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
We document a revealed preference for randomization for “social goods”, while such non-standard behavior is not present for private consumption goods.
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
American Economic Review, 2015, Vol 105 (10), 3030-3060. With Leo Kaas. We propose a tractable competitive search model with heterogeneous multi-worker firms, and investigate firm growth and business cycles. Go to paper
American Economic Journal - Macroeconomics, forthcoming 2022, with Michèle Belot and Paul Muller. In a field experiment, we study how job seekers respond to posted wages by assigning wages randomly to pairs of otherwise similar vacancies in a large number of professions. Higher wages attract significantly more interest, but still a non-trivial number of applicants only reveal an interest in the low wage vacancy - qualitatively in line with a directed search model with multiple applications and on-the-job search. 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. 2018 86(1): 85-132. With Jan Eeckhout. When heterogeneous firms can choose both how many and which workers to hire, we illustrate consequences for firm-size and wage inequality. Note a correction for the condition with capital: corrigendum. Go to paper
Journal of Economic Theory, 2010/145, 1354-1385. With Jan Eeckhout. Search affects competing mechanisms: if meetings with low types reduce those of high types, price posting and market separation replace auctions. Go to paper