John R. Hamman
Assistant Professor of Economics
Department of Economics
Florida State University
113 Collegiate Loop
Tallahassee, FL 32306-2180
Office: BEL 262
Home | Curriculum Vitae | Research | Teaching
“An Experimental Investigation of Electoral Delegation and the Provision of Public Goods,” 2011
Abstract. How effectively do democratic institutions provide public goods? Despite the incentives an elected leader has to free ride or impose majority tyranny, our experiment demonstrates that electoral delegation results in full provision of the public good. Analysis of the experimental data suggests that the result is primarily due to electoral selection: groups elect pro-social leaders and replace those who do not implement full contribution outcomes. However, we also observe outcomes in which a minimum winning coalition exploits the contributions of the remaining players. A second experiment demonstrates that when electoral delegation must be endogenously implemented, individuals voluntarily cede authority to an elected agent only when pre-play communication is permitted. Our combined results demonstrate that democratic delegation helps groups overcome the free-rider problem and generally leads to outcomes that are often both efficient and equitable.
“Self-Interest through Delegation: An Additional Rationale for the Principal-Agent Relationship,” 2010
Abstract. Principal-agent relationships are typically assumed to be motivated by efficiency gains from comparative advantage. However, principals may also delegate tasks to avoid taking direct responsibility for selfish or unethical behavior. We report three laboratory experiments in which principals repeatedly either decide how much money to share with a recipient or hire agents to make sharing decisions on their behalf. Across several experimental treatments, recipients receive significantly less, and in many cases close to nothing, when allocation decisions are made by agents.
“Solving Coordination Failure with All-or-None Group Level Incentives,” 2007
Abstract. Coordinating activity among members is an important problem faced by organizations.When firms, or units within firms, are stuck in bad equilibria, managers may turn to the temporary use of simple incentives—flat punishments or rewards—in an attempt to transition the firm or unit to a more efficient equilibrium.We investigate the use of incentives in the context of the “minimum-effort,” or “weak-link,” coordination game.We allow groups to reach the inefficient equilibrium and then implement temporary, flat, “all-or-none” incentives to encourage coordination on more efficient equilibria. We vary whether incentives are positive (rewards) or negative (penalties), whether they have substantial or nominal monetary value, and whether they are targeted to a specific outcome (the efficient equilibrium) or untargeted (apply to more than one outcome). Overall, incentives of all kinds are effective at improving coordination while they are in place, but there is little long-term persistent benefit of incentives—once incentives are removed, groups tend to return to the inefficient outcome. We find some differences between different kinds of incentives. Finally, we contrast our results to other recent work demonstrating greater long-term effectiveness of temporary incentives.
Abstract. Intermediaries facilitate exchanges between buyers and sellers. Intermediation activities are an important part of the formal economy. Anecdotal evidence suggests that intermediaries are ubiquitous in corrupt activities; however, empirical evidence on their role as facilitators of corrupt transactions is scarce. This paper asks whether, besides eliminating uncertainty, intermediaries facilitate corruption by reducing the moral costs of possible bribers and bribees. Indeed, intermediaries might shift the responsibility for initiating the corrupt transaction away from the briber, and might institutionalize corruption. We address our research question using a specifically designed bribery lab experiment that simulates petty corruption transactions between private citizens and public officials. The experimental data confirm that intermediaries lower the moral costs of citizens and o?cials and, thus, increase corruption.Work in Progress:
“Fairness in Market Interactions,”
“Social Preferences and Group Convergence”
Last modified 10/2012