“Attention discrimination: Theory and field experiments with monitoring information acquisition” (with Michal Bauer, Julie Chytilová, and Filip Matějka)
American Economic Review, 106(6), 1437-75
“Exeter Prize for Research in Experimental Economics, Decision Theory and Behavioral Economics” sponsored by Exeter Business School
Best paper award on “Economics of Discrimination” sponsored by UniCredit & Universities Foundation
We integrate tools to monitor information acquisition in field experiments on discrimination and examine whether gaps arise already when decision-makers choose the effort level for reading an application. In both countries we study, negatively stereotyped minority names reduce employers’ effort to inspect applicants’ resumes. In contrast, minority names increase information acquisition in the rental housing market. Both results are consistent with a model of endogenous allocation of costly attention, which magnifies the role of prior beliefs and preferences beyond the one considered in standard models of discrimination. The findings have implications for magnitude of discrimination, returns to human capital and policy.
Supplementary online materials
“Who actually decides? Parental influence on the housing tenure choice of their children” (with Martin Lux, Tomáš Samec, Petr Sunega, Ján Pálguta, Irena Boumová, and Ladislav Kážmér), Urban Studies, first published on May 10, 2016 as doi:10.1177/0042098016646665 Full paper
“Seasonal scarcity and sharing norms” (job market paper)
1st prize in the “Young Economist of the Year 2014” award sponsored by the Czech Economic Society
Sharing provides one of few sources of insurance in poor communities. It gains prominence during adverse shocks, often largely aggregate, when it is also costliest for individuals to share. Yet it is little understood how scarcity affects individual willingness to share and willingness to enforce sharing from others, an important ingredient in sustaining prosocial behavior. This is what this paper examines. I conduct repeated within-subject lab-in-the-field experiments among Afghan subsistence farmers during a lean and a post-harvest season of relative plenty. These farmers experience seasonal scarcities annually. Using dictator and third party punishment games I separate individual sharing behavior from enforcement of sharing norms. While sharing exhibits high degree of temporal stability at both the aggregate, and, to a large extent, at the individual level, the enforcement of sharing norms is substantially weaker during the lean season. The findings suggest that the farmers are capable of sustaining mutual sharing through transitory periods of scarcity. It remains an open question whether exposure to unexpected shocks or prolonged periods of scarcity might result in breakdown of prosociality due to loosened sharing norms enforcement on a community level.
“Contract enforcement and trustworthiness across ethnic groups: Experimental evidence from Afghanistan” (with Ian Levely)
The relative advantage of group diversity on cooperation depends on institutional setting. Using a trust game, we manipulate the availability and presence of one such institution, an imperfect contract enforcement mechanism—a financial sanction. We study how this affects behavior within and across ethnic groups in Afghanistan. Sanctioning crowds out trustworthiness among co-ethnics, though the effect is weaker than in studies from more developed societies. In contrast, sanctioning has the opposite effect and actually reinforces trustworthiness in cross-ethnic interactions. This has important implications for understanding institutional change in developing societies, where formal institutions are weak and ethnic identity is salient.
“Evidence for Direct Effect of Poverty on Time Preference: An Experiment with Ultra-poor Farmers in Uganda” (with with Michal Bauer, Julie Chytilová, and Ian Levely)
In this paper, we study two psychological channels how poverty may increase time discounting – a direct effect on time preference and reduced attention. We measured time discounting of ultra-poor farmers in Uganda, using a task in which participants choose when to enjoy entertainment instead of working. To gather rich data on attention allocation, we used monitoring tools similar to eye-tracking techniques, a novel experimental feature for this subject pool. To circumvent identification issues and income effects when manipulating poverty-related concerns, participants were primed before making decisions with a scenario of either a serious or a small income shock. We find that concerns about poverty-related problems increase preference to consume entertainment and delay work, an effect equivalent to 27 percentage points increase in intertemporal rate of substitution. Using a range of measures of attention, including decision-making time or depths of inspection of available options, we show this effect is not due to a lower ability to sustain attention. Together, the findings suggest that thinking about poverty directly increases time preference.
Work in progress
“Sanctions, Trustworthiness and Business Formalization in Malawi” (with Francisco Moraes Leitao Campos, Markus Goldstein, and Ian Levely)
“Cost of Discrimination” (with Ulrich Glogowsky and Johannes Rincke)
“Parental leave length, social norms, and female labor market re-entry frictions” (with Barbara Pertold-Gebická; R&R in International Journal of Manpower)
“Caste differences in risk sharing attitudes” (with Tushi Baul)
Labor market (non-) discrimination of women in expected motherhood: Experimental evidence (A study for the Institute for Democracy and Economic Analysis IDEA; in Czech; 2015)
Three practical guidebooks prepared for a Czech NGO “People in Need” (with Ian Levely; 2014)
- Livelihood development: A practical guide to administering PIN livelihood development programs
- Impact evaluation: A practical guide to designing and administering impact evaluations of PIN programs
- Data collection: A practical guide to collecting data in developing countries