Welcome!


I am a Senior Research Fellow (Postdoc) at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods (Experimental Economics Group).

My research interests lie in the field of behavioral and experimental economics, where I particularly focus on norms, image concerns and development of economic preferences.

I hold a PhD from the Bonn Graduate School of Economics (BGSE) at the University of Bonn.

Please find my CV here.

Contact: basic[at]coll.mpg.de

Research

Publications

The Development of Egalitarian Norm Enforcement in Childhood and Adolescence (with Armin Falk and Fabian Kosse), Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2020, 179, 667-680.
[Working paper version]


Working Papers

Personal Norms And Not Only Social Norms Shape Economic Behavior
(with Eugenio Verrina)

Abstract: We propose a simple utility framework and design a novel two-part experiment to study the relevance of personal norms across various economic games and settings. We show that personal norms — together with social norms and monetary payoff — are highly predictive of individuals’ behavior. Moreover, they are: i) distinct from social norms across a series of economic contexts, ii) robust to an exogenous increase in the salience of social norms, and iii) complementary to social norms in predicting behavior. Our findings support personal norms as a key driver of economic behavior.

The Influence of Self and Social Image Concerns on Lying
(with Simone Quercia; revision requested at Games and Economic Behavior)

Abstract: We investigate the influence of self and social image concerns as potential sources of lying costs. In a standard die-rolling experiment, we exogenously manipulate self-awareness and observability, which mediate the focus of a person on their private and public selves, respectively. First, we show that an increase in self-awareness has no effect on reporting private information. This suggests that self-image concerns may be less important than previously hypothesized in the literature on lying costs. Second, we show that increasing subjects' observability, while still maintaining private information, significantly decreases the subjects' reports. We finally show in a survey experiment that respondents believe that the likelihood of a lie increases with the reported outcome and attribute negative traits to people who make high reports. This further supports reputational concerns as the explanation behind the results of our social image treatment.

The Roots of Cooperation
(with
Parampreet C. Bindra, Daniela Glätzle-Rützler, Angelo Romano, Matthias Sutter and Claudia Zoller)

Abstract: Understanding the roots of human cooperation among strangers is of great importance for solving pressing social dilemmas and maintening public goods in human societies. We study the development of cooperation in 929 young children, aged 3 to 6. In a unified experimental framework, we examine which of three fundamental pillars of human cooperation – direct and indirect reciprocity as well as third-party punishment – emerges earliest as an effective means to increase cooperation in a repeated prisoner’s dilemma game. We find that third-party punishment exhibits a strikingly positive effect on cooperation rates by doubling them in comparison to a control condition. It promotes cooperative behavior even before punishment of defectors is applied. Children also engage in reciprocating others, showing that reciprocity strategies are already prevalent at a very young age. However, direct and indirect reciprocity treatments do not increase overall cooperation rates, as young children fail to anticipate the benefits of reputation building. We also show that the cognitive skills of children and the socioeconomic background of parents play a vital role in the early development of human cooperation.

Selected Work in Progress

Self-image, Social Image and Prosocial Behavior
(with Armin Falk and Simone Quercia)

Short summary: We design symmetric maniplatutions of self and social image concerns and investigate their effect on prosocial behavior in a dictator game (n = 531). To do so, we exogenously increase self-awareness and observability, directing a person's focus on their private and public selves, respectively. We report causal evidence that both self and social image concerns are drivers of prosocial behavior.

Altruistic Punishment Promotes Cooperation in Kindergarten Children
(with Parampreet C. Bindra, Daniela Glätzle-Rützler, Angelo Romano, Matthias Sutter and Claudia Zoller)

Short summary: Altruistic punishment is considered a key supporting mechanism in increasing cooperation with unrelated strangers, yet the developmental origins of this effect are unknown. Here, we study how altrustic punishment affects cooperative behavior of kindergarten children, and we show that it successfully promotes cooperation.

The Influence of Self and Social Image Concerns in Childhood and Adolescence
(with Armin Falk and Simone Quercia)

Short summary: We study how self and social image concerns influence prosocial behavior in childhood and adolescence. To do so, we conduct a dictator game game with 7-14 year-old subjects (n = 494), where we exogenously increase self-awareness and observability, directing the children's focus on their private and public selves, respectively.