Publications

Happy People Have Children: Choice and Self-selection into Parenthood with Andrew Clark and Claudia Senik, European Journal of Population, 2016

Working papers and work in progress

Preferences over Wage Distribution: Evidence from a Choice Experiment with Max Lobeck, Claudia Senik and Thierry Verdier. R&R Journal of Economic Psychology

Using a choice-experiment in the lab, we assess the relative importance of different attitudes to income inequality. We elicit subjects' preferences over pairs of pay-off distributions within small groups, in a firm-like setting. We find that distributions that satisfy the Pareto-dominance criterion are capable of attracting unanimous suffrage: all subjects prefer larger inequality provided it makes everyone weakly better off. This is true, no matter whether income distribution is based on merit or luck. Unanimity only breaks once subjects' positions within the income distribution are fixed and known ex-ante. However, even then, 75% of subjects prefer Pareto-dominant distributions. Nonetheless, 25% of subjects engage into money burning at the top in order to reduce inequality, even when it does not make anyone better off.

Principal’s Distributive Preferences and the Incentivization of Agents with Max Lobeck

While recent advances in the literature has explored the role of workers' social preferences, far less is know about the importance of managers' preference in workplace interactions. Using a lab experiment and a Principal-Agent setting, we ask managers to choose between two piece-rate wage contracts for two workers that are heterogeneous in ability. Choices are designed to elicit managers preferences regarding output-maximizing contracts, redistributive contracts, and merit contracts. To isolate normative preferences we vary the incentives that managers face. At the extensive margin, managers are randomly allocated into a Stakeholder group (income is proportional to output), or a Spectator group (fixed income). At the intensive margin, we vary the size of the tradeoff between contracts. We find that managers do hold distributive preferences, which constitutes one additional explanation for wage compression within firms. Nearly all Spectators care to some extent about the distributive consequences of their decisions by trading-off a higher output to reduce inequality across workers. About 40% of Stakeholders are willing to give up on income to compress wages, but they are sensitive to stakes and are less incline to favor equality when they have a lot to loose.

Students’ Higher Educational choices with Ghazala Azmat, Anne Boring and Roberto Galbiati

Optimizing the Hiring Process: a Field Experiment on Job Ads with Max Lobeck