Jean-Robert Tyran

Jean-Robert Tyran
University of Vienna | UniWien · Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre

About

154
Publications
15,153
Reads
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4,044
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2010 - present
University of Vienna
Position
  • Professor (Full)
September 1997 - March 2004
University of St.Gallen
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (154)
Article
We experimentally investigate how income redistribution shapes support for economic inclusion, i.e., a policy that creates equality of opportunity for income generation. We study a setting in which low-endowment subjects are excluded from investment opportunities unless those with high endowments transfer resources to the low-endowment subjects. We...
Article
We experimentally study the disincentive effect of taxing work and redistributing tax revenues when redistribution is imposed vs. democratically chosen in a vote. We find a “dividend of democracy” in the sense that the disincentive effect is substantially smaller when redistribution is chosen in a vote than when it is imposed. Redistribution seems...
Article
We use a large and heterogeneous sample of the Danish population to investigate the importance of distributional preferences for behavior in a trust game and a public good game. We find robust evidence for the significant explanatory power of distributional preferences. In fact, compared to twenty-one covariates, distributional preferences turn out...
Article
This paper presents a two-wave survey experiment on self-image concerns in voting. We elicit votes on the so-called Horncow Initiative which required subsidization of farmers who refrain from dehorning. We investigate how messages that change the self-signaling value of a Yes vote affect selection and processing of information, and reported voting...
Article
Full-text available
Recent experimental evidence suggests that noisy behavior correlates strongly with personal characteristics. Since decision noise leads to bias in most elicitation tasks, there is a risk of falsely interpreting noise-driven relationships as preference driven. This puts previous studies that found a negative relation between personality measures and...
Chapter
Why do some countries grow rich while others remain stuck in poverty? This has been one of the most important questions in economics at least since Adam Smith published his Inquiry into the Causes and Nature of the Wealth of Nations in 1776. Standard economic theory explains economic growth with reference to the abundance of physical and human capi...
Article
The efficiency of committee voting and referenda with common-interest issues critically depends on voter motivation, i.e., on voters' willingness to cast an informed vote. If voters are motivated, voting may result in smart choices because of information aggregation but if voters remain ignorant, delegating decision making to an expert may yield be...
Article
Decision makers often face incentives to increase risk‐taking on behalf of others through bonus contracts and relative performance contracts. We conduct an experimental study of risk‐taking on behalf of others using a large heterogeneous sample and find that people respond to such incentives without much apparent concern for stakeholders. Responses...
Chapter
Full-text available
Standard economic reasoning assumes that people vote instrumentally, i.e., that the sole motivation to vote is to influence the outcome of an election. In contrast, voting is expressive if voters derive utility from the very act of expressing support for one of the options by voting for it, and this utility is independent of whether the vote affect...
Article
Full-text available
Effective states provide public goods by taxing their citizens and imposing penalties for non-compliance. However, accountable government requires that enough citizens are civically engaged. We study the voluntary cooperative underpinnings of the accountable state by conducting a two-level public goods experiment in which civic engagement can build...
Article
We experimentally investigate information aggregation through majority voting when voters are biased. In such situations, majority voting can have a “dark side,” that is, result in groups making choices inferior to those made by individuals acting alone. In line with theoretical predictions, information on the popularity of policy choices is benefi...
Article
We present a new type of field experiment to investigate ethnic prejudice in the workplace. Our design allows us to study how potential discriminators respond to changes in the cost of discrimination. We find that ethnic discrimination is common but highly responsive to the "price of prejudice," i.e., to the opportunity cost of choosing a less prod...
Article
Full-text available
We test for the construct validity of the cognitive reflection test (CRT) by eliciting response times. We find that incorrect answers to the CRT are quicker than correct answers. At the individual level, we classify subjects into impulsive and reflective, depending on whether they choose the incorrect intuitive answer or the correct answer the majo...
Article
In this experiment, voters select a leader who can either act in the public interest, i.e. make efficient and equitable policy choices, or act in a corrupt way, i.e. use public funds for private gain. Voters can observe candidates’ pro-social behavior and their score in a cognitive ability test prior to the election, and this fact is known to candi...
Article
In this paper we provide new evidence showing that fair behavior is intuitive to most people. We find a strong association between a short response time and fair behavior in the dictator game. This association is robust to controls that take account of the fact that response time might be affected by the decision-maker’s cognitive ability and swift...
Chapter
What explains the gender gap in ideology, i.e. the observation that women tend to be more leftist than men? We provide new evidence showing that personality traits play a key role. Using a novel high-quality data set, we show that the mediating (i.e. indirect) effects of gender operating through personality traits by far dominate the direct effects...
Article
Cooperation can be induced by an authority with the power to mete out sanctions for free riders, but law enforcement is prone to error. This paper experimentally analyzes preferences for and consequences of errors in formal sanctions against free riders in a public goods game. With type I errors, even full contributors to the public good may be pun...
Article
Recent experimental studies suggest that risk aversion is negatively related to cognitive ability. In this paper we report evidence that this relation may be spurious. We recruit a large subject pool drawn from the general Danish population for our experiment. By presenting subjects with choice tasks that vary the bias induced by random choices, we...
Article
In a laboratory experiment designed to capture key aspects of the interaction between physicians and patients, we study the effects of medical insurance and competition in the guise of free choice of physician, including observability of physicians’ market shares. Medical treatment is an example of a credence good: only the physician knows the appr...
Article
We experimentally examine the effects of price competition in markets for experience goods where sellers can build up reputations for quality. We compare price competition to monopolistic markets and markets where prices are exogenously fixed. Although oligopolies benefit consumers regardless of whether prices are fixed or endogenously chosen, we f...
Article
We study risk taking on behalf of others, both when choices involve losses and when they do not. A largescale incentivized experiment with subjects randomly drawn from the Danish population is conducted. We find that deciding for others reduces loss aversion. When choosing between risky prospects for which losses are ruled out by design, subjects m...
Article
We investigate the “law of small numbers” using a data set on lotto gambling that allows us to measure players' reactions to draws. While most players pick the same set of numbers week after week, we find that those who do change, react on average as predicted by the law of small numbers as formalized in recent behavioral theory. In particular, pla...
Article
We investigate experimentally the effects of corrupt experts on information aggregation in committees. We find that nonexperts are significantly less likely to delegate through abstention when there is a probability that experts are corrupt. Such decreased abstention, when the probability of corrupt experts is low, actually increases information ef...
Article
Full-text available
We investigate the endogenous formation of sanctioning institutions supposed to improve efficiency in the voluntary provision of public goods. Our paper parallels Markussen et al. (Rev Econ Stud 81:301–324, 2014) in that our experimental subjects vote over formal versus informal sanctions, but it goes beyond that paper by endogenizing the formal sa...
Article
We explore the political acceptance of taxation in commodity markets. Participants in our experiment earn incomes by trading and must collectively choose one of two tax regimes to raise a given tax revenue. A “uniform tax” (UT) imposes the same tax rate on all markets and is fair in that it yields the same–but low–income to participants in all mark...
Article
Full-text available
This paper shows that a small amount of individual-level money illusion may cause considerable aggregate nominal inertia after a negative nominal shock. In addition, our results indicate that negative and positive nominal shocks have asymmetric effects because of money illusion. While nominal inertia is quite substantial and long lasting after a ne...
Article
The ability of groups to implement efficiency-enhancing institutions is emerging as a central theme of research in economics. This paper explores voting on a scheme of intergroup competition which facilitates cooperation in a social dilemma situation. Experimental results show that the competitive scheme fosters cooperation. Competition is popular...
Article
We use the strategy method to classify subjects into cooperator types in a large-scale online Public Goods Game and find that free riders spend more time on making their decisions than conditional cooperators and other cooperator types. This result is robust to reversing the framing of the game and is not driven by cognitive ability, confusion, or...
Working Paper
We present a new type of field experiment to investigate ethnic prejudice in the workplace. Our design allows us to study how potential discriminators respond to changes in the cost of discrimination. We find that ethnic discrimination is common but remarkably responsive to the "price of prejudice", i.e. to the opportunity cost of choosing a less p...
Working Paper
In this paper we provide new evidence showing that fair behavior is intuitive to most people. We find a strong association between a short response time and fair behavior in the dictator game. This association is robust to controls that take account of the fact that response time might be affected by the decision-maker’s cognitive ability and swift...
Article
Cooperation can be induced by an authority with the power to mete out sanctions for free riders, but law enforcement is prone to error. This paper experimentally analyzes preferences for and consequences of errors in formal sanctions against free riders in a public goods game. With type I errors, even full contributors to the public good may be pun...
Article
Full-text available
Entrusting the power to punish to a central authority is a hallmark of civilization, yet informal or horizontal sanctions have attracted more attention of late. We study experimentally a collective action dilemma and test whether subjects choose a formal sanction scheme that costs less than the surplus it makes possible, as predicted by standard ec...
Working Paper
We study risk taking on behalf of others, both with and without potential losses. A large-scale incentivized experiment is conducted with subjects randomly drawn from the Danish population. On average, decision makers take the same risks for other people as for themselves when losses are excluded. In contrast, when losses are possible, decisions o...
Working Paper
Recent experimental studies suggest that risk aversion is negatively related to cognitive ability. In this paper we report evidence that this relation might be spurious. We recruit a large subject pool drawn from the general Danish population for our experiment. By presenting subjects with choice tasks that vary the bias induced by random choices,...
Article
It has been shown that participants in the dictator game are less willing to give money to the other participant when their choice set also includes the option to take money. We examine whether this effect is due to the choice set providing a signal about entitlements in a setting where entitlements initially may be considered unclear. We find that...
Article
We explore the political acceptance of taxation in commodity markets. Participants in our experiment earn incomes by trading and must collectively choose one of two tax regimes to raise a given tax revenue. A "uniform tax" (UT) imposes the same tax rate on all markets and is fair in that it yields the same – but low – income to participants in all...
Working Paper
Loss aversion is one of the most robust findings to have emerged from behavioral economics. Surprisingly little attention, however, has been devoted to nominal loss aversion, the interaction of loss aversion and money illusion. People tend to think of transactions in terms of their nominal (monetary) values. Real losses may therefore loom larger in...
Article
Full-text available
Some people have a concern for a fair distribution of incomes while others do not. Does such a concern matter for majority voting on redistribution? Fairness preferences are relevant for redistribution outcomes only if fair-minded voters are pivotal. Pivotality, in turn, depends on the structure of income classes. We experimentally study voting on...
Article
We study the effects of reputation and competition in a stylized market for experience goods. If interaction is anonymous, such markets perform poorly: sellers are not trustworthy, and buyers do not trust sellers. If sellers are identifiable and can, hence, build a reputation, efficiency quadruples but is still at only a third of the first best. Ad...
Working Paper
We experimentally investigate information aggregation through majority voting when some voters are biased. In such situations, majority voting can have a 'dark side', i.e. result in groups making choices inferior to those made by individuals acting alone. We develop a model to predict how two types of social information shape efficiency in the pres...
Article
We show that the standard trust question routinely used in social capital research is importantly related to cooperation behavior and we provide a microfoundation for this relation. We run a large-scale public goods experiment over the internet in Denmark and find that the trust question is a proxy for cooperation preferences rather than beliefs ab...
Article
The “gambler's fallacy” is the false belief that a random event is less likely to occur if the event has occurred recently. Such beliefs are false if the onset of events is in fact independent of previous events. We study gender differences in the gambler's fallacy using data from the Danish state lottery. Our data set is unique in that we track in...
Article
Full-text available
We test whether large but purely nominal shocks affect real asset market prices. We subject a laboratory asset market to an exogenous shock, which either inflates or deflates the nominal fundamental value of the asset, while holding the real fundamental value constant. After an inflationary shock, nominal prices adjust upward rapidly and we observe...
Article
We experimentally investigate information aggregation through majority voting when some voters are biased. In such situations, majority voting can have a “dark side”, i.e. result in groups making choices inferior to those made by individuals acting alone. We develop a model to predict how two types of social information shape efficiency in the pres...
Article
The burgeoning literature on the use of sanctions to support the provision of public goods has largely neglected the use of formal or centralized sanctions. We let subjects playing a linear public goods game vote on the parameters of a formal sanction scheme capable of either resolving or exacerbating the free-rider problem, depending on parameter...
Article
We examine abstention when voters in standing committees are asymmetrically informed and there are multiple pure-strategy equilibria – swing voterʼs curse (SVC) equilibria where voters with low-quality information abstain and equilibria when all participants vote their information. When the asymmetry in information quality is large, we find that vo...
Working Paper
We investigate the “law of small numbers” using a unique panel data set on lotto gambling. Because we can track individual players over time, we can measure how they react to outcomes of recent lotto drawings. We can therefore test whether they behave as if they believe they can predict lotto numbers based on recent drawings. While most players pic...
Working Paper
The sanctioning of norm-violating behavior by an effective formal authority is an efficient solution for social dilemmas. It is in the self-interest of voters and is often favorably contrasted with letting citizens take punishment into their own hands. Allowing informal sanctions, by contrast, not only comes with a danger that punishments will be m...
Working Paper
Entrusting the power to punish to a central authority is a hallmark of civilization. We study a collective action dilemma in which self-interest should produce a sub-optimal outcome absent sanctions for non-cooperation. We then test experimentally whether subjects make the theoretically optimal choice of a formal sanction scheme that costs less tha...
Article
We let consumers vote on tax regimes in experimental markets. We test if taxes on sellers are more popular than taxes on consumers, i.e. on voters themselves, even if taxes on sellers are inefficiently high. Taxes on sellers are more popular if voters underestimate the extent of tax-shifting in the market. We show that inexperienced voters are pron...
Working Paper
The sanctioning of norm-violating behavior by an effective formal authority is an efficient solution for social dilemmas. It is in the self-interest of voters and is often favorably contrasted with letting citizens take punishment into their own hands. Allowing informal sanctions, by contrast, not only comes with a danger that punishments will be m...
Working Paper
We find that cognitive abilities, educational attainment, and some personality traits indirectly affect ideological preferences through changes in income. The effects of changes in personality traits on ideology directly and indirectly through income are in the same direction. However, the indirect effects of cognitive abilities and education often...
Article
The “gambler's fallacy” is the false belief that a random event is less likely to occur if the event has occurred recently. Such beliefs are false if the onset of events is in fact independent of previous events. We study gender differences in the gambler's fallacy using data from the Danish state lottery. Our data set is unique in that we track in...
Article
We examine the role of consumer networks in markets that suffer from moral hazard. Consumers exchange information with neighbors about past experiences with different sellers. Networks foster incentives for reputation building and enhance trust and efficiency in markets.
Working Paper
We present a model of political selection in which voters elect a president from a set of candidates. We assume that some of the candidates are benevolent and that all voters prefer a benevolent president, i.e. a president who serves the public interest. Yet, political selection may fail in our model because voters cannot easily tell benevolent fro...
Article
We test if cooperation is promoted by rank-order competition between groups in which all groups can be ranked first, i.e. when everyone can be a winner. This type of rank-order competition has the advantage that it can eliminate the negative externality a group's performance imposes on other groups. However, it has the disadvantage that incentives...
Article
Full-text available
Introducing a threshold in the sense of a minimal project size transforms a public goods game with an inefficient equilibrium into a coordination game with a set of Pareto-superior equilibria. Thresholds may therefore improve efficiency in the voluntary provision of public goods. In our one-shot experiment, we find that coordination often fails and...
Article
The burgeoning literature on the use of sanctions to support public goods provision has largely neglected the use of formal or centralized sanctions. We let subjects playing a linear public goods game vote on the parameters of a formal sanction scheme capable both of resolving and of exacerbating the free-rider problem, depending on parameter setti...
Working Paper
The burgeoning literature on the use of sanctions to support public goods provision has largely neglected the use of formal or centralized sanctions. We let subjects playing a linear public goods game vote on the parameters of a formal sanction scheme capable both of resolving and of exacerbating the free-rider problem, depending on parameter setti...
Working Paper
Tax incentives can be more or less salient, i.e. noticeable or cognitively easy to process. Our hypothesis is that taxes on consumers are more salient to consumers than equivalent taxes on sellers because consumers underestimate the extent of tax shifting in the market. We show that tax salience biases consumers’ voting on tax regimes, and that exp...