The Theory of Extensive Form Games

Book_CAF_KRAfter around 15 years of work and nine published papers on the topic, Klaus Ritzberger and myself made the effort (and an effort it was!) to organize our research on extensive form games and very specially their mathematical foundations. The result is a book, of course called The Theory of Extensive Form Games, published by Springer Verlag as part of the official series of the Game Theory Society, which was presented at the recent World Conference in Maastricht. Continue reading

Student Overconfidence and the ECTS system

A few weeks ago I received an apology from a student who had registered for one of my exams. The student had not followed the course but decided to try anyway. The total time he allocated to the course? One week. Of course, he (it is almost always a “he” in these cases) found that he had been massively overconfident and that it was not possible to make up for a whole semester of missed lectures, exercises, and self-study in a week. At least, he realized it afterwards and apologized. Which was a nice gesture. Not many students are polite enough to do so. Continue reading

Self-Control Forum enters second year

The Forum on Motivation, Self-Control, and Economic Behavior enters its second (and last) year. The first year of activities was closed with the First Symposium on December 9-10, with guest speakers Georg Kirchsteiger (Université Libre de Bruxelles), David Laibson (Harvard University), Avner Offer (Oxford University), and Brandon Schmeichel (Texas A&M University). The symposium, which took place in the University’s Seminar Building, was a great success and attracted a large, interdisciplinary audience.

The new year will be full of activities. After the Saturnalia break, the (ir)regular research seminar re-started in January with a talk by Anthony Evans from Tilburg University. In addition to the research seminar, two further Symposia are planned for 2016. The date for the first of those is already fixed (May 18-19), and the last one will be in the first half of October.

Empirical Evidence: Attendance Improves Grades

The current university law in North-Rhine-Westfalia explicitly states that attending lectures, seminars, etc, is not compulsory (as previously commented here). The logic is simple: University students are adults (or should be) and can, hopefully, make their own decisions.

I have no problem with this. In fact, I have never enforced attendance, for precisely that reason, and also because I am no policeman.

However, being adult means having the right to make your own mistakes, and the responsibility to live with the consequences. Not attending lectures is a mistake, and a serious one at that. This is not an opinion, it is a fact which has been empirically established again and again. Continue reading

Psychoeconomics Research Unit renewed

After the evaluation last June, the German Research Foundation (DFG) has now officially confirmed the successful renewal of the Research unit (Forschergruppe) Psychoeconomics.

The research unit includes research projects in Konstanz, Cologne, and the Zeppelin University. The coordination is in Cologne. In addition to a renewal of the project directed by Carlos Alós-Ferrer, the University of Cologne now also counts with a new project by Prof. Erik Hoelzl. Further, a new project by Prof. Anja Achtziger at the Zeppelin University has been added to the mix.

Needless to say, we are all very happy about this outcome and are already working in the second phase of the research agenda. Further information on the activities of the research unit can be found here.

Fairness is a Thin Layer

A quote attributed to Werner Herzog reads that “civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness”. Some of our recent work points out that the same might be true about fairness and pro-social behavior.

Our article “Money, Depletion, and Prosociality in the Dictator Game” (Achtziger, Alós-Ferrer, and Wagner) has just been published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics. It can be found here (and here is the DOI address). Merely days after publication, it found echo in the press, for instance here. Continue reading

Mr. Weidmann, please shut up

Jens Weidmann, president of the German Bundesbank, recently gave an interview to journalists of El País (one of the leading journals in Spain), the French Le Figaro and the Italian La Reppublica. When the Spanish journalists asked him about his opinion on Podemos, a radical-left, anti-market, new-ish party, Mr. Weidmann made a huge mistake.

He answered. Continue reading

Ninth PsychoEconomics Workshop

The Research Unit PsychoEconomics recently organized its Ninth Workshop. These Workshops form a series of one-day meetings bringing together economists and psychologists. The last one took place in Konstanz, at the conference center in Kloster Hegne. In addition to internal talks from group members (including a talk by our co-worker Jaume García-Segarra), we counted with excellent presentations by three external speakers. Continue reading