Michael Kosfeld

Michael Kosfeld
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main · Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

PhD

About

70
Publications
24,570
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6,760
Citations
Citations since 2017
13 Research Items
2552 Citations
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20172018201920202021202220230100200300400
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400
Introduction

Publications

Publications (70)
Preprint
Full-text available
Using representative employer-employee panel data of German firms, we show that differences in supervisors' people skills, as well as workforce trust, social preferences, and personality traits explain firm-level differences in helping and antisocial behavior in the workplace. Our measures are derived from established survey constructs and include...
Article
We study the effect of likeability on women’s and men’s team behaviour in a lab experiment. Extending a two-player public goods game and a minimum effort game by an additional pre-play stage that informs team members about their mutual likeability, we find that female teams lower their contribution to the public good in the event of low likeability...
Article
We conduct experimental games with police applicants in Germany to investigate whether intrinsically motivated agents self-select into this type of public service. Our focus is on trustworthiness and the willingness to enforce norms of cooperation as key dimensions of intrinsic motivation in the police context. We find that police applicants are mo...
Article
I discuss recent findings from behavioral economic experiments in the lab and in the field on the role of leaders in human cooperation. Three implications for leadership are derived, which are summarized under the notion CC strategy. Firstly, leaders need to trust to not demotivate the motivated. Secondly, leaders need to punish to motivate the non...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence suggests that acquiring human capital is related to better life outcomes, yet young peoples' decisions to invest in or stop acquiring human capital are still poorly understood. We investigate the role of time and reference-dependent preferences in such decisions. Using a data set that is unique in its combination of real-world observations...
Chapter
This chapter reviews the consequences of exploitative strategies for individual behavior, social structure, and design of institutions. It outlines how natural selection should act to construct behavioral connections that maximize benefits and minimize costs of sociality for individuals. Individuals are predicted to show specific leaving or joining...
Article
Full-text available
We experimentally investigate behavior and beliefs in a sequential prisoner’s dilemma. Each subject had to choose an action as first-mover and a conditional action as second-mover. All subjects also had to state their beliefs about others’ second-mover choices. We find that subjects’ beliefs about others’ choices are fairly accurate on average. Usi...
Article
* We would like to thank Joel Peress (the editor), an anonymous referee, Johan Almenberg, Mark Armstrong, Roland Bénabou, Patrick Rey, Reinhard H. Schmidt, and seminar participants at the 2010 AEA meeting, Atlanta, the 2010 Econometric Society World Congress, Shanghai, the 2010 EARIE meeting, Istanbul, and the 2010 Verein für Socialpolitik meeting...
Article
We experimentally analyze distributional preferences when a decider chooses the provision of a good that benefits herself or a receiver, and creates costs for a group of payers. The treatment variation is the number of payers. We observe that subjects provide the good even if there are many payers so that the costs of provision exceed the benefits...
Article
We manipulate workers' perceived meaning of a job in a field experiment and interact meaning of work with both financial and recognition incentives. Results show that workers exert more effort when meaning is high. Money has a positive effect on performance that is independent of meaning. In contrast, meaning and recognition interact negatively. Ou...
Article
We conduct a social dilemma experiment in which real-world leaders can punish group members as a third party. Despite facing an identical environment, leaders are found to take remarkably different punishment approaches. The different leader types revealed experimentally explain the relative success of groups in managing their forest commons. Leade...
Article
Full-text available
Several studies have shown that dictator-game giving declines substantially if the dictator can exploit situational "excuses" for not being generous. In this experimental study we investigate if this result extends to more natural social interactions involving reciprocal behavior. We provide the second mover in a reciprocal game with an excuse for...
Article
Team production is a frequent feature of modern organizations. Combined with team incentives, team production can create externalities among workers, since their utility upon accepting a contract depends on their team's performance and therefore on their colleagues' productivity. We study the effects of such externalities in a competitive labor mar...
Article
We manipulate workers' perceived meaning of a job in a field experiment. Half of the workers are informed that their job is important, the other half are told that their job is of no relevance. Results show that workers exert more effort when meaning is high, corroborating previous findings on the relationship between meaning and work effort. We th...
Article
This paper explores consequences of consumer education on prices and welfare in retail financial markets when some consumers are naive about shrouded add-on prices and firms try to exploit it. Allowing for different information and pricing strategies we show that education is unlikely to push firms to disclose prices towards all consumers, which wo...
Article
NGOs and other non-profit organizations attract workers who strongly identify themselves with their missions. We study whether these "good guys" are more trust- worthy and how such pronounced group identities affect trust and trustworthiness within the groups and toward out-groups. We find that subjects who strongly identify themselves with a non-p...
Article
Do employees work harder if their job has the right mission? In a laboratory labor market experiment, we test whether subjects provide higher effort if they can choose the mission of their job. We observe that subjects do not provide higher effort than in a control treatment. Surprised by this finding, we run a second experiment in which subjects c...
Article
Previous research shows that firms shroud high add-on prices in competitive markets with naive consumers leading to inefficiency. We analyze the effects of regulatory intervention via educating naive consumers on equilibrium prices and welfare. Our model allows firms to shroud, unshroud, or partially unshroud add-on prices. Results show that consum...
Article
We study the impact of status and social recognition on worker performance in a field experiment. In collaboration with an international non-governmental organization we hired students to work on a database project. Students in the award treatment were offered a congratulatory card from the organization honoring the best performance. The award was...
Article
Full-text available
Recent evidence suggests that prosocial behaviors like conditional cooperation and costly norm enforcement can stabilize large-scale cooperation for commons management. However, field evidence on the extent to which variation in these behaviors among actual commons users accounts for natural commons outcomes is altogether missing. Here, we combine...
Article
The strive for social esteem is an important motive for pro-social behavior. Many people want to be seen as nice. Recent theories have suggested that the valuation of such esteem depends on the audience. In this study we look at trust and trustworthiness towards people who do or do not identify themselves with typical altruistic goals. In a trust g...
Article
Previous research shows that firms may offer excessively high (and shrouded) add-on prices in competitive markets when some consumers are myopic. We analyze the effects of regulatory intervention via educating myopic consumers on equilibrium strategies of firms, consumer protection and welfare. Our model allows firms to price discriminate between c...
Article
Full-text available
Sanctioning institutions are of utmost importance for overcoming free-riding tendencies and enforcing outcomes that maximize group welfare in social dilemma situations. We investigate, theoretically and experimentally, the endogenous formation of institutions in public goods provision. Our theoretical analysis shows that players may form sanctionin...
Article
We investigate a competitive labor market with team production. Workers differ in their motivation to exert team effort and types are private information. We show that there can exist a separating equilibrium in which workers self-select into different firms and firms employing cooperative workers make strictly positive profits. Profit differences...
Article
Standard real business cycle models must rely on total factor productivity (TFP) shocks to explain the observed comovement of consumption, investment, and hours worked. This paper shows that a neoclassical model consistent with observed heterogeneity in labor supply and consumption can generate comovement in the absence of TFP shocks. Intertemporal...
Article
Teamwork and cooperation between workers can be of substantial value to a firm, yet the level of worker cooperation often varies between individual firms. We show that these differences can be the result of labor market competition if workers have heterogeneous preferences and preferences are private information. In our model there are two types of...
Article
What determines how humans interact socially? Why do we sometimes cooperate but at other times refuse to act cooperatively? Why are some people willing to trust a stranger, whereas others are mistrustful? Why do some people take risks to achieve their goals, whereas others prefer to stay on the safe side? Answering such questions will eventually he...
Article
We propose a dynamic model of neighbourhood watch schemes. While the state chooses punishment levels, apprehension of criminals depends on the watchfulness of citizens. We show that, contrary to standard intuition, crime levels can increase in punishments. This is because neighbourhood watch schemes can fall victim to their own success if recruitme...
Article
Full-text available
We analyze the consequences of control on motivation in an experimental principalagent game, where the principal can control the agent by implementing a minimum performance requirement before the agent chooses a productive activity. Our results show that control entails hidden costs since most agents reduce their performance as a response to the pr...
Article
This paper shows that increases in the minimum wage rate can have ambiguous effects on the working hours and welfare of employed workers in competitive labor markets. The reason is that employers may not comply with the minimum wage legislation and instead pay a lower subminimum wage rate. If workers are risk neutral, we prove that working hours an...
Article
Full-text available
This paper discusses recent neuroeconomic evidence related to other-regarding behaviours and the decision to trust in other people’s other-regarding behaviour. This evidence supports the view that people derive non-pecuniary utility (i) from mutual cooperation in social dilemma (SD) games and (ii) from punishing unfair behaviour. Thus, mutual coope...
Article
Full-text available
Trust pervades human societies. Trust is indispensable in friendship, love, families and organizations, and plays a key role in economic exchange and politics. In the absence of trust among trading partners, market transactions break down. In the absence of trust in a country's institutions and leaders, political legitimacy breaks down. Much recent...
Article
In this paper we analyze the behavioral consequences of control on motivation. Wenstudy a simple experimental principal-agent game, where the principal decides whethernhe controls the agent by implementing a minimum performance requirement before the agent chooses a productive activity. Our main finding is that a principal's decisionnto control has...
Article
Full-text available
This paper discusses recent neuroeconomic evidence related to other-regarding behaviors and the decision to trust in other people's other-regarding behavior. This evidence supports the view that people derive nonpecuniary utility (i) from mutual cooperation in social dilemma (SD) games and (ii) from punishing unfair behavior. Thus, mutual cooperati...
Article
We analyze the dynamics of neighborhood watch programs in a local interaction framework. Agents can watch their neighbors' houses and, thus, deter burglars from breaking in. At the same time, agents also try to recruit their neighbors to join the neighborhood watch program. The probability of an agent joining the neighborhood watch program depends...
Article
Full-text available
This study explores the ways in which information about other individual's action affects one's own behavior in a dictator game. The experimental design discriminates behaviorally between three possible effects of recipient's within-game reputation on the dictator's decision: Reputation causing indirect reciprocity, social influence, and identifica...
Article
In this paper we discuss experimental evidence for two different institutional approaches to a possible resolution of the fundamental conflict between social welfare maximization and individual utility maximization. The basic workhorse for modelling this conflict is the voluntary contribution of a group of individuals to a public good. The common e...
Article
This paper provides a survey of recent experimental work in economics focusing on social and economic networks. The experiments consider networks of coordination and cooperation, buyer-seller networks, and network formation.
Article
Full-text available
Corruption in the public sector erodes tax compliance and leads to higher tax evasion. Moreover, corrupt public officials abuse their public power to extort bribes from the private agents. In both types of interaction with the public sector, the private agents are bound to face uncertainty with respect to their disposable incomes. To analyse effect...
Article
We study a new equilibrium concept in non-cooperative games, where players follow a behavioral rule called best-reply matching. Under this rule a player matches the probability of playing a pure strategy to the probability that this strategy is a best reply. Kosfeld, Droste, and Voorneveld [Games and Economic Behavior 40 (2002) 270] show that best-...
Article
This paper provides a survey of recent experimental work in eco- nomics focussing on social and economic networks.The experiments consider networks of coordination and cooperation,buyer-seller net- works,and network formation.
Article
We present an economic experiment on network formation, in which subjects can decide to form links to one another. Direct links are costly but being connected is valuable. The game-theoretic basis for our experiment is the model of Bala and Goyal (2000). They distinguish between two scenarios regarding the flow of benefits through a network, the so...
Article
Full-text available
We show that immigrant managers are substantially more likely to hire immigrants than are native managers. The finding holds when comparing establishments in the same 5-digit industry and location, when comparing different establishments within the same firm, when analyzing establishments that change management over time, and when accounting for wi...
Article
Curb sets [Basu and Weibull, Econ. Letters 36 (1991), 141-146] are product sets of pure strategies containing all individual best-responses against beliefs restricted to the recommendations to the remaining players. The concept of minimal curb sets is a set-theoretic coarsening of the notion of strict Nash equilibrium. We introduce the concept of m...
Article
The paper explores a model of equilibrium selection in coordination games, where agents from an infinite population stochastically adjust their strategies to changes in their local environment. Instead of playing perturbed best-response, it is assumed that agents follow a rule of `switching to better strategies with higher probability'. This behavi...
Article
This paper introduces a new perspective on the deregulation of shopping hours based on ideas from evolutionary game theory. We study a retail economy where shopping hours have been deregulated recently. It is argued that first, the deregulation leads to a coordination problem between store owners and customers, and second, the ‘solution’ to this pr...
Article
All economic action involves interaction among individuals. Moreover, most of these interactions have a primarily social character. We talk with friends, we ask others for advice, we arrange to meet people, we work together with colleagues, we live next to neighbours. This thesis takes a closer analytical look at the issue of social interaction in...
Article
We study a society of agents where individual incentives conflict with collective ones and thus individual utility maximization leads to inefficient outcomes. We assume that there is no functioning central institution which can control individual behavior. Instead, we analyze a system of what we call local control (LC), where the enforcement of pun...
Article
Full-text available
Curb sets [Basu and Weibull, Econ. Letters 36 (1991), 141-146] are product sets of pure strategies containing all individual best-responses against beliefs restricted to the recommendations to the remaining players. The concept of minimal curb sets is a set-theoretic coarsening of the notion of strict Nash equilibrium. We introduce the concept of m...
Article
In this paper we take up a model of Okada (1996) to describe the possibility of collective cooperation in a n-person Prisoner's Dilemma game by means of institutional arrangements. In addition, we introduce the possibility to corrupt the institutional authority by paying him some positive transfer in order not to be punished in case of defection. I...
Article
Full-text available
We show that a principal's trust in the voluntary performance of the agent has a positive impact on the agent's motivation to perform well. Before the agent decides on his performance, the principal in our experiment chooses (not) to implement a minimum performance level for the agent, thereby signaling his distrust (trust) that the agent will volu...
Article
Teamwork and cooperation between workers can be of substantial value to a firm, yet the level of worker cooperation often varies between individual firms. We show that these differences can be the result of labor market competition if workers have heterogeneous preferences and preferences are private information. In our model there are two types of...
Article
We present the results of an empirical study assessing the impact of non- material awards on work performance. Subjects in our eld experiment were
Article
Full-text available
Altruism, behavior which reduces the individual fitness of the actor while in-creasing the fitness of another organism, has attracted much attention from both biologists and economists because it seems to defy the logic of both natural se-lection and standard preferences. In biology, kin selection (Hamilton 1964) is the best-established explanation...
Article
Many experimental studies compare two versions of one game for which agents' behavior is fundamentally different even though the Nash equi-librium is the same. This paper provides a novel approach to explaining such findings. It uses the observation that many of these examples are games with strategic complementarities to predict the direction of a...

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