Friday, July 30, 2021

The Art of Experimental Economics: Twenty Top Papers Reviewed , edited by Gary Charness and Mark Pingle

 Here's a forthcoming book that provides a unique and entertaining review of twenty influential papers in experimental economics. Katie Coffman and I wrote the review of the classic 2007 paper on gender and competition by Niederle and Vesterlund.

The Art of Experimental Economics: Twenty Top Papers Reviewed  Edited By Gary Charness, Mark Pingle  Forthcoming by Routledge

Item will ship after August 27, 2021  ISBN 9780367894306

Chapter 1: Introducing 20 Top Papers and their Reviewers  Gary Charness and Mark Pingle

Chapter 2: An Experimental Study of Competitive Market Behavior (by Vernon L. Smith)  Reviewed by Charles A. Holt

Chapter 3: The Strategy Method as an Instrument for the Exploration of Limited Rationality in Oligopoly Game Behavior (by Reinhard Selten)  Reviewed by Claudia Keser and Hartmut Kliemt

Chapter 4: An Experimental Analysis of Ultimatum Bargaining (by Werner Güth, Rolf Schmittberger and Bernd Schwarze)  Reviewed by Brit Grosskopf and Rosemarie Nagel

Chapter 5: The Winner’s Curse and Public Information in Common Value Auctions (by John H. Kagel and Dan Levin)  Reviewed by Gary Charness

Chapter 6: Group Size Effects in Public Goods Provision: The Voluntary Contributions Mechanism (by R. Mark Isaac and James M. Walker)  Reviewed by James Andreoni

Chapter 7:  Rational Expectations and the Aggregation of Diverse Information in Laboratory Security Markets (by Charles R. Plott and Shyam Sunder)    Reviewed by R. Mark Isaac

Chapter 8: Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem (by Daniel Kahneman, Jack L. Knetsch, Richard H. Thaler)   Reviewed by John A. List

Chapter 9: Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh and Tokyo: An Experimental Study (by Alvin E. Roth, Vesna Prasnikar, Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara and Shmuel Zamir) Reviewed by Armin Falk

Chapter 10: Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study (by Rosemarie Nagel)  Reviewed by John H. Kagel and Antonio Penta

Chapter 11: Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History (by Joyce Berg, John Dickhaut, and Kevin McCabe) Reviewed by Vernon L. Smith

Chapter 12: Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments (by Ernst Fehr and Simon Gachter)  Reviewed by Yan Chen

Chapter 13: A Fine is a Price (by Uri Gneezy and Aldo Rustichini)  Reviewed by Alex Imas

Chapter 14: Giving according to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism (by James Andreoni and John Miller)  Reviewed by Catherine Eckel

Chapter 15: Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects (by Charles Holt and Susan Laury)  Reviewed by Kevin McCabe

Chapter 16: Does market experience eliminate market anomalies? (by John A. List) Reviewed by Matthias Sutter

Chapter 17: Promises and Partnership (by Gary Charness and Martin Dufwenberg)  Reviewed by Urs Fischbacher and Franziska Föllmi-Heusi

Chapter 18: The Hidden Costs of Control (by Armin Falk and Michael Kosfeld)  Reviewed by Laura Razzolini and Rachel Croson

Chapter 19: Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much? (by Muriel Niederle and Lise Vesterlund)  Reviewed by Katherine B. Coffman and Alvin E. Roth 

Chapter 20: Group Identity and Social Preferences (by Yan Chen and Sherry X. Li)  Reviewed by Marie Claire Villeval 

Chapter 21: Lies in Disguise—An Experimental Study on Cheating (by Urs Fischbacher and Franziska Föllmi-Heusi)  Reviewed by Uri Gneezy and Marta Serra-Garcia


Here's my Foreword to the book:

 Twenty carefully chosen papers in experimental economics, reviewed and put in context by veteran experimenters, provide an excellent, close-up introduction to the richness and diversity of the field, and where it is coming from. These twenty papers appeared over a period of half a century, from 1962 to 2013, during which economic experiments went from being quite rare to taking their place among the standard tools of economics.

When John Kagel and I edited the Handbook of Experimental Economics, volumes 1 and 2 (1995 and 2016), we encouraged the chapter authors not to try to tell readers how to do good experiments, but to show them. And so it is with these papers: there are lots of ways to do good experiments, and here is a collection of twenty that have been influential. The reviews make clear that a successful, influential experiment is part of a scientific conversation that began well before the experiment was designed and conducted, and continued well after it was published and replicated. These conversations aren’t only among experimenters, nor are they only among economists: experiments add to scientific conversations of all sorts, answering some questions and raising others, often questions that couldn’t even be posed with equal precision in naturally occurring environments.   

Reader, beware. After reading this volume, you will want to read more, and, your curiosity aroused, may find yourself on the slippery slope of designing and conducting your own experiments.

Alvin E. Roth, Stanford University, December 2020.


Kagel, J.H. and A.E. Roth (editors) Handbook of Experimental Economics, Princeton University Press, 1995.

Kagel, J.H. and A.E. Roth (editors) Handbook of Experimental Economics, Volume 2, Princeton University Press, 2016.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Uterus transplants considered in Japan

 Here's the story from the Asahi Shimbun, including some background. For the time being, only living-donor organs seem to be allowed under Japanese law:

Medical group allows for uterus transplants to give birth

"A Japanese Association of Medical Sciences committee released a report on July 14 clearing the way for uterus transplants, a rare procedure that faces obstacles. 


"The biggest issue facing the committee was that the transplant objective would be to allow the woman to give birth.

"That differs greatly from other transplants in which the main objective is to save the recipient’s life. In addition, committee members had to consider allowing a transplant operation that held major health risks for both the donor and recipient.

"According to a report, there have been 85 cases of uterus transplants in 16 nations overseas as of March and 40 have led to the delivery of a baby.

"In many of those cases, an in-vitro fertilized embryo is placed in the transplanted uterus. But the uterus is removed after childbirth because of the need to continue using immunosuppressant agents to prevent the body from rejecting the transplanted organ.

"In Japan, there are an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 women between the ages of 20 and 50 who were born without uteruses or have had their uteruses surgically removed due to tumors or other causes.


"There are also legal hurdles that have to be cleared.

"Japan’s organ transplant law does not include uteruses as an organ that can be removed for transplantation from a brain-dead individual.

"For that reason, the report allowed for transplants from live donors in only a very few cases to conduct clinical research.

"The report also called for revising the organ transplant law to allow for uterus transplants from brain-dead women.

"But even if the law was revised, organ donations from brain-dead individuals are still not widespread in Japan, meaning it would be almost impossible to plan for a uterus transplant operation.

"Experts were divided in their views about the latest report.

"Nobuhiko Suganuma, a professor of reproductive medicine at Nagoya University of Arts and Sciences who heads the Japan Society for Uterus Transplantation, said providing an alternative for women who want to give birth was a positive development.

"But Yukiko Saito, an associate professor of medical ethics at Kitasato University, raised concerns about approving an available technology just because there may be people who want to utilize it."

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Redistribution through markets, in Econometrica, by Dworczak, Kominers, and Akbarpour

 Market designs involving taxes, or rationing, in the latest Econometrica, Vol. 89, No. 4 (July, 2021), 1665–1698:


Abstract: "Policymakers frequently use price regulations as a response to inequality in the markets they control. In this paper, we examine the optimal structure of such policies from the perspective of mechanism design. We study a buyer-seller market in which agents have private information about both their valuations for an indivisible object and their marginal utilities for money. The planner seeks a mechanism that maximizes agents’ total utilities, subject to incentive and market-clearing constraints. We uncover the constrained Pareto frontier by identifying the optimal trade-off between allocative efficiency and redistribution. We find that competitive-equilibrium allocation is not always optimal. Instead, when there is inequality across sides of the market, the optimal design uses a tax-like mechanism, introducing a wedge between the buyer and seller prices, and redistributing the resulting surplus to the poorer side of the market via lump-sum payments. When there is significant same-side inequality that can be uncovered by market behavior, it may be optimal to impose price controls even though doing so induces rationing."


" the classic idea that competitive-equilibrium pricing maximizes welfare relies on an implicit assumption that the designer places the same welfare weight on all agents in the market. Thus, the standard economic intuitions in support of competitive equilibrium pricing become unreliable as the dispersion of wealth in a society expands."

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Emergency decision making and medical ethics for breakfast

 Saturday morning breakfast cereal (SMBC) has hidden a message for us here:

Monday, July 26, 2021

Does legal marijuana lead to the use of more dangerous drugs, or increase crime?

 It appears that the short answer is "No," according to this recent NBER working paper

Is Recreational Marijuana a Gateway to Harder Drug Use and Crime?  by Joseph J. Sabia, Dhaval M. Dave, Fawaz Alotaibi & Daniel I. Rees

WORKING PAPER 29038, DOI 10.3386/w29038,  July 2021

Recreational marijuana laws (RMLs), which legalize the possession of small quantities of marijuana for recreational use, have been adopted by 18 states and the District of Columbia. Opponents argue that RML-induced increases in marijuana consumption will serve as a “gateway” to harder drug use and crime. Using data covering the period 2000-2019 from a variety of national sources (the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, the Uniform Crime Reports, the National Vital Statistics System, and the Treatment Episode Data Set) this study is the first to comprehensively examine the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana on hard drug use, arrests, drug overdose deaths, suicides, and treatment admissions. Our analyses show that RMLs increase adult marijuana use and reduce drug-related arrests over an average post-legalization window of three to four years. There is little evidence to suggest that RML-induced increases in marijuana consumption encourage the use of harder substances or violent criminal activity.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

U.S, drug overdose deaths at 93,000 in 2020

Fentanyl infused opioids are epidemic on the street. Here's the story from the Washington Post:

Drug overdose deaths soared to a record 93,000 last year By Lenny Bernstein  and Joel Achenbach

 The death toll jumped by more than 21,000, or nearly 30 percent, from 2019, according to provisional data released by the National Center for Health Statistics, eclipsing the record set that year.


"The estimated number of overdose deaths reached 93,331 in 2020, according to the new data. Annual final numbers usually differ little from the provisional figures released Wednesday. More than 900,000 people have died of overdoses since the U.S. drug epidemic began about 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Center for Health Statistics is part of the CDC.

"Opioids, primarily illegal fentanyl, continued to drive the death toll, as they have for years. Overdose deaths involving opioids reached 69,710 in 2020, up from 50,963 in 2019, according to the data. Deaths from methamphetamine and cocaine also rose.Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in an interview that fentanyl has so thoroughly infiltrated the illegal drug supply that 70 percent of cocaine overdose deaths and 50 percent of methamphetamine overdose deaths also involved fentanyl."

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Marketplace for supplies to produce vaccines: COVAX

 Scott Kominers sends me the following link, of a marketplace intended to notify vaccine makers of supplies that may be available:

The COVAX Marketplace

"The COVAX Marketplace aims to accelerate the global production of COVID-19 vaccine doses for COVAX by matching existing suppliers of critical inputs with vaccine manufacturers who urgently need them to produce vaccines for fair and equitable distribution through COVAX


"The COVAX Marketplace is a key deliverable of the COVAX Manufacturing Task Force. It aims to respond quickly to immediate market needs and bottlenecks and improve the free flow of critical COVID-19 vaccine supplies by:

Providing suppliers with a platform to allocate and reallocate unused materials.

– Mobilising idle stock from vaccines and candidates that fail prior to gaining regulatory approval – as well as from those that might scale down their production in the future.

– Mobilising potential surplus stock from manufacturers with non-vaccine activities.


"The initial version of the Marketplace will include COVAX vaccine manufacturers and suppliers of the key materials that have been identified as being most urgently needed.

"Participants in the COVAX Marketplace will be able to offer and request any materials required for vaccine production through the Marketplace, but it will initially focus on six categories of supplies that have been identified as critical: bioreactor bags, single use assemblies, cell culture media, filters, lipids, vials, and stoppers.


"Matches negotiate and conclude the transaction between themselves, independently of the Marketplace. Pairs notify CEPI on successful closure."


Other posts on supply chains.