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One focus of the institute is how market rules shape the strategic behavior of firms and individuals. The rise of the Internet brought about new kinds of (online) markets, which did not evolve over a long time, but are purposefully designed. That is, the rules of these markets did not develop in an evolutionary way, but were written by the creator of the market, and can be changed just as easily. Market Design is a relatively young field, engaging researchers from economics, business administration, political sciences, sociology and psychology.

The main idea is to use the range of empirical and game-theoretical tools not only to understand the workings of markets (as well as institutions and organizations), but also to create, design, and improve them. Thus, in our research we do not only consider how market rules shape strategy, but also how to strategically design market rules. The eventual goal of all this endeavor is to align individual and firm incentives and behavior with the goals of the rule-maker (in most cases: the market place, but also governments, employers, or society in general).

The research at the institute draws on a broad range of methods: (game-) theoretical         modeling and analysis, structural modeling, computation and simulation, laboratory and field experimentation, as well as field data analysis. The idea behind this is that if a number of different methodological approaches suggest coherent conclusions with respect to a research question, we can be much more confident in our recommendations regarding strategy and policy implementation. Eventually, only by affecting strategic real-world market behavior in a systematic way we can prove that we really understood the principles that govern economic and social interactions.

Recent exemplary research projects and fields

Market design and feedback system design

Bolton, Gary, Greiner, Ben, Ockenfels, Axel. 2017. Dispute Resolution or Escalation? The Strategic Gaming of Feedback Withdrawal Options in Online Markets. Management Science (MS) 

Greiner, Ben, Zhang, Le, Tang, Chengxiang. 2017. Separation of prescription and treatment in health care markets: A laboratory experiment. Health Economics 26 (S3), 21-35.

Regina Betz, Ben Greiner, Sascha Schweitzer, and Stefan Seifert. Auction Format and Auction Sequence in Multi-Item Multi-Unit Auctions - An experimental study. Economic Journal, 127 (605), 351-371

Engineering Trust - Reciprocity in the Production of Reputation Information. Management Science, 59(2), 2013, 265-285 (with Gary Bolton and Axel Ockenfels). 

Ben Greiner, Axel Ockenfels, and Karim Sadrieh (2012). Internet Auctions. In: M. Peitz and J. Waldfogel (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Digital Economy, Oxford University Press, pp. 306-342.

Group decisions, voting, and institutional design

Gigi Foster, Paul Frijters, and Ben Greiner (2017). Challenges for Market and Institutional Design when Countering Exploitation Strategies. In: L-A. Giraldeau, P. Heeb, and M. Kosfeld (eds.): Investors and Exploiters in Ecology and Economics: Principles and Applications. Strüngmann Forum Reports, vol. 21 (J. Lupp, series editor), MIT Press.

Ambrus, Attila, Greiner, Ben, Sastro, Anne. 2017. The Case for Nil Votes: Voter Behavior under Asymmetric Information in Compulsory and Voluntary Voting Systems. Journal of Public Economics 154, 34-48.

Attila Ambrus and Ben Greiner (2016). Democratic punishment in public good games with perfect and imperfect observability. Working Paper.

Attila Ambrus, Ben Greiner, and Parag Pathak (2015). How individual preferences are aggregated in groups: An experimental study. Journal of Public Economics, 129, 1-13.

Attila Ambrus and Ben Greiner (2012). Imperfect public monitoring with costly punishment - An experimental study. American Economic Review 102(7), 3317-32.

Ben Greiner, Axel Ockenfels, and Peter Werner (2012). The Dynamic Interplay of Inequality and Trust - An Experimental Study. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 81, 355-365.

Social preferences, reciprocity and bargaining

Redzo Mujcic, Andrew J. Oswald, Is envy harmful to a society's psychological health and wellbeing? A longitudinal study of 18,000 adults, Social Science & Medicine, Volume 198, Feb 2018, Pages 103-111

Mujcic, Redzo, Leibbrandt, Andreas. 2017. Indirect Reciprocity and Prosocial Behaviour: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment. Economic Journal

Roth, Julia, Fortmüller, Richard, Powell, Owen. 2017. Can teaching social dilemmas make people more prosocial? An experiment. Journal of Education for Business 92 (1), 16-22.

Ben Greiner (2016). Strategic Uncertainty Aversion in Bargaining. Working Paper.


Ben Greiner, Mary Caravella, and Alvin Roth (2014). Is Avatar-to-Avatar Communication As Effective As Face-to-Face Communication? An Ultimatum Game Experiment in First and Second Life. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 108, 374-382.


Ben Greiner, Werner Güth, and Ro'i Zultan (2012). Social Communication and Discrimination - A Video Experiment. Experimental Economics 15(3), 398-417. 


Experimental Methodology

Christoph March, Anthony Ziegelmeyer, Ben Greiner, and René Cyranek (2016).  Monetary Incentives in Large-Scale Experiments: A Case Study of Risk Aversion. Working Paper.

Ben Greiner (2015). Subject Pool Recruitment Procedures: Organizing Experiments with ORSEE. Journal of the Economic Science Association, 1(1), 114-125. 

Ido Erev and Ben Greiner (2015). The 1-800 critique, counter-examples, and the future of behavioral economics. In: G. Frechette and A. Schotter (eds.): The Methods of Modern Experimental Economics, Oxford University Press, pp. 151-165.