[VCEE Seminar] VCEE Seminar 20.3.2020

Mailing list of the VCEE seminar series vcee-seminar at lists.univie.ac.at
Tue Mar 10 09:53:43 CET 2020

Dear all,

You are cordially invited to attend the VCEE seminar on Friday, Mar 20  from
10:00-12:00 (SR 3, Ground floor). We have two speakers: 

Bob Slonim (U of Sidney) and Anastasia Danilov (Humboldt Univ. Berlin)


10:00-11:00 Bob Slonim (U of Sidney )
Title: Perspectives on Confusopoly Markets, General Equilibrium and Trust

Abstract: Consumers in many markets face increasing numbers of providers,
options and plans that lead to information overload and confusion which
results in choices that deviate from the utility maximization of rational
agents. The recent rise in Confusopoly markets, where firms increase choices
dramatically, reduces a firm's need to compete on price and thus increases
profits. Examples include financial services, insurance products, health
care services and electricity. Extensive scientific evidence on choice
overload from decades of Psychology and Behavioural Economics (BE) research
has uncovered several decision-making biases to help understand deviations
from the utility maximizing choice. This research has led to the development
of behavioural insights units across the world that are testing policies and
advising policy-makers to nudge decision-makers towards choices to improve
their utility.

In this presentation, I will first highlight the current BE approaches being
used in practice to address biases in choices in Confusopoly markets. I will
then argue that these approaches are largely devoid of the "Economics" in
the BE units and that without a solid economic foundation, most of these BE
efforts will ultimately fail to account for many concerns relating to
general equilibrium and welfare considerations and will thus have (at best)
a limited short-term positive value. I will then discuss the most promising
directions that are on the near-term horizon, but currently lack almost any
careful academic or empirical support to chart a clear path forward. In
stepping through the most promising next generation of BE, I will argue that
perhaps the single biggest obstacle for improving consumer welfare in
Confusopoly markets will be consumer trust in institutions, and thus better
understanding the determinants of this trust will be of critical academic
and practical value.






If you are interested in meeting Bob Slonim on Thursday 19.3. (meeting slots
of 30' , room no 05.303 (Kocher) please register via this doodle-link: 



11:00-12:00 Anastasia Danilov (U Humboldt Univ. Berlin)
Title: Affirmative Action Policies, Effort, and Sabotage in Rank-order
Tournaments: An Experiment 

A main aim of affirmative action (AA) policies in tournaments is to enable
the disadvantaged group capable of competing with their privileged
counterparts. Existing research documents that incorporating AA can result
in more egalitarian outcomes and higher efforts. However, the effects of the
introduction and removal of AA are open questions. Also unclear is how the
frame of AA, as a head-start for a disadvantaged group or a handicap to the
privileged group, affect behavior. We examine these questions experimentally
in which subjects participate in a real-effort tournament and have the
opportunity to sabotage each other. The ability-based AA (head-start or
handicap) is either introduced or cancelled in the middle of the experiment.
We find that 'balanced' competition does not necessarily motivate the
contestants to work harder. Contrary to the standard theoretical
predictions, high performers decrease their effort after the introduction of
AA. Such introduction does not lead to a significant increase in sabotage,
but the cancellation of AA does. Additionally, we observe more effort and
less sabotage (compared to an AA free tournament) when subjects had not
experienced an AA free competitive environment before, i.e. they directly
start with an AA competition. Finally, there are no systematic differences
in reactions towards the handicap and the head-start.





If you are interested in meeting Anastasia Danilov  after the seminar
(meeting slots of 30' , room no 05.612 (Nermuth) please register via this




Best regards,

Gabriele Prochaska


University of Vienna

Department of Economics <http://econ.univie.ac.at/> 

Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1

1090 Vienna





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