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
Econometrica, 2019 87(4): 1081-1113. With J. Greenwood, C. Santos and M. Tertilt A calibrated equilibrium search model of an HIV/AIDS epidemic is developed to analyze the direct impact and the behavioral adjustment to policies. Go to paper
Econometrica, 2010, Vol. 78(2), 539–574. With Jan Eeckhout. In search models with price competition the sorting of heterogeneous buyers and sellers depends on complementarities both in output and in search. 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 Political Economy, 2017, 124(1), 224-264. With G. Grossman & E. Helpman. (simulations, matlab). We introduce two-sided heterogeneity into a Hecksher-Ohlin-style trade model to study factor reallocation and wage inequality within and across sectors. Go to paper
American Economic Review P&P, 2017, 107(5): 158–162 With J. Greenwood, C. Santos & M. Tertilt. In a quantitative equilibrium model of sexual behavior and HIV/AIDS transmission we study policies that encourage long-term partnerships. Go to paper
Review of Economic Studies, 2015, Vol 82 (2), 659-692. With Fane Groes and Iourii Manovskii. Occupational mobility is highest for high and low earners, and the former move “up” and the latter “down” as in models of vertical re-sorting. 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