Research Description of the Experimental Economics Group

The “Experimental Economics Group“ was founded in October 2017 under the lead of Matthias Sutter. It focuses on using experimental methods – both in the lab and recently mainly in the field – to study a broad variety of questions that are relevant for society. Among others, three areas of research are particularly prominent in our work.

First, the group studies how economic preferences develop in childhood and adolescence. This area includes investigating the factors that determine the economic preferences of young people, and devising interventions to shape behavior in a way that promotes success in life. In addition to investigating the behavior of children and adolescence, we are also studying whole families in order to examine the intergenerational transmission of cognitive and non-cognitive skills.

Second, the group has a strong focus on behavioral development economics by studying, for example, the effects of scarcity on economic decision making in Kenia or how information provision can improve health conditions of families in rural villages of India or Bangladesh. Through Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs), we aim at identifying cost-efficient interventions that promote better health.

Third, the group focuses on how fairness concerns and social norms promote efficient social interactions. Here, the group concentrates on understanding the role of fairness, honesty and other determinants, such as social and self image concerns as a prerequisite for mutually beneficial social interactions. We study these questions both in the laboratory, but also with companies in field experiments.

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