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Project Proposal

Behavioral Economics - Online Experiments and Game Theory Modeling

Benjamin Ho (Economics)

Project Description

This project will allow students to work on all aspects of a new theory in behavioral economics, and work on all aspects from the literature review, to the game theoretic modeling, to the experimental design, to online experimental implementation, to the statistical analysis. The exact project worked on will depend on a mix of student interest and the current status of the projects I am working on at the time, but will likely include some subset of:

  • Modeling different kinds of apologies
  • What is the impact of explanations on altruistic behavior
  • How much should charities spend on fund raising
  • How should healthcare screenings account for people’s fear
  • Understanding how identity creates trends
  • How does the media choose what to cover
  • How do people form energy use habits
  • How do political attitudes depend on stock market wealth
  • How do stories shape how we perceive the world

(Check Prof Ho's website for more details)

Anticipated Project Activities

The student will be expected to help with cross disciplinary (mostly economics, but also psychology and others) literature reviews on the project topic using tools like Google Scholar and Econ Lit. The student will help with the mathematical modeling of using economic game theory. The student will work on implementing the online experiment using tools like Survey Monkey and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and html and python, working on all parts of the experimental implementation from design to data analysis using STATA.

Preferred Student Qualifications and Skills

  • Comfort with web design tasks (html and ideally python). In particular, experience with surveymonkey and Amazon mTurk.
  • Comfort with econometrics using the statistical package STATA.
  • Ideally, comfort with concepts from game theory and experimental economics. 
  • Ability to read economic papers and perform literature reviews.
  • Comfort working across disciplines and in particular with psychology. sociology, and political science

Anticipated Follow-up Teaching/Professional Activity for Student

If student wishes to continue beyond the summer, and provides sufficient independent contributions to the effort, a co-authored paper submitted to a highly ranked academic journal can be expected. We will also encourage the student to consider extending the work for a senior thesis and/or pursuing submission to various undergraduate conferences and journals.

Past year Ford Scholar projects have led to senior theses, presentations at professional conferences in Miami and Philadelphia and Harvard, and publication in professional economics journals.

Project Location

Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY

Project Duration

Eight weeks

Project Start Date

May 21, 2017

Project End Date

August 1, 2017