Béatrice Boulu-Reshef and Nina Rapoport "Voluntary contributions in cascades: The tragedy of ill-informed leadership" (under review)
Voluntary contributions are often solicited in sequential and public settings where information on the quality of the fundraising project unfolds with the sequence of decisions. This paper examines how the different sources of information available to potential donors in such settings influence their decision-making. Contrary to most of the leadership literature, neither leaders nor followers in these settings have certainty about the quality of the fundraising project. We explore whether leaders remain influential, the extent to which they use their influence strategically, and the consequences on followers when leaders are misinformed. We combine an information cascade method with a modified public goods game to create a "Voluntary Contributions in Cascades" paradigm. Participants sequentially receive private signals about the state of the world, which determines the potential returns from the public good, and take two public actions: an incentivized prediction about the state of the world and a contribution to the public good. We find that participants' predictions mostly align with Bayesian predictions, and find no evidence for strategic or misleading predictions. Leaders' contributions are positively correlated with followers', suggesting they remain influential despite their limited informational advantage. This influence takes a tragic turn when leaders happen to be misinformed, as most misinformed leaders end up unintentionally misleading followers. We find that having a misleading leader is associated with a reduction in gains from contributions roughly twice as large as the reduction that stems from dividing the marginal-per-capita-return by two. Our results stress the significance of having well-informed leaders.
Béatrice Boulu-Reshef and Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl "Social Distance and Parochial Altruism: An Experimental Study" (R&R at The European Journal of Political Economy)
Parochial altruism – individual sacrifice to benefit the in-group and harm an out-group –undermines inter-group cooperation and is implicated in a plethora of politically-significant behaviors. We report experimental evidence about the impact of variation in social distance within the in-group together with variation in social distance between the in- and out-groups on parochial altruism in a setting in which inter-group conflict is made possible. We find that differential social distance has a systematic effect on individual choice. In particular, parochial altruism is stimulated when individuals’ distance to both their in- and out-group is high. A long-standing hypothesis about behavior in contexts of inter-group conflict is that low social distance facilitates collective action leading to greater cooperation and greater conflict. Our results suggest that the effects of high social distance in a homogenous population may create a potential additional pathway to group-based individual action.
This paper studies in theory and in a laboratory experiment the conditions under which prosocial investments signal trustworthiness. Results show that the choice alone of a prosocial investment, if the level of prosocial activity is not visible, does not increase investors’ transfers to prosocial investments but a visible high level of prosociality does as long as the prosocial activity is not too costly. The announcement of the level of prosocial activity is a valid signal of trustworthiness as the entrepreneurs who announce a higher level are more trustworthy. However, the prosocial entrepreneurs pay this signal “out-of-pocket” as they carry the cost of the prosocial activity by returning to the investors as much as the entrepreneurs who chose purely financial project. The mechanisms behind investors believing that prosocial entrepreneurs will be more trustworthy is that the mere project type is insufficient and information about the effective spillover is necessary; making that quantitative information visible allows investors to differentiate between investment opportunities. Furthermore, while entrepreneurs are found to respond to fiscal incentives by choosing more often the impact project under tax exemption, they prevent signal dilution by maintaining the level of spillover under tax exemption.
Béatrice Boulu-Reshef (2021) Possible in Economics. In Glaveanu V.P. (eds) The Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Possible. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. (Palgrave Dictionary Entry)
Béatrice Boulu-Reshef, Charles A. Holt, Matthew Rodgers and Melissa Thomas-Hunt (2020), "The impact of leader communication on free-riding: An incentivized experiment with empowering and directive styles", Leadership Quarterly, 31(3): 101351. For the Special Issue "Economics of leadership".
In French Béatrice Boulu-Reshef and Constance Monnier-Schlumberger (2019) "Lutte contre les cartels: Comment dissuader les "têtes brulées"?", Revue économique, 70(6): 931-943. Special issue on recent advances in experimental and behavioral economics.
In French Béatrice Boulu-Reshef and Constance Monnier-Schlumberger (2018) "Une évaluation expérimentale des dispositifs de lutte contre les cartels". Revue Concurrences, 4(88126): 74-82.
Béatrice Boulu-Reshef, Samuel H. Brott and Adam Zylbersztejn (2017) "Does Uncertainty Deter Provision to the Public Good?", Revue économique, 5: 16-23. Special issue on recent advances in experimental and behavioral economics.
Le Lec F., Alexopoulos T., Boulu-Reshef B., Fayant M-P, Zenasni F., Lubart T., Jacquemet N. (2017)
"Courtship behavior: “The Out-of-my-league effect”". Behavioral and Brain Sciences,
Béatrice Boulu-Reshef, Irene Comeig, Robert Donze and Gregory Weiss (2016) "Risk Aversion in Prediction Markets: A Framed-Field Experiment", Journal of Business Research, 69(11): 5071-5075. Special Section on Turning Kurt Lewin on his head: Nothing is so theoretical as a good practice. Best Paper Award at the 2016 GIKA Annual Conference.
Graciela Kuechle, Béatrice Boulu-Reshef and Sean D. Carr (2016) "Prediction- and Control-Based Strategies in Entrepreneurship: The Role of
Information", Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 10(1): 43-64. Special issue on Theories of
Béatrice Boulu-Reshef (2015) "Towards a Personal Identity Argument to Combine Potentially Conflicting Social Identities", Review of Social Economy, 73(1): 1-18. (Lead article)
Anton S. Ovchinnikov, Béatrice Boulu-Reshef and Phillip E. Pfeifer (2014), "Balancing Acquisition and Retention Spending for Firms with Limited Capacity", Management Science, 60(8): 2002-2019.
Béatrice Boulu-Reshef (2013) "Economics of the Firm and Economics of Identity: Why and How their Main Questions Overlap", Journal of Institutional Economics, 9(3): 363-379.
Béatrice Boulu-Reshef (2013), Book review of Individuals and Identity in Economics. By John B. Davis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011, Review of Social Economy, 71(4): 543-546.
Béatrice Boulu-Reshef "Cooperation and the Boundaries of the Firm: A Framed Field Experiment"
"Leadership Communication, Transparency, and Skin-in-the-Game", with Jeremy Hutchison-Krupat
"Does Social influence in Field Fundraising Schemes Increase Donations?", with Aïda Diallo, Soffia Mun and Nina Rapoport
"When to Hire the First Employee? Behavioral Evidence and Insights", with Charles Corbett and Anton Ovchinnikov
"Inventory Management with Carryover in a Laboratory Setting: Going Beyond the Newsvendor Paradigm", with Charles A. Holt
"The trust-to-investment game: An experimental framework for entrepreneurship research", with Adrian Calmettes, Klodiana Istrefi, Sofiia Mun, Romain Pfau and Luise Rohland
"Double-sided opportunism in infrastructure investments", with Ingy Helmy and Marian Moszoro
In French "Une analyse des questionnaires MiFID II", with Julia Bertin, Geneviève Helleringer and Pierre Jacquel
"Which Sanctions and Moral Costs Can Prevent the Formation of Cartels?", with Constance Monnier-Schlumberger
"Combining the Atomistic and Socially Embedded Conceptions of Corporate Culture: Personal Identity to the Rescue"
"Public policy and early-staged funding of innovations", with Herbert Dawid and Antoine Mandel
"What are Control Strategies in Entrepreneurship? An Economic and Experimental Approach", with Graciela Kuechle
"The Effect of Private and Public Returns on Donations: A Field Experiment", with Aïda Diallo
"Leading in the Shadow of Expectations: An Experimental Study"