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Special Zoom lecture series: Recent topics in experimental political economy

The Center for Positive/Empirical Analysis of Political Economy and the Center for Experimental Financial Market (CEFM) will offer a special Zoom lecture series of experimental economics for graduate students and undergraduates by Dr. Kenju Kamei. Please input your information at the following application form link. Note that there is no credit. The lecture will be given in English.

Application Form (Deadline 18 Oct.)

5 lectures every Wednesday 13:00-14:30 starting from 21 Oct.


Recent topics in experimental political economy

Instructor: Dr. Kenju Kamei
Associate Professor and EMBR Director at Durham University

Experimental economics is a tool to collect observations of human decisions under controlled conditions to test a hypothesis. Among others, in the last few decades a large body of experiments were used to study people’s cooperation behaviors in modern societies. Through five lectures, this seminar aims to provide recent experimental research into cooperation to post-graduate students. I will also touch on some recent experimental methodologies in designing experiments.

We will learn the following three key experimental topics into cooperation. We may study additional topics when time permits Topics covered in the seminar:

Topic 1: Peer to peer punishment (Lecture 1)

In the first lecture, we will study some stylized evidence from previous numerous public goods experiments on cooperation. We will then study how peer to peer or informal punishment improves cooperation in social dilemma. Our particular focus is the role of higher order punishment in sustaining cooperation. We will also learn uninvolved third party’s norm enforcement behavior. Related to this, we will additionally study a possible group size paradox for the case of third party punishment. 

Topic 2: Endogenous monitoring and cooperation (Lectures 2 and 3)

A decentralized mechanism alternative to informal punishment to improve cooperation is through endogenous monitoring of peers’ behaviors and/or the potential with whom one deals. We will study two forms of endogenous monitoring and its impact of information in the experimental literature, and the effectiveness of endogenous partner selection as follows:

Lecture 2: Gossiping

Endogenous monitoring required reputational information. One form of information transmission is costly reporting or gossiping. However, gossiping is not cost-free since it requires, for example, time. Who engage in costly gossiping? What is the impact of gossiped information? We will attempt to answer this question based on recent experimental work in one-shot interactions and in indefinitely repeated interactions. 

Lecture 3: Voluntary information disclosure and partner choice

Another way to create reputational information is to disclose their past behaviors or identity to distinguish themselves from others. We will study the impact of voluntary information disclosure. 

We will also study the role of partner choices in improving cooperation. The availability of reputational information enables agent to choose with whom one deals, which leads to competition for trustworthy partners) and disciplines people’s cooperation behaviors. Are their reputation building behavior different when their reputation slate can be wiped clean? We will also study the so-called “repeated supergame design” in the experiment. 

Topic 3: Changing incentives by institutional formation (Lectures 4 and 5)

The mechanism other than the decentralized ones listed in Topics 1 and 2 is to change the game structure by letting members select institutions prevailed in their group. We will study two key topics in this area as follows:

Lecture 4: Impact of Voting

Rules to induce pro-social behavior are known to have a stronger effect when implemented democratically than when imposed from above. We will study the so-called the democracy premium in the experimental literature. 

Lecture 5: Endogenous institutional choices

Any cooperation problem could be resolved if incentives are altered so that private interests are aligned with public interests. But, given an option to vote, how do people collectively select rules? Are their behaviors consistent with what standard game theory predict? We will study recent advancement in endogenous institutional formation.

Note: These topics are preliminary and subject to change.

The office number of Dr. Kamei: room 1111 (11 F in the Building 3) Please contact me at kenju.kamei[at] if you would like to discuss any of your research project either online or in my office. I am more than happy to discuss your project.


Time&Date: Every Wednesday 13:00-14:30 starting from 21 Oct.(5 lectures)

Eligible participants: Graduate students

Language: English

Registration: Fill out the application form from the link below by Oct. 18 (free).

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Fri, 18 Sep 2020

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