Research

Toward an Understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility: Theory and Field Experimental Evidence

(With John A. List and Brent R. Hickman)
Status
Job Market Paper: latest version

Notes / Additional Material


Abstract

We develop a theory and a tightly-linked field experiment to explore the supply side impact of CSR. Our natural field experiment, in which we created our own firm and hired actual workers, generates a rich data set on worker behavior and responses to CSR incentives. We use these data to estimate a structural principal-agent model with three dimensions of worker heterogeneity: productivity, work quality, and value of time. This allows us to answer a variety of questions related to treatment effects (on existing employees' behaviors) and selection effects on the pool of applicants from CSR. We find strong evidence that when a firm convinces its workers that their efforts make the world a better place (as opposed to just making money) it will attract workers that are more productive, produce higher quality work, and have more highly valued leisure time. We also find an economically significant treatment effect of CSR on improving work quality of existing employees as well. Our research design may serve as a framework for causal inference on more general forms of non-pecuniary incentives in the workplace.

Two-Sided Incentives in Public Good Provision: Evidence from A Field Experiment

(With Andreas Leibbrandt, John A. List, Michael K. Price)
Status
Working Paper 

Notes / Additional Material


Abstract

We conduct a field experiment that explores how to effectively use upfront money when financing a public good. Our approach is novel in that we consider incentives for both the supply and demand side. On the demand side, we use worker bonuses to explore how those affect fundraising success. On the supply side, we leverage both conditional and unconditional matching of contributions. The field experiment produces a wealth of data and answers many interesting questions. But the bottom line is that using the upfront funds on the demand side raises the most amount from donors, but more of the public good is provided if you use the upfront funds on the supply side. This is because supply upfront funds are actually used for the public good whereas the demand side upfront funds are given to workers.

Complex Politics: A Quantitative Semantic and Topological Analysis of UK House of Commons Debates

(With S. Gurciullo, M. Smallegan, M. Pereda, F. Battiston, A. Patania, S. Poledna, B. T. Oztan, A. Herzog, P. John, and S. Mikhaylov)
Status
Working Paper: latest version

Notes / Additional Material
Santa Fe Institute Complex Systems Summer School 2015
Abstract

This study is a first, exploratory attempt to use quantitative semantics techniques and topological analysis to analyze systemic patterns arising in a complex political system. In particular, we use a rich data set covering all speeches and debates in the UK House of Commons between 1975 and 2014. By the use of dynamic topic modeling (DTM) and topological data analysis (TDA) we show that both members and parties feature specific roles within the system, consistent over time, and extract global patterns indicating levels of political cohesion. Our results provide a wide array of novel hypotheses about the complex dynamics of political systems, with valuable policy applications.

Who Needs Cream and Sugar When There Is Eco-Labeling?

(With P. Sörqvist, M. Holmgren, A. Haga, L. Langeborg, A. Nöstl, and J. Kågström)
Status
Published in PLOS ONE

Notes / Additional Material
Media Coverage:
LA Times
Huffington Post
UW Conservation
Abstract

Participants tasted two cups of coffee, decided which they preferred, and then rated each coffee. They were told (in lure) that one of the cups contained "eco-friendly" coffee while the other did not, although the two cups contained identical coffee. In Experiments 1 and 3, but not in Experiment 2, the participants were also told which cup contained which type of coffee before they tasted. The participants preferred the taste of, and were willing to pay more for, the "eco-friendly" coffee, at least those who scored high on a questionnaire on attitudes toward sustainable consumer behavior (Experiment 1). High sustainability consumers were also willing to pay more for "eco-friendly" coffee, even when they were told, after their decision, that they preferred the non-labeled alternative (Experiment 2). Moreover, the eco-label effect does not appear to be a consequence of social desirability, as participants were just as biased when reporting the taste estimates and willingness to pay anonymously (Experiment 3). Eco labels not only promote a willingness to pay more for the product but also lead to a more favorable perceptual experience of it.

Non-Pecuniary Incentives and Altruistic Behavior: A Theory of Moral Capital

Status
Work in progress

Notes / Additional Material
Abstract

Do non-pecuniary incentives and the perceived social value associated with a given job affect altruistic behavior? In particular, if an individual perceive that they are providing social value through their work, they may be less inclined to use the earnings for altruistic purposes like giving to charity. Evidence from a pilot lab experiment provides preliminary support for this conjecture. In the experiment, subjects work with a real effort task under different contextual frames. In one treatment, subjects are informed about the identity of the firm serving as client for the task. In the other treatment, subjects are informed that the client is a charity organization run by the same firm. After completion of the task, subjects participate in a dictator style game with the earnings. Giving rates appear to differ across treatments in the sense that people who worked under non-pecuniary incentives tend to claim a larger share for themselves in the subsequent dictator game. A field experiment is being designed to test the hypothesis in a larger scale setting.

About

I am an economics Ph.D. candidate from the University of Chicago. My fields of specialization are applied microeconomics and experimental economics. I study the interaction between traditional incentives and psychological factors using a variety of methods, such as field experiments, structural econometrics, and machine learning. My job market paper explores the effect of corporate social responsibility on worker performance using a field experiment in combination with a structural principal-agent model. My other research areas include labor economics, behavioral economics, and econometrics.

Contact Information




Mailing Address
The University of Chicago
Department of Economics
1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60636
Office Address
Saieh Hall for Economics
Suite 5 West
5757 S. University Avenue
Chicago, IL 60636





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CV and References


Download CV

Link to CV:  hedblom_cv.pdf

Version on Dropbox:  hedblom_cv.pdf



References

John A. List  (chair)
Department of Economics
The University of Chicago
jlist@uchicago.edu
Department of Economics
The University of Chicago
hickmanbr@uchicago.edu
Booth School of Business
The University of Chicago
goolsbee@chicagobooth.edu
Website designed by Daniel Hedblom