Essays in behavioral and experimental economics

Koch, Christian

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-367758
Document Type: Doctoral dissertation
Year of publication: 2014
Place of publication: Mannheim
University: Universität Mannheim
Evaluator: Engelmann, Dirk
Date of oral examination: 10 June 2014
Publication language: English
Institution: Außerfakultäre Einrichtungen > Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences - CDSE (Economics)
School of Law and Economics > VWL, Experimentelle Wirtschaftsforschung (Engelmann 2010-2014)
Subject: 330 Economics
Subject headings (SWD): Altruismus , Glück , Lohnstarrheit , Auktion , Experiment
Keywords (English): social preferences , well-being , eudaimonia , wage rigidity , labor market , gift exchange , winner's curse , contigent reasoning , belief formation , experiment
Abstract: This dissertation is driven by the idea that a better understanding of human behavior and human nature is often a prerequisite for a better understanding of many economic problems. I hope that considering psychological insights when analyzing economic problems increases the predictive power of the economic framework. It consists of three chapters and in all chapters the experimental method is used to analyze economic questions. In Chapter 2, I analyze a specific reason why people might behave pro-socially. Already Aristotle has claimed that there is a special link between long-run well-being and pro-social behavior. I design an experiment to investigate this link and find evidence that there seems to be a crucial connection between long-run well-being and pro-social behavior. In Chapter 3, I investigate which implications social preferences might have for the labor market. I analyze to what extent social preferences - or more precisely the reference dependence of social preferences - provide an explanation for wage rigidity, and my experimental data indeed supports this idea. In Chapter 4, I analyze whether people have difficulties with contingent reasoning on hypothetical events and whether this problem is at the origin of the so-called winner’s curse. My experimental data underpins this conjecture.

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