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Monday, 13.11.2017 | 13.00 - 14.00 Uhr | Q4.245

Seminars in Economics and Management, Dr. Fabian Winter

Dr. Fabian Winter, Leiter der Forschungsgruppe “Mechanismen des normativen Wandels” am Max Planck Institut in Bonn, hält am 13.11.2017 einen Vortrag mit dem Titel  „Real Effort Tasks in Economic Experiments: An Empirical Comparison of Tasks and their Behavioral Effects”. Der Vortrag findet von 13 Uhr bis 14 Uhr in Raum Q4.245 statt und ist Teil der Seminarreihe „Economics and Management“. Anschließend steht  Herr Winter für Gespräche im Rahmen des Forschungscáfes zur Verfügung. Weitere Informationen und Termine der Vortragsreihe:


Real effort tasks have become an indispensable tool to induce a more realistic source of income in economic experiments. They usually serve either of two purposes: to overcome the ``house money'' or ``manna-from-heaven'' effect by introducing an element of deservedness, or to investigate the outcome of different payment-schemes, e.g. flat payment vs. piece-rate vs. tournaments. The experimental literature is full of different Real Effort Tasks, and every author claims that his or her task is particularly tedious/fair/fun etc. However, the empirical evidence comparing these tasks is surprisingly sparse. Even more importantly, however, nothing is known about how the specific characteristics of the Real Effort Task influence the outcome of the ``real'' experiment conducted after the task. For instance, how does the perceived fairness of the task influence the claims on the produced good? The first part of the paper surveys the literature and experimentally compares 10 different Real Effort Tasks under varying conditions. Among those tasks are ``classics'' like the Counting Zeros Task, Word Encryption or the Slider Task, but also more exotic tasks like threading beads to a wire. I report the participants performance in the task as well as self-assessed judgements about several of the task's characteristics, such as fairness or fun. This part may serve the reader as an extensive library for future experiments. Part two investigates some variations of the Counting Zeros Task, such as outside options or tournament schemes. In part three, I derive hypothesis about how specific characteristics of the Real Effort Task may influence a simple Nash bargaining game. In this game, two participants bargain over their joint earnings from the Real Effort Task. The epmirical results provide some evidence for differential effects between Real Effort Tasks. Real Effort Tasks which are perceived as particularly ``tedious'' result in significantly less egalitarian choices, and thereby simplify the coordination on the focal ``effort''-norm. This, in turn, leads to significantly less normative conflict and higher successful transactions as compared to tasks which are considered more ``fun''. The latter tasks result in a mixture of egalitarian and ``effort''-norms. Finally, I give suggestions on how to choose an appropriate real effort task for future experiments.

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