Publications

2018
Cho I, Orazem PF, Rosenblat T. Are Risk Attitudes Fixed Factors or Fleeting Feelings?. Journal of Labor Research [Internet]. 2018;39 :1-23. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We investigate the stability of measured risk attitudes over time, using a 13-year longitudinal sample of individuals in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. We find that an individual's risk aversion changes systematically in response to personal economic circumstances. Risk aversion increases with lengthening spells of employment and time out of labor force, and decreases with lengthening unemployment spells. However, the most important result is that the majority of the variation in risk aversion is due to changes in measured individual tastes over time and not to variation across individuals. These findings that measured risk preferences are endogenous and subject to substantial measurement errors suggest caution in interpreting coefficients in models relying on contemporaneous, one-time measures of risk preferences.
2017
Dillahunt TR, Kameswaran V, Li L, Rosenblat T. Uncovering the Values and Constraints of Real-time Ridesharing for Low-resource Populations, in Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. New York, NY, USA: ACM ; 2017 :2757–2769. Publisher's Version
2016
Mobius M, Rosenblat T. Ethnic Discrimination: Evidence from China. European Economic Review [Internet]. 2016;90 :165-177. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We study the role of ethnicity in experimental labor markets where “employers” determine wages of “workers” who perform a real effort task. This task requires a true skill which we show is not affected by minority status. In some treatments, we provide subtle priming to employers about minority status of workers as commonly depicted on Chinese “Hukou” identification system. We conduct our experiments at two sites located in provinces that differ by their historical shares of ethnic groups in the population. We find that: (1) Han and minority workers are equally productive in both provinces; (2) in the diverse province, there is no difference in the wages between Han and minority workers; (3) in the non-diverse province, minority workers receive 4%-7% lower wages than Han workers.
Article
Mobius M, Rosenblat T. Informal Transfers in Social Networks. In: The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Networks. Oxford University Press ; 2016. pp. 611-629. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Social networks can facilitate informal lending and risk-sharing in situations where for-
mal institutions such as banks and insurance companies do not exist. The social collateral approach provides an analytically tractable framework that can be used to analyze a wide range of informal transfers. Moreover, the approach is easily amenable to empirical analysis.
Chapter (last draft)
Banerjee R, Baul T, Rosenblat T. Social Norms Regarding Bribing in India: An Experimental Analysis. Schmollers Jahrbuch [Internet]. 2016;136 (2) :171–197. Publisher's Version
2015
Replication in Experimental Economics. In: Replication in Experimental Economics. Vol. 18. ; 2015. Publisher's Version
Banerjee R, Baul T, Rosenblat T. On self selection of the corrupt into the public sector. Economic Letters [Internet]. 2015;127 :43-46. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Do corrupt people self select themselves in professions where the scope of corruption is high? We conduct a corruption experiment with private sector job aspirants and aspirants of Indian bureaucracy. The game models embezzlement of resources in which “supervisors” evaluate the performance of “workers” and then pay them. We find that aspirant bureaucrats indulge in more corruption than private sector aspirants but the likelihood of being corrupt is same across two sectors.
2014
Mobius M, Rosenblat T. Social Learning in Economics. Annual Review of Economics [Internet]. 2014;6 (1) :827-847. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Social learning is a rapidly growing field for empirical and theoretical research in economics. We encounter social learning in many economically important phenomena, such as the adoption of new products and technologies or job search in labor markets. We review the existing empirical and theoretical literatures and argue that they have evolved largely independently of each other. This suggests several directions for future research that can help bridge the gap between both literatures. For example, the theory literature has come up with several models of social learning, ranging from na{\"ıve DeGroot models to sophisticated Bayesian models whose assumptions and predictions need to be empirically tested. Alternatively, empiricists have often observed that social learning is more localized than existing theory models assume, and that information can decay along a transmission path. Incorporating these findings into our models might require theorists to look beyond asymptotic convergence in social learning.
2010
Leider S, Mobius M, Rosenblat T, Do Q-A. What Do We Expect From Our Friends?. Journal of European Economic Association [Internet]. 2010;8 (1) :120-138. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We conduct a field experiment in a large real-world social network to examine how subjects expect to be treated by their friends and by strangers who make allocation decisions in modified dictator games. While recipients’ beliefs accurately account for the extent to which friends will choose more generous allocations than strangers (i.e. directed altruism), recipients are not able to anticipate individual differences in the baseline altruism of allocators (measured by giving to an unnamed recipient, which is predictive of generosity towards named recipients). Recipients who are direct friends with the allocator, or even recipients with many common friends, are no more accurate in recognizing intrinsically altruistic allocators. Recipient beliefs are significantly less accurate than the predictions of an econometrician who knows the allocator’s demographic characteristics and social distance, suggesting recipients do not have information on unobservable characteristics of the allocator.
Article NBER Working Paper W13135 Experimental Instructions
2009
Leider S, Mobius M, Rosenblat T, Do Q-A. Directed Altruism and Enforced Reciprocity in Social Network. Quarterly Journal of Economics [Internet]. 2009;124 (1) :1815–1851. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We conduct online field experiments in large real-world social networks in order to decompose prosocial giving into three components: (1) baseline altruism toward randomly selected strangers, (2) directed altruism that favors friends over random strangers, and (3) giving motivated by the prospect of future interaction. Directed altruism increases giving to friends by 52 percent relative to random strangers, while future interaction effects increase giving by an additional 24 percent when giving is socially efficient. This finding suggests that future interaction affects giving through a repeated game mechanism where agents can be rewarded for granting efficiency-enhancing favors. We also find that subjects with higher baseline altruism have friends with higher baseline altruism.
Article NBER Working Paper W13135 Experimental Instructions
Karlan D, Mobius M, Rosenblat T, Szeidl A. Trust and Social Collateral. Quarterly Journal of Economics [Internet]. 2009;124 (3) :1307–1361. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This paper builds a theory of trust based on informal contract enforcement in social networks. In our model, network connections between individuals can be used as social collateral to secure informal borrowing. We de…ne network-based trust as the highest amount one agent can borrow from another agent, and derive a reduced-form expression for this quantity which we then use in three applications. (1) We predict that dense networks generate bonding social capital that allows transacting valuable assets, while loose networks create bridging social capital that improves access to cheap favors like information. (2) For job recommendation networks, we show that strong ties between employers and trusted recommenders reduce asymmetric information about the qualityof job candidates. (3) Using data from Peru, we show empirically that network-based trust predicts informal borrowing, and we structurally estimate and test our model.

Program to visualize/calculate trust flow

Article C program to calculate bilateral trust flow (Windows only)
Badasyan N, Goeree JK, Hartmann M, Holt C, Morgan J, Rosenblat T, Servatka M, Yandell D. Vertical Integration of Successive Monopolists: A Classroom Experiment. Perspectives on Economic Education Research [Internet]. 2009;Spring (5). Publisher's VersionAbstract
This classroom experiment introduces students to the concept of double marginalization, i.e. the exercise of market power at successive vertical layers in a supply chain. By taking on roles of firms, students determine how the mark-ups are set at each successive production stage. They learn that final retail prices tend to be higher than if the firms were vertically integrated. Students compare the welfare implications of two potential solutions to the double marginalization problem: acquisition and franchise fees. The experiment also can stimulate a discussion of two-part tariffs, transfer pricing, contracting, and the Coase theorem. Veconlab website
Article
2008
Rosenblat T. The Beauty Premium: Physical Attractiveness and Gender in Dictator Games. Negotiation Journal [Internet]. 2008;24 (4) :465-481. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Are beautiful people better negotiators? I present evidence from a simple bargaining game where players can listen to pre-recorded “speeches” and see the pictures of other players. I find that physically attractive players receive a greater share of the surplus if the partner can both listen to their speech and view their picture. This effect is strongest when the listening partner is female. These results suggest new directions for experimental and empirical research on the role of non-resume characteristics on labor market outcomes and give new perspectives to practitioners in negotiations involving extreme power imbalance.
Article
2007
Allcott H, Karlan D, Mobius M, Rosenblat T, Szeidl A. Community Size and Network Closure. American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings [Internet]. 2007;97 (2) :80-85. Publisher's Version Article Fast C-Program to calculate average Community Trust Flow (Windows and Unix)
2006
Rosenblat T, Mobius M. Why Beauty Matters. American Economic Review [Internet]. 2006;96 (1) :222-235. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We decompose the beauty premium in an experimental labor market where "employers" determine wages of "workers" who perform a maze-solving task. This task requires a true skill which we show to be una®ected by physical attractiveness. We find a sizable beauty premium and can identify three transmission channels. (1) Physically-attractive workers are more confident and higher confidence increases wages. (2) For a given level of confidence, physically-attractive workers are (wrongly) considered more able by employers. (3) Controlling for worker confidence, physically-attractive workers have oral skills (such as communication and social skills) that raise their wages when they interact with employers. Our methodology can be adapted to study the sources of discriminatory pay differentials in other settings.
Article Experimental Instructions
2005
Isgut A, Ravishanker G, Rosenblat T. Ricardian Explorer. The Basics of International Trade: A Classroom Experiment [Internet]. 2005. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We introduce a simple web-based classroom experiment in which students learn the Ricardian model of international trade. Students are assigned to countries and then make individual production, trade and consumption decisions. The analysis of experimental data introduces students to the concepts of absolute and comparative advantage, relative prices, production possibility frontier, specialization, gains from trade, utility maximization and general equilibrium. Students learn about the relationship between individual decision-making and aggregate economic activity. The associated software, Ricardian Explorer, is easy to setup and requires minimal preparation time for instructors. The game is developed as a tool to complement courses in international trade, but it can be used in introductory and intermediate microeconomics courses as well. The analysis of teaching effectiveness has demonstrated that integration of this experiment in the curriculum enhances student learning.
2004
Rosenblat T, Mobius M. Getting Closer or Drifting Apart. Quarterly Journal of Economics [Internet]. 2004;119 (3) :971-1009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Advances in communication and transportation technologies have the potential to bring people closer together and create a ‘global village’. However, they also allow heterogenous agents to segregate along special interests which gives rise to communities fragmented by type rather than geography. We show that lower communication costs should always decrease separation between individual agents even as group-based separation increases. Each measure of separation is pertinent for distinct types of social interaction. A group-based measure captures the diversity of group preferences that can have an impact on the provision of public goods. An individual measure correlates with the speed of information transmission through the social network that affects, for example, learning about job opportunities and new technologies. We test the model by looking at coauthoring between academic economists before and during the rise of the Internet in the 1990s.

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