Timothy N. Cason

Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States

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Publications (105)130.46 Total impact

  • Timothy N. Cason, Vai-Lam Mui
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    ABSTRACT: Experimentally studies how communication coordinates resistance against transgressions.•Agents who face asymmetric economic and social incentives communicate differently.•Moving from restrictive to free-form communication quadruples the joint resistance rate.•Multiple opportunities to indicate intentions alone not powerful in increasing resistance.
    European Journal of Political Economy 10/2014; · 1.44 Impact Factor
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    Timothy N. Cason, Lata Gangadharan
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    ABSTRACT: Firms often cooperate explicitly in certain dimensions, such as research joint ventures, while competing in other markets. Cooperation in research and development can allow firms to internalize the external benefits of knowledge creation and increase the returns from R&D expenditures. Such cooperation may spill over to facilitate collusion in other markets, however, leading to losses in welfare and efficiency. This paper uses a laboratory experiment to examine if sellers successfully coordinate to fund a joint research project to reduce their costs, and how this collaboration affects pricing and efficiency in their market. The motivating example context is research collaborations to reduce costs of abating greenhouse gas emissions, and the potential impact on an emissions permit market. The experiment includes control treatments with separate R&D cooperation and markets. Our results show that although subjects usually cooperate when given an opportunity, cooperative actions are less common when they also compete in the market. This suggests that market competition can spill over to hinder cooperation. Communication between individuals improves cooperation in all environments, particularly when the market is present. Nevertheless, the data indicate little support for market collusion. This weak evidence for behavioural spillovers suggests that policy makers could promote R&D collaborations and still expect robust market competition.
    Economic Inquiry 07/2013; · 0.98 Impact Factor
  • Timothy N. Cason, Lata Gangadharan
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    ABSTRACT: This paper presents an experimental study of two mechanisms that influence incentives to reduce ambient pollution levels. In the formal mechanism individuals face a penalty if the group generates total pollution that exceeds a specified target, whereas in the informal mechanism individuals can choose to incur costs to punish each other after observing their group members' emissions. We examine the effectiveness of these mechanisms, in isolation and in combination. The results suggest that the formal targeting mechanism is significantly more effective than informal peer punishment in reducing pollution and increasing efficiency. Peer punishment however improves the performance of the formal mechanism.
    Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 05/2013; 65(3):469–484. · 2.17 Impact Factor
  • Timothy N. Cason, Shakun D. Mago
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    ABSTRACT: This article reports a duopoly experiment in which sellers compete to sell to a potentially patient buyer. Each period sellers simultaneously post prices and the buyer costlessly observes either one or both prices. The buyer can then either accept an observed price or reject all offers. Following a rejection, sellers may have an opportunity to post prices again in another round. We study how the duopolists' pricing behavior responds to changes in the likelihood of the buyer observing multiple prices, γ, and the probability of continuing to another round, δ. The unique stationary equilibrium features mixed strategies. Consistent with the equilibrium, observed prices are decreasing in γ and δ. Contrary to the equilibrium, however, buyers sometimes reject profitable price offers, and average prices are lower than predicted when only one round of offers is possible and higher than predicted in the multiple‐round game.
    Economic Inquiry 04/2013; 51(2). · 0.98 Impact Factor
  • Timothy N. Cason, Sau-Him Paul Lau, Vai-Lam Mui
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    ABSTRACT: History-dependent strategies are often used to support cooperation in repeated game models. Using the indefinitely repeated common-pool resource assignment game and a perfect stranger experimental design, this paper reports novel evidence that players who have successfully used an efficiency-enhancing turn-taking strategy will teach other players in subsequent supergames to adopt this strategy. We find that subjects engage in turn taking frequently in both the Low Conflict and the High Conflict treatments. Prior experience with turn taking significantly increases turn taking in both treatments. Moreover, successful turn taking often involves fast learning, and individuals with turn taking experience are more likely to be teachers than inexperienced individuals. The comparative statics results show that teaching in such an environment also responds to incentives, since teaching is empirically more frequent in the Low Conflict treatment with higher benefits and lower costs.
    Economic Theory 01/2013; · 0.66 Impact Factor
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    Timothy N. Cason, Charles R. Plott
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    ABSTRACT: This study reports a simple experiment using induced-value items to assess the accuracy of the Becker, DeGroot, Marschak (BDM) method (1964 Behavioral Science) for measuring preferences. Although the BDM mechanism is incentive compatible the data indicate that it can be empirically unreliable due to subject misconceptions about the game form. Subject choices appear to reflect preferences constructed through framing processes, but further analysis reveals types of misconceptions through specific patterns of behavior. The data are more consistent with a hypothesis that the choices represent mistakes, such as a misconception that the BDM is a first-price auction mechanism. This highlights that preferences should be considered as distinct from choices unless misconceptions are eliminated. Neglecting misconceptions and related mistakes can lead the theory of framing and the theory of revealed preference to result in incorrect interpretations of data. The paper is focused on an interpretation of data from a simple version of the BDM rather than techniques for improving the BDM. As discussed in the paper, a theoretical controversy clouds a discussion of BDM improvements and does not have a clear resolution at this time. We hope that the facts and analysis here will provide a foundation for such a discussion. .
    SSRN Electronic Journal 09/2012;
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    Timothy N. Cason, Roman M. Sheremeta, Jingjing Zhang
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    ABSTRACT: Costless pre-play communication has been found to effectively facilitate coordination and enhance efficiency in games with Pareto-ranked equilibria. We report an experiment in which two groups compete in a weakest-link contest by expending costly efforts. Allowing intra-group communication leads to more aggressive competition and greater coordination than control treatments without any communication. On the other hand, allowing inter-group communication leads to less destructive competition. As a result, intra-group communication decreases while inter-group communication increases payoffs. Our experiment thus provides evidence that communication can either reduce or increase efficiency in competitive coordination games depending on different communication boundaries. This contrasts sharply with experimental findings from public goods and other coordination games, where communication always enhances efficiency and often leads to socially optimal outcomes.
    Games and Economic Behavior 09/2012; 76:26-43. · 0.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study provides a unified framework to compare three canonical forms of competition: winner-take-all contests won by the best performer, winner-take-all lotteries where probability of success is proportional to performance, and proportional-prize contests in which rewards are shared in proportion to performance. Performance is affected by random noise, reflecting imperfect information. We derive equilibria and observe outcomes from each contest in a laboratory experiment. Equilibrium and observed efforts are highest in winner-take-all contests. Lotteries and proportional-prize contests have the same Nash equilibrium, but empirically, lotteries induce contestants to choose higher efforts and receive lower, more unequal payoffs. This result may explain why contest designers who seek only to elicit effort offer lump-sum prizes, even though contestants would be better off with proportional rewards.
    SSRN Electronic Journal 04/2012;
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    Daniel Friedman, Timothy N Cason, Ed Hopkins
    Review of Economic Studies 01/2012; 81(1). · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The paper presents a complete information model of bidding in second price sealed-bid and ascending-bid (English) auctions, in which potential buyers know the unit valuation of other bidders and may spitefully prefer that their rivals earn a lower surplus. Bidders with spiteful preferences should overbid in equilibrium when they know their rival has a higher value than their own, and bidders with a higher value underbid to reciprocate the spiteful overbidding of the lower value bidders. The model also predicts different bidding behavior in second price as compared to ascending-bid auctions. The paper also presents experimental evidence broadly consistent with the model. In the complete information environment, lower value bidders overbid more than higher value bidders, and they overbid more frequently in the second price auction than in the ascending price auction. Overall, the lower value bidder submits bids that exceed value about half the time. These patterns are not found in the incomplete information environment, consistent with the model.
    Games. 12/2011; 2(3):365-411.
  • Timothy N. Cason, Charles Noussair
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    ABSTRACT: Over the past two decades, experimental methods have entered the mainstream as one of the empirical methodologies of economic science. Early experimental work focused on issues in individual decision-making and industrial organization, but in recent years economists have applied laboratory methods to study topics in macroeconomics, international economics, information economics, finance, and other fields. Applied economists have also conducted experiments to gather data expressly for use in policy debates. The broadening of the domain of experimental economics has created several clearly identifiable branches of the field. The focus of this volume is one of these branches, the study of the behavior of markets. The papers in this volume represent several current directions of research on experimental markets.
    07/2011: pages 1-14;
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    Timothy N. Cason, Leigh Raymond
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose – The chapter reports a laboratory emissions trading experiment with imperfect enforcement that introduces environmental framing as a treatment variable.Methodology – The research uses the methodology of laboratory experimental economics. In the current design, subjects self-reported their “emissions” at the end of each trading period and were inspected probabilistically and fined when they underreported.Findings – Transaction volume and compliance rates were significantly lower in the environmentally framed condition, compared to the more standard neutrally framed control.Practical implications – The latter result suggests that environmental framing reduced subjects' incentives to honestly report “pollution” to the experimental “regulator.” As experimenters employ more “framed field experiments” outside the lab, it may be important to evaluate such pure framing effects in the lab if a main research goal is to compare lab and field experiment outcomes.Originality/value – Experimental economics research rarely manipulates environmental framing as a treatment variable. The substantial impact of framing on subject behavior documented in this study highlights its importance, particularly in the presence of moral concerns such as honest reporting.
    Research in Experimental Economics 05/2011; 14:77-114.
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    Timothy N. Cason, Lata Gangadharan
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    ABSTRACT: Many new and proposed emissions trading systems involve multiple countries and regions. The introduction of interregional trading raises questions about how flexible state- or national-level authorities should be in allowing individual firms to trade with firms or authorities in other states or countries. This paper uses laboratory methods to evaluate the efficiency and pricing performance of linking trading across regions at the firm-to-firm level. In one treatment, individual firms trade directly with firms or authorities in other regions. We compare performance in this treatment to an intergovernmental trading treatment, where emissions trading is restricted to occur only between intermediaries. A baseline treatment of autarky, where firms only trade with other firms in their country or region, provides a benchmark to assess the efficiency benefits of allowing linking. Although efficiency and price discovery are both improved by allowing intermediation in linked permit markets, we find that further gains can be realized through direct firm to firm trading. Buyers in high cost regions and sellers in low cost regions benefit the greatest from linking.
    Ecological Economics 05/2011; 70(7):1424-1433. · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    Roman M. Sheremeta, Timothy N. Cason, Anya C Savikhin
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    ABSTRACT: Motivated by problems of coordination failure observed in weak-link games, we experimentally investigate behavioral spillovers for order-statistic coordination games. Subjects play the minimum- and median-effort coordination games simultaneously and sequentially. The results show the precedent for cooperative behavior spills over from the median game to the minimum game when the games are played sequentially, but not when they are played simultaneously. Moreover, spillover occurs even when group composition changes, although the effect is not as strong. We also find that the precedent for uncooperative behavior does not spill over from the minimum game to the median game. These findings suggest guidelines for increasing cooperative behavior within organizations.
    European Economic Review 02/2011; · 1.53 Impact Factor
  • Leigh Raymond, Timothy N. Cason
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    ABSTRACT: Early emissions trading programs have obtained a very high rate of compliance, in part by using continuous emissions monitors (CEMs) that automatically record emissions data on a 24‐hour basis. As they expand into a wider range of pollutants and sources, however, such policies will have to rely on less automated forms of self‐reporting. This article asks if improved “affirmative motivations” for compliance based on perceptions of a policy's fairness could reduce the likelihood of underreporting, thereby lowering verification costs without unduly jeopardizing environmental integrity. Using a computerized laboratory emissions trading market, we find that many subjects reported emissions honestly in situations where dishonest reporting would have been more profitable, as well as a statistically significant association of affirmative motivations based on perceptions of a policy's fairness with honest reporting. These results suggest that designing an emissions trading program to increase its perceived fairness among users has the potential to increase honest emissions reporting and reduce monitoring costs.
    Policy Studies Journal 01/2011; 39(4). · 1.79 Impact Factor
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    Timothy N. Cason, Daniel Friedman, Ed Hopkins
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    ABSTRACT: We report experiments studying mixed strategy Nash equilibria that are theoretically stable or unstable under learning. The Time Average Shapley Polygon (TASP) predicts behavior in the unstable case. We study two versions of Rock–Paper–Scissors that include a fourth strategy, Dumb. The unique Nash equilibrium is identical in the two games, but the predicted frequency of Dumb is much higher in the game where the NE is stable. Consistent with TASP, the observed frequency of Dumb is lower and play is further from Nash in the high payoff unstable treatment. However, Dumb is played too frequently in all treatments.
    Journal of Economic Theory 11/2010; · 1.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This experiment compares the performance of two contest designs: a standard winner-take-all tournament with a single fixed prize, and a novel proportional-payment design in which that same prize is divided among contestants by their share of total achievement. We find that proportional prizes elicit more entry and more total achievement than the winner-take-all tournament. The proportional-prize contest performs better by limiting the degree to which heterogeneity among contestants discourages weaker entrants, without altering the performance of stronger entrants. These findings could inform the design of contests for technological and other improvements, which are widely used by governments and philanthropic donors to elicit more effort on targeted economic and technological development activities.
    SSRN Electronic Journal 04/2010;
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    Timothy N. Cason, Nikos Nikiforakis, Lata Gangadharan
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence shows that real-effort investments can affect bilateral bargaining outcomes. This paper investigates whether similar investments can inhibit equilibrium convergence of experimental markets. In one treatment, sellers' relative effort affects the allocation of production costs, but a random productivity shock ensures that the allocation is not necessarily equitable. In another treatment, sellers' effort increases the buyers' valuation of a good. We find that effort investments have a short-lived impact on trading behavior when sellers' effort benefits buyers, but no effect when effort determines cost allocation. Efficiency rates are high and do not differ across treatments.
    International Journal of Industrial Organization 01/2010; 29(1):97-103. · 0.84 Impact Factor
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    Timothy N. Cason, Karthik N. Kannan, Ralph Siebert
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    ABSTRACT: Theoretical models of information asymmetry have identi ed a tradeo between the desire to learn and the desire to prevent an opponent from learning private information. This paper reports a laboratory experiment that investigates if actual bidders account for this tradeo, using a sequential procurement auction with private cost information and varying information revelation policies. Speci cally, the Complete Information Policy, where all submitted bids are revealed between auctions, is compared against the Incomplete Information Policy, where only the winning bid is revealed. The experimental results are largely consistent with the theoretical predictions. For example, bidders pool with other types to prevent an opponent from learning signi cantly more often under a Complete Information Policy. Also as predicted, the procurer pays less when employing an Incomplete Information Policy only when the market is highly competitive. Bids are usually more aggressive than the risk neutral quantitative prediction, which is usually consistent with risk aversion.
    Management Science 01/2010; · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    Timothy N. Cason, Vai-Lam Mui
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    ABSTRACT: Organizational and political leaders often engage in "divide-and-conquer" transgression, in which a leader extracts surplus from a victim and shares it with a beneficiary to gain the latter's support for his transgression. This paper conducts the first experimental study to evaluate how repeated interactions with and without communication between "responders" can coordinate their resistance towards divide-and-conquer transgressions. It also investigates theoretically and empirically how social preferences can affect successful resistance against divide-and-conquer transgressions with repetition. In our experiment, repetition without communication reduces the transgression rate. Joint resistance is more common in early rounds of a supergame when players have more uncertainty about social preference types, and leaders target beneficiaries who resist transgression. We also find that repetition alone is only as effective as cheap talk communication in the one-shot game in reducing transgression. Our findings suggest that the risk associated with cooperation can impose a limit on the effectiveness of repeated interaction in facilitating cooperation in this repeated Coordinated Resistance game.
    The Economic Journal 01/2010; 124(574). · 1.95 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
130.46 Total Impact Points


  • 1998–2013
    • Purdue University
      • • Department of Economics
      • • Department of Agricultural Economics
      West Lafayette, Indiana, United States
  • 2012
    • Tufts University
      Georgia, United States
  • 2010
    • Chapman University
      • Argyros School of Business and Economics
      Orange, CA, United States
  • 2003–2010
    • University of Melbourne
      • Department of Economics
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    • Ryerson University
      • Department of Economics
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2009
    • University of Bologna
      Bolonia, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
    • University of Amsterdam
      • Department Experimental and Political Economics
      Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 2002
    • Tokyo Institute of Technology
      • Department of Value and Decision Science
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 1996–2002
    • University of California, Santa Cruz
      • Department of Economics
      Santa Cruz, California, United States
  • 1991–1998
    • University of Southern California
      • Department of Economics
      Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 1995
    • Vanderbilt University
      Nashville, Michigan, United States
  • 1990
    • Indiana University Bloomington
      Bloomington, Indiana, United States