Work in Progress

How Stress Affects Performance and Competitiveness across Gender

 with Jana Cahlíková and Ian Levely
Abstract: We study how psycho-social stress affects willingness to compete and performance under tournament incentives across gender. The work has implications for gender gaps on the labor market, since many key career events involve competition in stressful settings (e.g. entrance exams or job interviews). We use a laboratory economic experiment in which a task is compensated under both tournament and piece-rate schemes and elicit subjects’ willingness to compete. Stress is exogenously introduced through a modified version of the Trier Social Stress Test, and stress response is measured by salivary cortisol levels. We find that stress reduces willingness to compete. For female subjects, this can be explained by performance: while tournament incentives increase output in the control group, women in the stress treatment actually perform worse when competition is introduced. For males, output is not affected by the stress treatment and lower competitiveness seems to be preference-based. These results may explain previous findings that men and women react differently to tournament incentives.

Collusion in Multiobject Auctions: An Experimental Evidence

with Jindřich Matoušek
Abstract: We experimentally examine the attributes  of two complex  multi-unit  auction mechanisms in the presence of an opportunity to collude among bidding participants due  to  a  provision of a simple communication channel. The results suggest that the combinatorial  bidding  format  does not bring  higher efficiency. Allowing for communication increases  efficiency  in  both examined auction formats. Bidders  are able to split the auctioned goods in a cheap-talk collusive agreement, which results in  a  better allocation compared to the auction formats without the communication channel. Combinatorial bidding on packages makes the decision-making problem of bidders hard to process and cause inefficiencies, especially for designs with the large number  of auctioned goods.

Are juvenile delinquents incorrigible? Experimental evidence from detention centers

With Václav Korbel

Abstract: This paper investigates the differences in norm-violating behavior between juvenile delinquents and regular adolescents. We conducted a lab-in-the-field experiment in juvenile detention centers and primary schools to study changes in norm-violation in response to two specific contexts: (i) when participants are exposed to a (un)favorable economic situation and (ii) when social values are made more salient. Our results show generally substantial similarities between problematic and non-problematic adolescents. Even though the juvenile delinquents violate norms slightly more, we found no evidence of ingroup favoritism. Moreover, both groups similarly care about their social image and are not very sensitive to positive cues. Looking at the behavioral characteristics of the delinquents, higher norm-violation is correlated with interpersonal problems but not other misbehaviors. Our findings thus show that juvenile delinquents are not inherently different to non-problematic adolescents and highlight the importance of social values as well as interpersonal problems for successful resocialization.