• Information Acquisition, Diffusion and Disclosure in Markets

    Funding agency: FWF

    Project number: I 3487

    Amount: Euro 342'349,89

    Project duration: 2018 - 2021

    Project team: Janssen, Maarten (Project Lead); Mauring, Eeva (Co-Lead); Garcia, Daniel (Co-Lead)


    Short description:

    Whether or not markets perform well in coordinating demand and supply depends to a large extent on the information agents possess. Often consumers need to acquire information about product characteristics and prices to be able to carefully compare the product offerings of different firms. Market power of firms depends on the information consumers have. If consumers are not informed about alternative prices, market power arises naturally as a consequence of the lack of information. On the other hand, firms may have incentives to reveal some of their private information. Information disclosure by firms may take the form of self-advertising, information provided by third party intermediaries or rating agencies. An important question in this regard is whether the information that firms directly or indirectly provide is verifiable or not. In the latter case, firms may lie about the information they provide and consumers must decide whether to trust the information or not. If information is non-verifiable, firms may not have an incentive to disclose information in the first place as the content may not be trusted by consumers.

    Acquisition, disclosure and diffusion of information are clearly related. When few people acquire information, little information can be diffused, while if information is disclosed and disseminated efficiently, people may not have the incentive to incur a cost to acquire more information themselves.

    This project brings together researchers at the economics department at the University of Vienna and researchers at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow). They will work on different subprojects where the relationship between information acquisition, disclosure and diffusion is explored.  The project envisages to organize one workshop in Moscow and an international conference in Vienna.

  • Supranational climate-policy delegation

    Funding agency: FWF

    Project number: P30852

    Amount: Euro 210'010,50

    Project duration: 2018 - 2021

    Project team: Pichler, Paul (Project Lead)


    Short description:

    International agreements to fight global warming in the past often had limited success or failed altogether, such as the Copenhagen Summit in 2009. Against this background, there have been recurrent proposals by academic researchers, policy advisors, and political commentators to create a supranational climate protection authority with the explicit mandate to fight global warming, and to delegate decision power over certain climate-relevant policies once and for all to this authority. Their argument is that an independent authority can implement necessary but painful climate-policy reforms much better than elected politicians, who are often driven by myopic re-election concerns. The aim of the proposed project is to better understand whether this argument in favor of a supranational environmental authority is indeed valid. We plan to carefully study if and when it may be economically beneficial for countries to delegate climate-relevant policies, and how such delegation would affect international climate policies. We plan to address these and other related questions within a theoretical economic model of climate policy, designed to capture the key trade-off between the economic benefits of energy consumption, investment into clean technologies for energy production, and environmental pollution costs. The proposed project is the first to develop a theoretical model of supranational climate-policy delegation and ask whether an independent supranational environmental authority could alleviate the pressing problem of global warming. It thereby contributes to an important discussion on the design of socio-economic institutions to guarantee sustainability of economic policies for the years to come.

  • Understanding Consumer Search

    Funding agency: FWF

    Project number: P 30922

    Amount: Euro 271'650,24

    Project duration: 2017 - 2020

    Project team: Schmidt-Dengler, Philipp (Project Leader); Garcia, Daniel (Co-Leader)


    Short description:

    In most retail markets, consumers have to spend time and other resources in order to gather information about prices and other product characteristics. The process through which this information is gathered, referred to as the search protocol, has important implications for demand estimation and market structure. In this project we aim to introduce a new test that allows us to identify the protocol consumers use in the presence of learning and implement it using real-world web browsing data and online field experiment specifically designed for this question.

  • Temporary Migration, Integration and the Role of Policies

    Funding agency: NORFACE (EU)

    Amount: Euro 156,000 (University of Vienna Part)

    Project duration: Nov 2009 - Jan 2014

    Contact persons:
    Dr. Karin Mayr, PD
    Mag. Nora Prean
    Mag. Oliver Reiter

    Other teamleaders:
    Prof. Giovanni Facchini, University of Nottingham
    Prof. Pieter Bevelander, Malmö University
    Prof. Herbert Brücker, Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg
    Prof. Stephen Drinkwater, Swansea University
    Prof. Michael Landesmann, Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies
    Ass.Prof. Gaia Narciso, Trinity College Dublin
    Prof. Panu Poutvaara, University of Munich
    Prof. Jan Rose Skaksen, Copenhagen Business School
    Prof. Thomas Straubhaar, Hamburg Institute of International Economics
    Prof. Jan van Ours, Tilberg University

    Short description:
    As transportation and communication costs decline and the income gap between sending and receiving countries remains large, migration pressure in Europe is likely to increase in the near future, and temporary and return migration will become an even more widespread phenomenon. The TEMPO research project will extend the frontier of knowledge on this important issue along several directions. First of all, using an array of existing and new datasets, it will look at the causes and consequences of temporary migration, considering both the perspective of the source and the destination country. Second, it will study the patterns of integration of economic and non-economic migrants, and how they relate to the time dimension of the migration decision. Particular attention will be paid to the role played by the diffusion of information within immigrant networks. Finally, the project will look at the process through which policies towards temporary and return migration are formed, and analyze their welfare effects both on the destination and the source countries.

  • Experimental Investigations of Labor Markets

    Period: September 2008 - February 2015

    Funding agency: Austrian Science Fund (project number FWF S10307)

    Amount: Euro 350'000

    Institution: VCEE & Department of Economics

    Investigators: Rupert Sausgruber (WU Vienna) and Jean-Robert Tyran

    Short description:

    The project integrates recent findings in behavioral economics into traditional labor economics. We explore questions regarding labor supply and the provision of effort, including the analysis of incentive effects of taxation and redistribution on effort and the cognitive perception of the incentive effects. In addition, we make contributions to study cooperation in self-governed environments, the political acceptance of reform, and aspects of discrimination in the labor market. We have initiated research to explore behavior in markets with asymmetric information, the measurement and determinants of motivation at work, gender sorting, and the effect of solidarity on social mobility. We have conducted conventional lab experiments with student subjects, large-scale internet experiments with participants form the general population, and have conducted natural field experiments.

    More information here

  • International Trade, Resource Abundance, Development and Production Structures

    Period: 31.07.2011-30.08.2014
    Project team: Alejandro Cunat
    Amount: Euro 195.284,25


    Dieses Forschungsprojekt analysiert die unterschiedlichen Kanäle durch die internationaler Handel und Ressourcenreichtum Entwicklungs- sowie Industrialisierungspfade von Ländern beeinflussen. Insbesondere planen wir die folgenden Themengebiete zu behandeln: Thema 1: Die relative Wichtigkeit von komparativen Vorteilen und der "proximity to the core of world demand" bei der Festlegung von Industrialisierungspfaden. Wir analysieren die Rolle von internationalem Handel und der geographischen Position bei der Bestimmung von Produktionsstrukturen unterschiedlicher Länder. Zu diesem Zweck entwickeln wir ein "many-country" Modell, welches Nicht-Homothetizität, Transportkosten, komparative Vorteile und Besonderheiten der "New Trade Theory" berücksichtigt. Dieses Modell erlaubt uns, die Effekte von Nachfrage, Spezialisierung und Distanz in ihrer Interaktion bei der Bestimmung der GleichgewichtsProduktionsstrukturen unterschiedlicher Ländern zu analysieren. Thema 2: Die Rolle internationalen Handels bei der Bestimmung von Spezialisierungsmustern sowie Spezialisierungsgraden. Viele verschiedene Maße von sektoraler Konzentration angewandt auf viele unterschiedliche Datenquellen kommen zu dem Ergebnis, dass Länder mit mittlerem Einkommen diversifiziertere Produktionsstrukturen aufweisen, als solche mit geringem oder hohem Einkommen. Wir bieten hierfür eine handelsbasierte Erklärung: Länder, die Kapital im Überfluss besitzen (d.h. Länder mit hohem Einkommen) sowie Länder, die Arbeit im Überfluss besitzen (d.h. Länder mit niedrigem Einkommen) haben, ceteris paribus, sehr wahrscheinlich symmetrische Verteilungen sektoraler Beschäftigungslevels (mit hohen Anteilen im kapital- bzw. arbeitsintensivem Sektor). Sind extrem kapital- oder arbeitsintensive Industrien weniger häufig, werden sich Länder mit mittlerem Einkommen auf ein umfangreicheres Angebot an Gütern spezialisieren als Länder mit hohem oder geringem Einkommen. Thema 3: Die Effekte von Faktorakkumulation auf die Verteilung von Produktionsfaktoren auf unterschiedliche ökonomische Sektoren. Das Ziel dieses Projektes ist es, einen analytischen Rahmen zu entwickeln, der es erlaubt Änderungen der sektoralen Verteilungsstrukturen von Produktionsfaktoren zu messen, und diesen anzuwenden. Zu diesem Zweck teilen wir den Beitrag aggregierter Kapitalakkumulation pro Arbeiter zu der Wachstumsrate des BIP pro Arbeiter in zwei Teile auf. Der erste Teil stellt das Ausmaß dar, in dem Produktionsfaktoren zwischen Sektoren mit unterschiedlichen Kapital-Arbeitsintensitäten verschoben werden. Der zweite Teil misst in welchem Ausmaß sich die Kapital-Arbeitsintensitäten ändern. Wir werden die Vorhersagen verschiedener Wachstumsmodelle mit den Daten vergleichen. Thema 4: Der Einfluss natürlicher Ressourcen auf die institutionelle und damit ökonomische Entwicklung eines Landes. Sowohl Ökonomen als auch Politikwissenschaftler haben in den letzen Jahren viele empirische Belege für den sogenannten "Fluch der natürlichen Ressourcen" bereitgestellt. Diese Hypothese besagt, dass ein Überfluss an natürlichen Ressourcen zu (a) niedrigeren Wachstumsraten, (b) einem erhöhten Bürgerkriegsrisiko und (c) niedrigerer Qualität der Institutionen eines Landes führt. Wir planen die bisherigen empirischen Belege des Ressourcenfluchs neu zu hinterfragen, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Messung von Ressourcenreichtum und der Qualität der Institutionen. Außerdem werden wir uns dem Thema und der Lösung von Endogenität in diesem Kontext widmen - einem immer wieder stark kritisierten Problem der einschlägigen Literatur.

  • The Evolution of Norms and Conventions in Economics

    Institution: University of Vienna

    Funding agency: WWTF (Vienna Science and Technology Fund)

    Amount: 450.000 euro

    Project duration: 2009 - 2015

    Contact persons Maarten Janssen

    Other teamleaders: Simon Weidenholzer and Josef Hofbauer

    Short description:
    Evolutionary game theory has developed into a major field of research at the interplay of mathematics, economics and biology. One of the main general aims of the analysis of evolutionary game theory is to study the conditions under which a population of players settles over time on a stable behavioural pattern. Economists have been interested in these developments in order to better understand (i) how social norms
    and conventions emerge, (ii) how these norms and conventions influence indiviudal economic behaviour and (iii) the conditionsunder which these norms and conventions are stable over time. the present research project aims to contribute to this general field of inquiry by studying four subprojects, namely on (a) Social norms and economic incentives, (b) Work ethics and minimum effort games, (c) Selecting with whom to play and (d) Evolutionary equilibrium selection techniques.

  • Experimental Markets with Search Frictions and Network Externalities

    Institution: VCEE

    Funding agency: Norwegian Research Council (no. 212996/F10)

    Amount: Eur 70'000

    Project duration: Jan. 2012 - Dec. 2015

    Austrian Project team: J.-R. Tyran

    Other teamleaders: Espen Moen

    Short description:

    We study two types of market institutions experimentally: Markets with search costs, and markets with network externalities. In markets with search costs the standard model provides fairly clear predictions about behavior. However, questions of bargaining power - and thus small group strategic interaction - are integral to search theories. A large body of experimental research shows large deviations from the equilibria of standard bargaining models. In markets with network externalities, the standard model offers less clear cut predictions. The ambiguity largely results from the absence of an accepted theory of equilibrium selection, and the fact that multiple equilibria are integral to markets with network externalities. In terms of lab behavior, markets with search costs and markets with network externalities fall between the optimism of anonymous, decentralized market behavior, and the pessimism of small group strategic interaction. It makes these markets both demanding and interesting to study.

  • Understanding Combinatorial Clock Auctions

    Funding agency: Oesterreiches Nationalbank Jubiläumfonds

    Project number: 15994

    Amount: Euro 100'000

    Project duration: 2014 - 2017

    Project team: Maarten Janssen, Bernhard Kasberger

    Short description:
    Combinatorial Clock Auctions (CCAs) have recently been used around the world to allocate spectrum for mobile telecom licenses. The optimal bidding behaviour in CCAs has, however, only been (partially) analyzed in a simple context where bidders only care about the package they themselves win and in what they have to pay for it.

    Over the last year several papers have emerged that point at several weaknesses of CCAs. In this research project, we want to better understand the weaknesses of the design, the potential damaging outcomes the auction may lead to and how the auction design can be adapted to accommodate these weaknesses. In particular, we would like to consider the implications of incentives to raise rivals' cost, bidding under a budget constraint and valuations depending on auction outcomes. The project will use game theoretic analyses and simulation techniques.

  • Representative Democracy: Theory and Experiments

    VCEE, Wiener Zentrum für Experimentelle Wirtschaftsforschung

    Funding Agency:
    Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG

    Project Number: WA3559/1-1

    Project duration:
    Sep. 2014 - Aug. 2017

    Project team:
    Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jean-Robert Tyran
    Alexander K. Wagner, PhD

    Short description:

    This proposal incorporates insights from psychology into economic reasoning to better understand political processes and outcomes in representative democracy. In terms of academic disciplines, the proposal is located at the crossroads of economics, psychology and political science, and in terms of method it is grounded in both theory and experiment. Economic reasoning will be used to investigate how rational and self-interested politicians change their behaviour when voters are forgetful, inattentive and have limited foresight. This approach starts from the well-defined benchmark of rational choice theory and adds psychological realism to how voters are modelled. The theoretical investigation is expected to yield clear and testable predictions. These predictions are tested in a controlled laboratory setting. The general aim is to provide an empirically grounded model of the political process and to inform us when we need to be careful in advancing conclusions from rationalistic models.


    Dieses Projekt integriert Erkenntnisse aus der Psychologie in den ökonomischen Erklärungsansatz, um politische Prozesse und deren Auswirkungen auf die repräsentative Demokratie besser zu verstehen. Der Antrag kombiniert Elemente der Ökonomik, der Psychologie und der Politikwissenschaften und ist daher thematisch interdisziplinär. Methodisch basiert er auf einem sowohl theoretischen als auch experimentellen Forschungsansatz. Der theoretische Teil untersucht, wie opportunistische, d.h. rationale und auf ihren eigenen Nutzen bedachte Politiker ihr Verhalten ändern, wenn Wähler vergesslich, unaufmerksam oder nur beschränkt vorausschauend sind. Ausgangspunkt ist dabei die Theorie der rationalen Entscheidungen, und die entsprechenden Modelle werden durch psychologisch realistische Annahmen des Wählerverhaltens erweitert. Diese Analyse soll klare und überprüfbare Verhaltenshypothesen liefern, die unter kontrollierten Laborbedingungen experimentell getestet werden können.Das allgemeine Ziel des Antrags ist es, ein empirisch fundiertes Modell des politischen Prozesses zu entwickeln. Dieses Modell soll erklären, unter welchen Bedingungen opportunistische Entscheidungsträger ineffiziente (z.B. populistische) Politiken implementieren. Die daraus resultierenden Erkenntnisse sind nicht nur unter wissenschaftlichen, sondern auch aus anwendungsorientierten Gesichtspunkten wertvoll. Sie sind wissenschaftlich wichtig, weil sie Aufschlüsse zur Robustheit von Modellen mit strikt rationalen Akteuren liefern und uns warnen, wann aus solchen Modellen abgeleitete Empfehlungen mit Vorbehalten zu versehen sind. Aus einer praktischen Perspektive heraus können Einsichten aus diesem Projekt zum Diskurs über die Gestaltung robuster politischer Institutionen beitragen. Solche Institutionen wollen beschränkt rationale Bürger unterstützen bessere Entscheidungen zu treffen und ineffiziente politische Entscheidungen weniger wahrscheinlich machen.

  • Essays on Consumer Search

    Funding agency: ÖAW

    Amount: 70.000 Euro

    Project duration: 2016 - 2018

    Univ.-Prof. Dr. Maarten Janssen

    Short description:

    The consumer search literature in economics has made important steps in relaxing the informational assumptions of traditional economics, However, the literature still endows firms and consumers with a perfect understanding of the game they are in. They know all the parameters of the model: the number of _firms in the industry, their costs, the structure of the informational heterogeneity among consumers, etc. Some recent literature developed a more sophisticated approach towards informational frictions in that consumers are unaware of some parameters of the model (for example, _firms' costs) The research we aim to perform In the research project "Information and consumer search" extends consumer search theory by considerably adapting the informational assumptions made.

  • Information and Consumer Research

    Funding agency: FWF

    Project number: P 27995

    Amount: Euro 90'000

    Project duration: 2015 - 2017

    Univ.-Prof. Dr. Maarten Janssen

    Anton Sobolev (PhD Student)

    Short description:

    The consumer search literature in economics has made important steps in relaxing the informational assumptions of traditional economics, However, the literature still endows firms and consumers with a perfect understanding of the game they are in. They know all the parameters of the model: the number of _firms in the industry, their costs, the structure of the informational heterogeneity among consumers, etc. Some recent literature developed a more sophisticated approach towards informational frictions in that consumers are unaware of some parameters of the model (for example, _firms' costs) The research we aim to perform In the research project "Information and consumer search" extends consumer search theory by considerably adapting the informational assumptions made.

  • FIW Cooperation Project

    Institution: Forschungsschwerpunkt Internationale Wirtschaft

    Funding agency: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft, Familie und Jugend

    Amount: €1,253,694

    Project duration: 2013 - 2018

    Contact person: Alejandro Cunat

    Austrian Project team: Johannes Kepler Universität, Universität Wien, WIIW, WIFO, Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien

    Other teamleaders: Prof. Harald Badinger (WU), Prof. Fritz Breuss (FIW), Prof. Michael Landesmann (Linz)

    Short description:

    Research-related and graduate-teaching activities in the area of International Economics.

  • Fairness, personal responsibility, and the welfare state

    Funding agency: NORFACE (EU)

    Project number 462-14-033

    Amount: Euro 250'000 (Austrian Part)

    Project duration: Jan. 2015 - Dec.2018

    Austrian Project team:
    Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jean-Robert Tyran
    Dr. Axel Sonntag
    Dr. Peter Bednarik

    Other teamleaders:
    Norway: Alexander Cappelen (NHH Bergen), Stein Kuhnle (U Bergen), Sigrid Suetens (U Tilburg)

    Short description:

    The aim of the research project "Fairness, personal responsibility and the welfare state" is to analyze how fairness considerations, in particular with respect to personal responsibility, affect the support and effectiveness of welfare policies. The European welfare states are faced with important challenges, in particular related to financial strains on the welfare system, changing migration flows and increasing inequality. Partly as a response to these challenges, there is an increasing focus on personal responsibility. The proposed research project provides new knowledge about how the welfare states can meet these challenges and how concerns for personal responsibility can be integrated in the design of welfare schemes in a way that is perceived as fair.

    Four research teams from Norway, the Netherlands, and Austria, will take a cross-disciplinary perspective on fairness and use an innovative combination of methods, including administrative register data, surveys, as well as field and laboratory experiments.

    This project is part of a major transnational research programme on the topic of Welfare State Futures. This highly topical programme makes use of a variety of approaches, enables and encourages multi-disciplinarity and offers a fruitful basis for developing of a European perspective on the futures of the welfare state.