Lefebvre

Publications

Preferences and strategic behavior in public goods gamesJournal articleGilles Grandjean, Mathieu Lefebvre and Marco Mantovani, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Volume 195, pp. 171-185, 2022

In finitely repeated public goods games, contributions are initially high, and gradually decrease over time. Two main explanations are consistent with this pattern: (i) the population is composed of free-riders, who never contribute, and conditional cooperators, who contribute if others do so as well; (ii) strategic players contribute to sustain mutually beneficial future cooperation, but reduce their contributions as the end of the game approaches. This paper analyzes experimentally these explanations, by manipulating group composition to form homogeneous groups on both the preference and the strategic ability dimensions. Our results highlight the role of strategic ability in sustaining contributions, and suggest that the interaction between the two dimensions also matters: we find that groups that sustain high levels of cooperation are composed of members who share a common inclination toward cooperation and also have the strategic abilities to recognize and reap the benefits of enduring cooperation.

Knowledge acquisition or incentive to foster coordination? A real-effort weak-link experiment with craftsmenJournal articleMathieu Lefebvre and Lucie Martin- Bon de Longchamp, Journal of Behavioral Economics for Policy, Issue S1, pp. 93-107, 2022

This paper presents an artefactual field experiment with craftsmen working on renovation projects to assess the effect of training programs and incentive schemes on coordination. Workers frequently fail to coordinate their tasks when not supervised by a project coordinator. This is particularly important in the construction sector where it leads to a lack of final performance in buildings. We introduce two different incentives: a first contract paying craftsmen only according to their individual performance, and a second contract paying a group of three craftsmen with a weak-link payment according to the group’s worst performance. In addition, we test these incentives on two different subject groups: one is composed of craftsmen trained to coordinate their tasks, and the others are not. The results suggest that trained subjects coordinate at significantly higher effort levels than non-trained subjects when facing an individual-based incentive. However, when facing a group-based incentive, non-trained subjects seem to ”catch up” trained subjects in terms of coordination level, while these latter subjects do not significantly increase their performance level.

Long-lasting effects of incentives and social preference: A public goods experimentJournal articleMaho Nakagawa, Mathieu Lefebvre and Anne Stenger, PLOS ONE, Volume 17, Issue 8, pp. e0273014, 2022

This paper addresses the question of the effectiveness and permanence of temporary incentives to contribute to a public good. Using a common experimental framework, we investigate the effects of a recommendation that takes the form of an exhortative message to contribute, a monetary punishment and a non-monetary reward to sustain high levels of contributions. In particular, we shed light on the differential impact these mechanisms have on heterogeneous types of agents. The results show that all three incentives increase contributions compared to a pre-phase where there is no incentive. Monetary sanctions lead to the highest contributions, but a sudden drop in contributions is observed once the incentive to punish is removed. On the contrary, Recommendation leads to the lowest contributions but maintains a long-lasting impact in the Post-policy phase. In particular, it makes free-riders increase their contribution over time in the post-incentive phase. Finally, non-monetary reward backfires against those who are weakly conditional cooperators. Our findings emphasize the importance of designing and maintaining incentives not only for free-riders, but for strong and weak conditional cooperators as well, depending on characteristics of the incentives.

Are preferences for work reference dependent or time nonseparable? New experimental evidenceJournal articleSam Cosaert, Mathieu Lefebvre and Ludivine Martin, European Economic Review, Volume 148, pp. 104206, 2022

Tests of labor supply models often rely on wages. However, wage variation alone generally cannot disentangle the classical time separable model and its extensions: reference dependent preferences (income targeting) and time nonseparable preferences (disutility spillovers; timing-specific preferences). We set up a novel laboratory experiment in which individuals choose their working time. We vary, independently, wages, historical income paths, and cumulative past work. We also vary the timing of experimental sessions. Statistical tests and stochastic revealed preference methods cannot reject the classical model in favor of income targeting or disutility spillovers, but the data suggest that labor supply varies by time-of-the-day.

Promoting socially desirable behaviors through persuasion and commitment: Experimental evidenceJournal articleCécile Bazart, Mathieu Lefebvre and Julie Rosaz, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, Volume 101, pp. 101931, 2022

Through a series of experiments, this paper tests the relative efficiency of persuasion and commitment schemes to increase and sustain contribution levels in a Voluntary Contribution Game. The design allows us to compare a baseline consisting of a repeated public good game to four treatments of the same game in which we successively introduce a persuasion message, commitment devices, and communication between subjects. Our results suggest that these non-monetary procedures significantly increase cooperation and reduce the decay of contributions across periods.

Fiscal decentralization and the performance of higher education institutions: the case of EuropeJournal articleJulien Jacqmin and Mathieu Lefebvre, Empirica, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp. 743-758, 2021

This paper empirically evaluates the impact of fiscal decentralization on the performance of higher education systems. To test this relationship, we build up a panel dataset composed of European countries. Country-level performance is measured by an indicator using data from the Shanghai ranking. Using a dynamic panel approach, we find that a higher share of government spending coming from decentralized levels of governments leads to an improvement of the performance of research-intensive higher education institutions. We argue that a more decentralized higher education system increases the ability to attract and retain top scholars.

Controlling monopoly power in a double-auction market experimentJournal articleGiuseppe Attanasi, Kene Boun My, Andrea Guido and Mathieu Lefebvre, Journal of Public Economic Theory, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp. 1074-1101, 2021

There is robust evidence in the experimental economics literature showing that monopoly power is affected by trading institutions. In this paper, we study whether trading institutions themselves can shape agents' market behavior through the formation of anchors. We recreate experimentally five different double-auction market structures (perfect competition, perfect competition with quotas, cartel on price, cartel on price with quotas, and monopoly) in a within-subject design, varying the order of markets implementation. We investigate whether monopoly power endures the formation of price anchors emerged in previously implemented market structures. Results from our classroom experiments suggest that double-auction trading institutions succeed in preventing monopolists from exploiting their market power. Furthermore, the formation of price anchors in previously implemented markets negatively impacts on monopolists' power in later market structures.

The effect of international accreditations on students’ revealed preferences: Evidence from French Business schoolsJournal articleJulien Jacqmin and Mathieu Lefebvre, Economics of Education Review, Volume 85, pp. 102192, 2021

This paper evaluates how three different international accreditations for business schools (AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA) affect student preferences, expressed via enrollment decisions. Focusing on the French context, we build a relative preference indicator to compare schools using data collected by the central clearinghouse that allocates students to schools. We observe that all three accreditations positively and significantly influence students, but that the impact of the AACSB accreditation is larger than the other two accreditations. Having an AACSB accreditation is equivalent to moving up four places in rankings by L’étudiant magazine, whereas the impact of having EQUIS or AMBA is similar to moving up two places. We also find a sizeable “triple crown” effect, meaning that the three accreditations tend to complement each other. Our results are robust to different ways of assessing potential self-selection into accreditation.

Short- & long-term effects of monetary and non-monetary incentives to cooperate in public good games: An experimentJournal articleMathieu Lefebvre and Anne Stenger, PLoS ONE, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp. e0227360, 2020

Using a common experimental framework, this paper addresses both the question of the short-term and the long-lasting effects of temporary monetary and non-monetary incentive mechanisms on increasing individual contributions to the public good. The results show that both punishments and rewards significantly increase contributions compared to the baseline, but that monetary sanctions lead to the highest contributions, whereas non-monetary sanctions lead to the lowest contributions. The four types of incentives display long-lasting effects, i.e., contributions do not go back to baseline levels directly after the withdrawal of the incentives. However, rewards appear to have much stronger persistent effects than sanctions, revealing some sort of delayed reciprocity.

Public pension wealth and household asset holdings: new evidence from BelgiumJournal articleMathieu Lefebvre and Sergio Perelman, Journal of Pension Economics & Finance, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp. 309-322, 2020

It has been long suggested that public pension wealth may crowd out household savings. However, there remains controversy about the extent of this displacement effect. In this paper we use an original microsimulation model based on retrospective survey data collected through the third wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) to estimate the displacement effect of public pension wealth on other wealth in Belgium. Combining this rich dataset with an accurate estimation of the individual pension entitlements allows us to circumvent some of the main measurement error problems faced by previous studies. We estimate that an extra euro of public pension wealth is associated with about 14–25 cent decline in households’ non-pension wealth.

Nursing homes and mortality in Europe: Uncertain causalityJournal articleXavier Flawinne, Mathieu Lefebvre, Sergio Perelman, Pierre Pestieau and Jérôme Schoenmaeckers, Health Economics, Volume n/a, Issue n/a, Forthcoming

The current health crisis has particularly affected the elderly population. Nursing homes have unfortunately experienced a relatively large number of deaths. On the basis of this observation and working with European data (from SHARE), we want to check whether nursing homes were lending themselves to excess mortality even before the pandemic. Controlling for a number of important characteristics of the elderly population in and outside nursing homes, we conjecture that the difference in mortality between those two samples is to be attributed to the way nursing homes are designed and organized. Using matching methods, we observe excess mortality in Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Estonia but not in the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, France, Luxembourg, Italy and Spain. This raises the question of the organization and management of these nursing homes, but also of their design and financing.

Other-regarding preferences and giving decision in a risky environment: experimental evidenceJournal articleMickael Beaud, Mathieu Lefebvre and Julie Rosaz, Review of Economic Design, Forthcoming

We investigate whether and how an individual giving decision is affected in risky environments in which the recipient’s wealth is random. We demonstrate that, under risk neutrality, the donation of dictators with a purely ex post view of fairness should, in general, be affected by the riskiness of the recipient’s payoff, while dictators with a purely ex ante view should not be. Furthermore, we observe that some influential inequality aversion preferences functions yield opposite predictions when we consider ex post view of fairness. Hence, we report on dictator games laboratory experiments in which the recipient’s wealth is exposed to an actuarially neutral and additive background risk. Our experimental data show no statistically significant impact of the recipient’s risk exposure on dictators’ giving decisions. This result appears robust to both the experimental design (within subjects or between subjects) and the origin of the recipient’s risk exposure (chosen by the recipient or imposed on the recipient). Although we cannot sharply validate or invalidate alternative fairness theories, the whole pattern of our experimental data can be simply explained by assuming ex ante view of fairness and risk neutrality.

Counting the missing poor in pre-industrial societiesJournal articleMathieu Lefebvre, Cliometrica, Forthcoming

Under income-differentiated mortality, poverty measures suffer from a selection bias: they do not count the missing poor (i.e., persons who would have been counted as poor provided they did not die prematurely). The Pre-Industrial period being characterized by an evolutionary advantage (i.e., a higher number of surviving children per household) of the non-poor over the poor, one may expect that the missing poor bias is substantial during that period. This paper quantifies the missing poor bias in Pre-Industrial societies, by computing the hypothetical headcount poverty rates that would have prevailed provided the non-poor did not benefit from an evolutionary advantage over the poor. Using data on Pre-Industrial England and France, we show that the sign and size of the missing poor bias are sensitive to the degree of downward social mobility.

Other-regarding preferences and giving decision in a risky environment: experimental evidenceJournal articleMickael Beaud, Mathieu Lefebvre and Julie Rosaz, Review of Economic Design, Forthcoming

We investigate whether and how an individual giving decision is affected in risky environments in which the recipient’s wealth is random. We demonstrate that, under risk neutrality, the donation of dictators with a purely ex post view of fairness should, in general, be affected by the riskiness of the recipient’s payoff, while dictators with a purely ex ante view should not be. Furthermore, we observe that some influential inequality aversion preferences functions yield opposite predictions when we consider ex post view of fairness. Hence, we report on dictator games laboratory experiments in which the recipient’s wealth is exposed to an actuarially neutral and additive background risk. Our experimental data show no statistically significant impact of the recipient’s risk exposure on dictators’ giving decisions. This result appears robust to both the experimental design (within subjects or between subjects) and the origin of the recipient’s risk exposure (chosen by the recipient or imposed on the recipient). Although we cannot sharply validate or invalidate alternative fairness theories, the whole pattern of our experimental data can be simply explained by assuming ex ante view of fairness and risk neutrality.