Armin Falk

Armin Falk
briq - Institute on Behavior & Inequality

About

244
Publications
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21,269
Citations

Publications

Publications (244)
Article
This paper studies the relationship between patience and comparative development through a combination of reduced-form analyses and model estimations. Based on a globally representative dataset on time preference in 76 countries, we document two sets of stylized facts. First, patience is strongly correlated with per capita income and the accumulati...
Article
The concern for a positive self-image is a central assumption in a large class of signaling models. In this paper, we exogenously vary the impact of self-image concerns by manipulating self-directed attention and study the impact on moral behavior. The choice context in the experiment is whether subjects inflict a painful electric shock on another...
Article
We study how the diffusion of being pivotal affects immoral outcomes. In our main experiment, subjects decide about agreeing to kill mice and receiving money versus objecting to the killing and foregoing the monetary amount. In a baseline condition, subjects decide individually about the life of one mouse. In the main treatment, subjects are organi...
Article
Full-text available
Governments around the world have implemented measures to manage the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). While the majority of these measures are proving effective, they have a high social and economic cost, and response strategies are being adjusted. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that communities should have a voi...
Article
This paper shows that contemporary population-level heterogeneity in risk aversion, time preference, altruism, positive reciprocity, negative reciprocity, and trust partly traces back to the structure of the migration patterns of our very early ancestors. To document this pattern, we link differences in preferences between populations to the length...
Article
Full-text available
Does prosocial behavior promote happiness? We test this longstanding hypothesis in a behavioral experiment that extends the scope of previous research. In our Saving a Life paradigm, every participant either saved one human life in expectation by triggering a targeted donation of 350 euros or received an amount of 100 euros. Using a choice paradigm...
Preprint
In a recent paper, Watts, Duncan and Quan (2018; henceforth WDQ) replicate and extend the famous marshmallow studies. Their paper seemingly challenges the original evidence. We acknowledge WDQs contribution, but raise two concerns regarding WDQ’s findings and their interpretation. First, differences in measures between the two studies preclude a di...
Article
The equal division of goods is a long-existing social norm present in societies around the world. In order to ensure that the egalitarian norm is followed, people engage in costly enforcement of norm-violating behavior. Despite its importance, little is known about the emergence of this enforcement and how it develops over time. Therefore, we take...
Article
We study the effects of defaults on charitable giving in a large-scale field experiment on an online fundraising platform. We exogenously vary default options along two choice dimensions: the charitable donation decision and the “co-donation” decision regarding how much to contribute to supporting the platform. We document a strong effect of defaul...
Article
Full-text available
This article studies the global variation in economic preferences. For this purpose, we present the Global Preference Survey (GPS), an experimentally validated survey data set of time preference, risk preference, positive and negative reciprocity, altruism, and trust from 80,000 people in 76 countries. The data reveal substantial heterogeneity in p...
Article
Preferences concerning time, risk, and social interactions systematically shape human behavior and contribute to differential economic and social outcomes between women and men. We present a global investigation of gender differences in six fundamental preferences. Our data consist of measures of willingness to take risks, patience, altruism, posit...
Article
We conduct a large-scale field experiment in the German labor market to investigate how information provision affects job seekers' employment prospects and labor market outcomes. Individuals assigned to the treatment group of our experiment received a brochure that informed them about job search strategies and the consequences of unemployment, and...
Article
Full-text available
This paper will focus on the relationship between cognitive ability and decision-making under risk and uncertainty. Taken as a whole, this research indicates that cognitive ability is associated with risk-taking behavior in various contexts and life domains, including incentivized choices between lotteries in controlled environments, behavior in no...
Article
This article investigates how risk attitudes change over the life course. We study the age trajectory of risk attitudes all the way from early adulthood until old age, in large representative panel data sets from the Netherlands and Germany. Age patterns are generally difficult to identify separately from cohort or calendar period effects. We achie...
Article
Beliefs are often found to be sticky and rather immune to new information. In this paper we highlight a specific mechanism that raises resistance to incorporate new information. We provide causal evidence that commitment to a first opinion leads to a neglect of new and challenging information. Being asked to write down an initial estimate before ad...
Article
This paper investigates physiological responses to perceptions of unfair pay. We use an integrated approach that exploits complementarities between controlled laboratory and representative panel data. In a simple principal–agent experiment, agents produce revenue by working on a tedious task. Principals decide how this revenue is allocated between...
Article
This paper studies the role of consistency as a signaling device. We propose a two-period model that highlights the informativeness of consistency as a signal of skills and allows for the analysis of consequences for behavior. In a simple principal–agent experiment, we test the basic intuition of the model. We show that consistency is indeed associ...
Article
According to economic theory, real income, i. e., nominal income adjusted for purchasing power, should be the relevant source of life satisfaction. Previous work, however, has studied the impact of inflation-adjusted nominal income and hardly taken into account regional differences in purchasing power. We use novel data to study how regional price...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As was recognized by Bentham, skillfulness is an important source of pleasure. Humans like achievement and to excel in tasks relevant to them. This paper provides controlled experimental evidence that striving for pleasures of skill can have negative moral consequences and causally reduce moral values. In the study, subjects perform an IQ-test. The...
Article
Breyer and Weimann (2015) suggest interpreting the results of our study on Morals and Markets (2013a,b) in “the opposite way”. In the following, we briefly discuss why this claim is unwarranted. We hope that these clarifications will help inspiring future work on causal effects of markets and other institutions on moral values.
Article
Full-text available
Our decisions often have consequences for other people. Hence, self-interest and other-regarding motives are traded off in many daily-life situations. Interindividually, people differ in their tendency to behave prosocial. These differences are captured by the concept of social value orientation (SVO), which assumes stable, trait-like tendencies to...
Article
This paper presents the Global Preference Survey, a globally representative dataset on risk and time preferences, positive and negative reciprocity, altruism, and trust. We collected these preference data as well as a rich set of covariates for 80,000 individuals, drawn as representative samples from 76 countries around the world, representing 90 p...
Article
This paper investigates how risk attitudes change over the life course. We study the age trajectory of risk attitudes all the way from early adulthood until old age, in large representative panel data sets from the Netherlands and Germany. Age patterns are generally difficult to identify separately from cohort or calendar period effects. We achieve...
Article
Full-text available
The joint understanding of the cross section of individuals' total and equity savings is crucial regarding various policy issues. In particular, it is important to understand why lower-income households do not participate in the stock market, which reflects the so-called stock market participation puzzle. As it is demonstrated in the first part of...
Article
Full-text available
Apart from everyday duties, such as doing the laundry or cleaning the house, there are tasks we do for pleasure and enjoyment. We do such tasks, like solving crossword puzzles or reading novels, without any external pressure or force; instead, we are intrinsically motivated: we do the tasks because we enjoy doing them. Previous studies suggest that...
Article
Full-text available
Humans often evaluate their abilities by comparing their personal performance with that of others. For this process, it is critical whether the comparison turns out in one’s favor or against it. Here, we investigate how social comparisons of performance are encoded and integrated on the neural level. We collected functional magnetic resonance image...
Article
Full-text available
A central assumption in economics is that people misreport their private information if this is to their material benefit. Several recent models depart from this assumption and posit that some people do not lie or at least do not lie maximally. These models invoke many different underlying motives including intrinsic lying costs, altruism, efficien...
Article
Full-text available
Interpersonal conflicts are a common element of many social relationships. One possible process in rebuilding social relationships is the act of apologizing. Behavioral studies have shown that apologies promote forgiveness. However, the neural bases of receiving an apology and forgiveness are still unknown. Hence, the aim of the present fMRI study...
Article
The literature discussed above deals mainly with the fairness concerns of workers regarding the actions and intentions of their employers. Future research should address how the fairness concerns of workers regarding outcomes or the treatment of other workers affect their motivation. While the importance of social comparisons for the well-being of...
Article
This paper investigates physiological responses to perceptions of unfair pay. We use an integrated approach exploiting complementarities between controlled lab and representative panel data. In a simple principal-agent experiment agents produce revenue by working on a tedious task. Principals decide how this revenue is allocated between themselves...
Article
This study investigates how induced relative status affects satisfaction with different relative payoffs. We find that participants with lower status are more satisfied with disadvantageous payoff inequalities than equal or higher status participants. In contrast, when receiving an advantageous payoff, status does not affect satisfaction. Our findi...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates how induced relative status affects satisfaction with different relative payoffs. We find that participants with lower status are more satisfied with disadvantageous payoff inequalities than equal or higher status participants. In contrast, when receiving an advantageous payoff, status does not affect satisfaction. Our findi...
Article
In our Research Article, we ran a series of controlled laboratory experiments and report a causal effect of market institutions on moral transgression. Our findings contribute to the literature on the malleability of morality in general and the effects of institutions on moral transgression in
Article
Social preference research has received considerable attention among economists in recent years. However, the empirical foundation of social preferences is largely based on laboratory experiments with self-selected students as participants. This is potentially problematic as students participating in experiments may behave systematically different...
Article
The possibility that market interaction may erode moral values is a long-standing, but controversial, hypothesis in the social sciences, ethics, and philosophy. To date, empirical evidence on decay of moral values through market interaction has been scarce. We present controlled experimental evidence on how market interaction changes how human subj...
Article
This paper reports evidence from a city-wide field experiment on trust. About 1000 inhabitants of Zurich take part in a trust experiment, in which first movers can condition their investments on the residential districts of second movers. First movers differentiate their investments systematically depending on where in Zurich the second mover lives...
Article
This article provides evidence that involuntary unemployment, and the segmentation of labour markets into firms offering “good” and “bad” jobs, may both arise as a consequence of contractual incompleteness. We provide a simple model that illustrates how unemployment and market segmentation may jointly emerge as part of a market equilibrium in envir...
Article
Intertemporal choices between a smaller sooner and a larger delayed reward are one of the most important types of decisions humans face in their everyday life. The degree to which individuals discount delayed rewards correlates with impulsiveness. Steep delay discounting has been associated with negative outcomes over a wide range of behaviors such...
Article
Full-text available
It is ecologically adaptive that the amount of effort invested to achieve a reward increases the relevance of the resulting outcome. Here, we investigated the effect of effort on activity in reward and loss processing brain areas by using functional magnetic resonance imaging. In total, 28 subjects were endowed with monetary rewards of randomly var...
Article
We study the effect of real versus nominal income on life satisfaction. According to economic theory real income, i.e., nominal income adjusted for purchasing power, should be the relevant source of life satisfaction. Previous work, however, has only studied the impact of nominal income. We use a novel data set comprising about 7 million data point...
Article
This paper studies how organizational design affects moral outcomes. Subjects face the decision to either kill mice for money or to save mice. We compare a Baseline treatment where subjects are fully pivotal to a Diffused-Pivotality treatment where subjects simultaneously choose in groups of eight. In the latter condition eight mice are killed if a...
Article
Full-text available
Lying is a pervasive phenomenon with important social and economic implications. However, despite substantial interest in the prevalence and determinants of lying, little is known about its biological foundations. Here we study a potential hormonal influence, focusing on the steroid hormone testosterone, which has been shown to play an important ro...
Data
OLS regressions of reported payoff on an indicator variable for testosterone administration, age,and measures of economic preferences and different personality variables. (DOC)
Article
This study presents results of the validation of an ultra-short survey measure of patience included in the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Survey responses predict intertemporal choice behavior in incentive-compatible decisions in a representative sample of the German adult population.
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we study neural responses to inequitable distributions of rewards despite equal performance. We specifically focus on differences between advantageous inequity (AI) and disadvantageous inequity (DI). AI and DI were realized in a hyperscanning functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment with pairs of subjects simultaneously...
Article
Full-text available
We provide a theoretical framework for analyzing when decision makers should ratio-nally follow default options instead of making active choices. We model decision-making in environments with default options as strategic interaction between a policy maker and decision makers. Our model identifies two key dimensions that affect behavior of both part...
Article
Full-text available
Recent theories endogenize the attitude endowments of individuals, assuming that they are shaped by the attitudes of parents and other role models. This paper tests empirically for the relevance of three aspects of the attitude transmission process highlighted in this theoretical literature: (1) transmission of attitudes from parents to children; (...