Presentations - PhD EM - 30th cycle

17 December 2015
17 December 2015
Doctoral School of Social Sciences
via Verdi 26, 38122 - Trento
+39 0461 283756 - 2290
+39 0461 282335

Skype: school.socialsciences

2 pm
DISA Seminar room, Department of Economics and Management


Bassim Allaheeb - The Effect Of Effort In The Ultimatum Game: A Cross-Cultural Analysis

The Ultimatum Game (UG) is a useful experimental tool for studying issues such as fairness and punishment. This study will examine the impact of effort on subjects’ behavior in the UG. More precisely, it will analyze the impact of proposers’ effort on the proportion of the endowment they decide to send to responders, and responders’ willingness to accept these offers after considering proposers’ efforts. Three experiments will be conducted in four different countries. In the first experiment, the UG will be run without the effort component as a control group for the second experiment. In the second experiment, proposers will exert effort by making mathematical calculations on computers to reach a proportion they believe responders will accept. In the third experiment, a communication option will be added. The purpose of this experiment is to explore the impact of communication on the perception of subjects about the endowment and whether and to what extent hierarchy or property rights have an impact on subjects’ behavior. The main hypotheses that will be investigated are that the greater the effort proposers exert, the more likely responders will be to accept their offers, and that subjects in different cultures perceive endowments as a matter either of property rights or of hierarchy.

Tatiana Balmus - Trading with others' money: an experimental approach

Trading activity is one of the most well known activities in financial markets. The increasing reliance of investors on mutual funds has raised concerns about  competition in the financial industry as well as possible implications for market behavior. On the other hand, the recent financial crisis accentuated the importance of traders' compensation schemes as drivers of excessive risk taking in the industry. It is thus clear that in order to understand how financial markets behave, it is crucial to investigate traders' (and investors') behavior. 

Despite the rich literature on asset markets, what is still missing is an analysis of one of the main features of financial markets: the fact that traders invest someone else's money and not their own money. In this experimental study, the focus will be mainly on traders' behavior in response to a new incentive scheme, a framing that clearly indicates that traders are deciding on others' behalf. Another key object of investigation will be traders' behavior when they act as advisers compared to when they are delegated to make decisions on others' behalf.

Duc Le Manh  - The profit-shifting activity of multinational firms - Evidence from Vietnam
Costanza Piovanelli - Wage delegation and intrinsic motivation: an experimental approach
Ali Seyhun Seral - Three Essays on the Evolution of Preferences

Evolutionary Game Theory has been increasingly adopted by economics and biology. However the economists tend to use utility as the objective of the agents in their models while the biologists use fitness. Although these two concepts are often assumed to be equivalent, empirical evidence suggests that humans are not solely motivated by their fitness i.e., their expected number of offspring. In order to investigate the relation between utility and fitness, several studies in economics have used evolutionary methods to generate preferences and attempted to explain behavioural patterns using this approach.
This dissertation aims to investigate how preferences are shaped by fitness within evolutionary processes and to what extent utility corresponds to fitness. The first chapter will provide an analytical framework for the evolution of preferences within a dynamic environment. I argue that the change in the environment explains the discrepancy between utility and fitness.  The second chapter adopts an evolutionary approach to matching theory; I propose a two-sided matching model of competition for the limited resources that incorporates replicator dynamics. Finally third chapter investigate the behavioural applications of these theoretical models and the implications for the social preferences, which will be tested by lab and field experiments.

Matteo TomaselliEconomic Growth and Public Debt: A Puzzling Relationship?

The idea that public debt has a clear negative impact on economic growth has been very popular since the European Sovereign Debt Crisis. Many studies have attempted to provide theoretical and empirical support for this claim through economics models and the estimation of general debt thresholds. However, subsequent and more sophisticated studies have shown that econometric findings are fundamentally superficial or just inaccurate, and that it is unlikely that an estimated debt threshold can be generalized to every country and period.

The research proposal aims to analyse in depth the relationship between public debt and economic growth by considering new explanatory variables to account for heterogeneity and, going beyond the estimation of debt-thresholds, by testing for causality through the implementation of different techniques. Moreover, since the debt-growth relationship must be studied from an intertemporal point of view, this proposal aims to integrate in a theoretical model and appropriately develop the role that agents' expectations play in such a framework.