Cooperation and Trust

I am interested in the foundations of human cooperation and trust. I investigate experimentally how reputation moderates trustworthiness (Eyes are on us; Disrupting the prefrontal cortex), how ex-ante Long-Term Commitment can signal trustworthiness, whether the passing of time decreases trustworthiness (The Persistent Power of Promises), and how, in organizational settings, growth and the degree of centralization can influence cooperation and efficiency (Growing Groups; The Unrealized Value of Centralization).

Labor Markets, Discrimination

My second core interest relates the above studies to labor economics. In field experiments, I explore how job changes can signal trustworthiness and work attitude (Job History), how Social Comparison can decrease work productivity, how ethnicity and status markers are used to discriminate (Discrimination in the Housing Market; Status and Discrimination), and how ethnic minorities internalize job market stereotypes (Self-Discrimination in Jobseeker Behavior).

Financial Markets, Mental Types, Industrial Organization

Another strain of my research concerns the classification of mental types in financial markets. I investigate whether analytical skills and mentalizing skills interact to produce complex asset trading behavior (Mental Capabilities), whether this two-dimensional skills model can explain behavior in other domains (Cognitive Skills and Mentalizing in Chess Players), and how “skill-less” trading styles can destabilize asset markets (Index Funds). Finally, I explore the dark side of cooperation – collusion – in experiments on industrial organization (Endogenous Mergers; Common Ownership and Collusion).


Current Projects

  • Common Ownership and Collusion (with F. Ederer and M. Schmalz)
  • Trust and Promises in an Uncertain World (with F. Ederer, K. Khalmetski, and F. Kölle)
  • Delegation to Humans and AI in Financial Decision Making (with J. Schmitz and S. Zeisberger)
  • Self-Discrimination in Jobseeker Behaviour (with A. John)
  • Animus Masked as Statistical Discrimination (with R. Dessi)
  • Flexible Commitment in Repeated Games (with J. Block)