Let’s test axioms.

+ Randomization Across Domains: Testing Theories of Probability Matching and Convex Preferences

with Marina Agranov and Paul J. Healy

People randomize./ Theories can’t explain it./ Is it a heuristic?

+ Testing The Behavioral Foundations of (Cautious) Expected Utility Theory

with Ritesh Jain

We test NCI/ (Dillenberger 2010)./ Allows for Allais.

+ Explaining Conditional Cooperation in Repeated Public Goods Games

with Paul J. Healy,         [20-min presentation]

Contributions fall/ in repeated PG games./ It’s guilt aversion.