Delegation to a Group
2021, Fehrler, Sebastian, Janas, Moritz
We study the choice of a principal to either delegate a decision to a group of careerist experts or to consult them individually and keep the decision-making power. Our model predicts a trade-off between information acquisition and information aggregation. On the one hand, the expected benefit from being informed is larger in case the experts are consulted individually. Hence, the experts either acquire the same or a larger amount of information, depending on the cost of information, than in case of delegation. On the other hand, any acquired information is better aggregated in the case of delegation, in which experts can deliberate secretly. To test the model’s key predictions, we run an experiment. The results from the laboratory confirm the predicted trade-off despite some deviations from theory on the individual level.
Who Runs? : Honesty and Self-Selection into Politics
2016, Fehrler, Sebastian, Fischbacher, Urs, Schneider, Maik T.
We examine the incentives to self-select into politics and how they depend on the transparency of the entry process. To this end, we set up a two-stage political competition model and test its key mechanisms in the lab. At the entry stage, potential candidates compete in a contest to become their party's nominee. At the election stage, the nominated candidates campaign by making non-binding promises to voters. Confirming the model's key predictions, we find in the experiment that dishonest people over-proportionally self-select into the political race; and that this adverse selection effect can be prevented if the entry stage is made transparent to voters.
The Effectiveness of Inputs in Primary Education : Insights from Recent Student Surveys for Sub-Saharan Africa
2009-10, Fehrler, Sebastian, Michaelowa, Katharina, Wechtler, Annika
With SACMEQ and PASEC there are now two large data bases available on student achievement, socio-economic background and school and teacher characteristics in both anglophone and francophone sub-Saharan Africa. A joint analysis of PASEC and SACMEQ in a common education production function framework allows us to estimate the impact of educational inputs on student achievement in 21 sub-Saharan African countries and to compare our results with those of earlier empirical studies for education systems in Africa and other world regions. In our analysis we focus on school equipment, teacher quality and class organisation. The issue of teacher and student incentives cannot be adequately addressed with the given data. Our results are based on a traditional retrospective analysis of student achievement in PASEC and SACMEQ countries. In contrast to the ‘nothing works’ result from most industrialized countries’ studies we find robust positive correlations of achievement test scores and the possession of textbooks and negative correlations with teaching in shifts. The most striking result is the weak or even absent correlation of achievement test scores and teacher education and professional training. However, some differences between francophone and anglophone education systems can be observed in this context if differences in the sampling methodology are duly taken into account.
Honesty and Self-Selection into Cheap Talk
2020-11-23, Fehrler, Sebastian, Fischbacher, Urs, Schneider, Maik T.
In many situations, people can lie strategically for their own benefit. Since individuals differ with respect to their willingness to lie, the credibility of statements will crucially depend on who self-selects into such cheap-talk situations. We study this process in a two-stage political competition setting. At the entry stage, potential candidates compete in a contest to become their party’s candidate in an election. At the election stage, the nominated candidates campaign by making promises to voters. Confirming the model’s key prediction, we find in our experiment that dishonest people over-proportionally self-select into the political race and thereby lower voters’ welfare.
Can you trust the good guys? : Trust within and between groups with different missions
2013-12, Fehrler, Sebastian, Kosfeld, Michael
Non-governmental organizations and other non-profit organizations attract workers who strongly identify themselves with their missions.Westudy whether these ‘‘good guys’’ are more trustworthy, and how such pronounced group identities affect trust and trustworthiness within the groups and towards out-groups. We find that subjects who strongly identify themselves with a non-profit mission are more trustworthy in a minimal group setting but also harshly discriminate against out-groups when subjects are grouped by the missions they identify themselves with.
Contacts Matter : Local Governance and the Targeting of Social Pensions in Bangladesh
2020-06, Asri, Viola, Biswas, Kumar, Fehrler, Sebastian, Fischbacher, Urs, Michaelowa, Katharina, Rabbani, Atonu
We present evidence on the extent and possible causes of mistargeting of a largescale social-pension program in Bangladesh. The evidence stems from surveys and lab-in-the-field experiments that we ran in eight different unions (municipalities) with three different groups: (i) a random sample of the elderly population (potential bene ciaries), (ii) a random sample of newly selected bene ciaries, and (iii) the local government representatives, who were in charge of the last round of selections. On the one hand, our (pre-registered) analysis suggests that personal relationships are crucial for being selected as a bene ciary, which might indicate corruption. On the other hand, our results strongly suggest that a severe lack of state capacity (e.g., knowledge of the o cial rules and procedures on the part of the politicians) is the most important reason for the very poor targeting performance of the local governments.
Charitable giving as a signal of trustworthiness : Disentangling the signaling benefits of altruistic acts
2013-03, Fehrler, Sebastian, Przepiorka, Wojtek
It has been shown that psychological predispositions to benefit others can motivate human cooperation and the evolution of such social preferences can be explained with kin or multi-level selectionmodels. It has also been shown that cooperation can evolve as a costly signal of an unobservable quality that makes a person more attractive with regard to other types of social interactions. Here we show that if a proportion of individuals with social preferences is maintained in the population through kin or multi-level selection, cooperative acts that are truly altruistic can be a costly signal of social preferences and make altruistic individuals more trustworthy interaction partners in social exchange. In a computerized laboratory experiment, we test whether altruistic behavior in the form of charitable giving is indeed correlated with trustworthiness and whether a charitable donation increases the observing agents' trust in the donor. Our results support these hypotheses and show that, apart from trust, responses to altruistic acts can have a rewarding or outcome-equalizing purpose. Our findings corroborate that the signaling benefits of altruistic acts that accrue in social exchange can ease the conditions for the evolution of social preferences.