Job Market Paper
Preferences for Compensatory and Retributive Justice (Draft coming soon)
I experimentally investigate third-party preferences for victim compensation and offender punishment when one party has harmed another. I find that if the harm is intentional, third parties not only display an increased demand for punishment, but also an increased demand for compensation. I refer to these additional demands for punishment and compensation as the demand for retributive justice and compensatory justice, respectively. Demand for retributive justice is positively correlated with demand for compensatory justice. However, third parties do not treat the two types of justice as substitutes or complements. Moreover, I generally find that these types of justices do not take victim knowledge of offender punishment nor offender knowledge of victim compensation into account. I then extend my investigation to a risky setting, where the offender's action may or may not end up harming the victim. I find that for both compensation and punishment, not only does the intent behind the action matter, but the consequences of the action as well. However, this is primarily driven by third-party distributional preferences; the outcome does not seem to affect the demand for retributive or compensatory justice.
A Theory of Chosen Preferences
American Economic Review, Vol. 111, No. 2 (February 2021), pages 720-754
We propose and develop a theory of preference formation based on the idea that people evaluate their lives according to worldviews that provide accounts of success and failure, and that they choose those worldviews subject to feasibility constraints. Our framework highlights the role of mindset ям,exibility, a trait that determines the relative weights the decision maker places on her current and anticipated worldviews when evaluating future outcomes. We show that our theory generates rich behavioral dynamics, thereby illuminating a wide range of applications and providing potential accounts for a variety of observed phenomena.
Unseen Preferences: Homophily in Friendship Networks
Homophily is typically measured using a single dimension to define groups. However, people generally display preferences over multiple dimensions. I develop a simple model that characterizes agents both by a (discrete) "type" and a (continuous) "personality" value. Agents have preferences-for-similarity over both dimensions, but homophily is only measured with respect to type. I identify sufficient conditions on preferences such that a strongly stable matching exists, and show via simulations that the friendship patterns generated by these matchings qualitatively line up with several patterns noted in the data. The matchings can be calculated via an algorithm where agents "search" through utility space for friends. Increasing costs to friendship cause both within-group and systematic across-group heterogeneity in the extent of students' search through utility space. Majority-group "outliers" - those who must search an extensive amount in utility space for friends - form a disproportionate number of cross-group friendships. These outliers are the key reason why mid-sized groups exhibit the highest levels of homophily bias, a distinctive feature noted in prior literature.
Inconsistently Inconsistent: Variable Present Focus
Motivated Reasoning and Present Focus