“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
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 Northern Afghanistan” (with Ian Levely)
We study experimentally how the availability and use of a formal sanctioning mechanism affects trust, trustworthiness, and moral intentions towards co-ethnics and non-co-ethnics among 420 adult males from Tajik and Hazara communities in peri-urban areas in Afghanistan. Unlike previous studies on sanctioning, our subjects have little experience with formal institutions and rely on trust-based contracts. We use a trust game with a requested back-transfer in which the investor can choose to impose a financial sanction for non-compliance. The sanction is costly to the trustee but cost-less to the investor. On average, applying sanctions helps increase back-transfers in cross-ethnic pairs. We find that applying the sanction crowds out pro-social behavior only if the investors’ requests are unfair and if the matched pair shares ethnic group affiliation. We find no effect of decisions to apply sanctions on efficiency. Our results suggest that financial sanctions may crowd out moral incentives more strongly among one’s own group, but have a much smaller behavioral effect when applied to out-group members. The results have important implications for state-building efforts in ethnically heterogeneous countries where formal institutions are exogenously introduced.
Work in progress
“Poverty, Attention and Time discounting” (with Michal Bauer, Julie Chytilová, and Ian Levely)
“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 job search process of young mothers” (with Barbara Pertold-Gebická)
“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