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Till Weber

PhD Candidate, School of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

Till is a final year PhD student in the School of Economics Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx). The title of his thesis is "Strong Reciprocity - Norms and preferences governing cooperation and punishment behaviour". With the help of laboratory experiments, Till explores the driving factors of cooperation and norm enforcement in social dilemmas. Till holds an MSc in Behavioural Economics from the University of Nottingham and a BSc in Economics from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Munich.

Teaching Summary

Till is a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the School of Economics and Graduate School Presentation Skills Instructor. He received the School of Economics GTA Teaching Excellence Award in 2015 and 2016.… read more

Research Summary

"Selfish people don't free ride on punishment" with Ori Weisel and Simon Gaechter.

This study explores the differences in the contributions, punishment and self-reported emotions of Conditional Cooperators and Self Regarding types in one-shot public goods experiments. In comparing the contribution levels without and with peer punishment, we find that the threat of punishment mostly affects Self Regarding types, who adapt to the change in strategic incentives and increase contributions. If costly peer punishment is available, Conditional Cooperative and Self Regarding types are very similar in their punishment behaviour. This result even holds when varying the fine-to-fee ratio of punishment. This finding challenges the assumption that Self Regarding individuals are strictly selfish money maximizer. Instead, they are strong reciprocators when it comes to punishment. Conditional Cooperators and Self Regarding individuals report comparable anger levels, showing that both types make a similar trade-off between negative emotions and money when taking the punishment decision.

"A cross-cultural comparison of cooperative attitudes and norm enforcement" with Benjamin Beranek, Simon Gaechter, Fatima Lambarraa and Jonathan F. Schulz (Unpublished Manuscript).

We investigate differences in cooperative attitudes, norm enforcement and the emotional response to social dilemmas across societies. We conduct variants of public goods games with students in four countries (Morocco, Turkey, UK, US), that are characterised by a large cultural distance across several dimensions. The results show that differences in the cooperation rates across societies cannot be solely explained by differing cooperative attitudes. Rather, beliefs about other people's cooperative efforts as well as cooperative attitudes drive cooperative behaviour. Additionally, we find that costly and altruistic punishment is strikingly similar across societies. This shows that previously reported differences in antisocial punishment across societies are likely to be driven by strategic play or revenge in repeated interactions. Furthermore, emotional responses to free riding are similar across societies, making negative emotions a likely driver of altruistic and costly punishment.

"Sustaining cooperation: a comparative evaluation of cooperative preferences, peer pressure and formal punishment" with Simon Gaechter and Ori Weisel (Unpublished Manuscript).

Cooperation - behaviour that is costly to the individual, but increases overall welfare - is not trivial to explain. It could be the result of an intrinsic motivation to cooperate; of informal punishment mechanisms (e.g., peer-pressure); or of formal sanctioning institutions (i.e., police and courts). We report on a laboratory experiment designed to disentangle and quantify the relative impact of these three factors. We conduct four variations of public good games: a game with informal peer-punishment, a formal sanctioning institution and thirdly a game combining both, peer-punishment and a formal sanctioning institution. Additionally, we implement a control treatment with no possibility of punishment. The experiment was conducted in the United Kingdom, a country characterized by a relatively high level of trust, and with very little anti-social peer-punishment. Informal peer-punishment induced high and stable cooperation levels. The formal sanctioning institution was the least efficient in terms of social welfare. A best reply analysis reveals that it crowds out voluntary contributions. The combined treatment did not differ significantly from peer-punishment alone in terms of cooperation and efficiency levels. We conclude that informal peer-punishment is crucial in stabilising cooperation levels in the long run. In contrast, the formal sanctioning institution encourages best-reply reasoning and only induces cooperation when the monetary incentives are large enough.

Recent Publications

  • WEBER, TILL OLAF, FOOKEN, JONAS and HERRMANN, BENEDIKT, 2014. Behavioural Economics and Taxation, European Commission Taxation Papers. Available at: <https://ideas.repec.org/p/tax/taxpap/0041.html>

Till is a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the School of Economics and Graduate School Presentation Skills Instructor. He received the School of Economics GTA Teaching Excellence Award in 2015 and 2016. Till lead seminars, tutorials and computer classes in the following modules:

  • Undergraduate Dissertation Seminars (L13500)
  • Applied Econometrics for Dissertation Computer Classes (L13500)
  • Economic Integration 1 (L11115)
  • Introduction to Microeconomics (L11100)
  • Introduction to Macroeconomics (L11200)
  • WEBER, TILL OLAF, FOOKEN, JONAS and HERRMANN, BENEDIKT, 2014. Behavioural Economics and Taxation, European Commission Taxation Papers. Available at: <https://ideas.repec.org/p/tax/taxpap/0041.html>

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