Standard economic models have long been applied to choices over private consumption goods, but have recently been extended to incorporate social situations as well. We challenge the applicability of standard decision theoretic models to social settings. We argue that, in economically relevant social settings, agents may choose to randomize over any of the deterministic outcomes in a way that clashes with standard decision theory axioms that require lotteries not to be valued strictly above the best deterministic outcome. Thus, mainstream economic analysis is unable to fully accommodate such choices. We find little evidence of such deviations in non-social settings.
On the Difference Between Social and Private Goods
B.E. Journals of Theoretical Economics, 2013, Vol 13 (1). With S. Ludwig and A. Sandroni.
We document a revealed preference for randomization for “social goods”, while such non-standard behavior is not present for private consumption goods.
Review of Economic Studies, 2011, Vol. 78 (3), 872-906. With Jan Eeckhout. Wage and employment data can identify the strength of sorting in search models, though two-sided fixed effects are always mis-specified. Go to paper
Inferring Risk Perceptions and Preferences using Choice from Insurance Menus: Theory and Evidence
Economic Journal, 2021 131: 713-744. With Ericson, Spinnewijn &, Starc Demand for insurance can be driven by high risk aversion or high risk, and we show how to separate the two using observed market shares. Go to paper
Journal of Economic Literature, 2021 59(1): 90-148. With R. Wright,B. Julien, and V. Guerrieri. This survey presents a comprehensive overview of the directed/competitive search literature. Go to paper
Review of Economic Studies, 2019 86(4): 1411-1447. With Michèle Belot and Paul Muller. We develop and evaluate experimentally a novel tool that redesigns the job search process by providing tailored online advice about related occupations. Go to paper
Journal of Economic Theory, 2009, 114(2), pp. 445-471. With Manolis Galenianos. We study wage dispersion and (in)efficiency in directed search when workers can strategically apply for multiple jobs but firms can only make one offer. Go to paper
Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2008/123(2), pp. 621-661. With A. Postlewaite. [technical appendix] In a model of social learning, the better informed (wealthier) consumers get preferential service because their consumption signals high quality to others. Go to paper
International Economic Review, 2012, Vol 53 (1), 1-21. With M. Galenianos. We study a finite directed-search wage posting game among heterogeneous firms (allowing for risk aversion, moral hazard,…), including limit theorems. Go to paper
Journal of Political Economy, 2009, Vol. 117(5), pp. 861- 913. In a directed search where workers apply for multiple jobs and are then allocated via a stable matching, efficiency arises at all stages. Go to paper