Publication in IPMJ

Do future bureaucrats punish more? The Effect of PSM and studying Public Administration on Contributions and Punishment in a Public Goods Game, International Public Management Journal (forthcoming), with Markus Tepe


This study tests the effect of PSM and studying public administration on subjects’ behavior in a repeated Public Goods Game with a costly option to punish free riders. Conducting the experiment on 136 students from three subject pools (public administration, social science and business science) shows the following: (1) PSM has a twofold effect, as compassion is associated with higher contributions and attraction to policy making is associated with punishing free riders. (2) Students of public administration do not contribute more than the other two student groups, but they are more likely to punish free riders. (3) Both, attraction to policy making and studying public administration, are associated with more severe behavior towards free riding, as these subjects punish even small amounts of free riding. Due to its implications for policy-implementation, it seems to be worthwhile to pay more attention to preferences of social norm enforcement when selecting public personnel.

Publication on female risk preferences

Risk Attitudes, Gender, and Risk Behavior: Evidence from Two Laboratory Experiments, in Debus M., J. Sauermann, M. Tepe: Jahrbuch für Handlungs- und Entscheidungstheorie, Springer VS, Wiesbaden, 145-178

This study analyzes whether self-reported attitudes in economic risk taking predict experimentally revealed risk behavior, and how gender moderates the relationship between both measures. Prior research often finds women reporting higher risk averse attitudes than men and showing more risk averse behavior in observational or experimental studies. This study analyzes observations from 369 students who participated in two laboratory experiments and answered a survey about their risk preferences. The findings show that risk attitudes are not likely to predict risk behavior directly, but being female predicts risk averse behavior robustly. Most interestingly, the analyses show that in the experiments, women behave consistently to their self-reported risk attitudes, but men do not. Methodological and practical implications are briefly discussed.

Annual Meeting of the DVPW working group decision theory, 2018

Presenting recent work toward the behavioral consequences of self-reported risk attitudes on experimentally measured risk behavior and how this relationship is moderated by gender (“Risk attitudes, gender, and risk behavior: Evidence from two laboratory experiments”) at the annual meeting of the DVPW working group decision theory (AK Handlungs- und Entscheidungstheory) in Oldenburg/Germany from 31. May to 1. June 2018.

Publication JPART March 2018

Are future bureaucrats more risk averse? The effect of studying public administration and PSM on risk preferences (with Markus Tepe)


This study tests the effect of studying public administration and self-reported Public Service Motivation (PSM) on risk preferences. We conduct a compound lottery choice experiment with monetary rewards to measure risk behavior and a post-experiment survey to measure risk attitudes and PSM on three student subject pools. Empirical findings suggest that: First, students of public administration consider themselves more risk averse, but they do not behave more risk averse in the compound lottery choice experiment than business sciences and law students. Second, self-reported PSM is positively associated with risk-averse behavior in the compound lottery choice experiment. Thus, contrary to the popular stereotypical description of bureaucratic behavior, there are no substantive differences in risk behavior among future bureaucrats compared to other student groups.

IIAS Study Group on Trust and Public Attitudes, 2014

Presenting the study “Let the bureaucrats decide? Exploring the Relationship between Risk Behavior and Public Service Motivation” (with Markus Tepe) on the IIAS Study Group III : Trust and Public Attitudes, Citizen Attitudes and Behaviors from an Experimental Perspective
Towards an Experimental Public Administration?, in September, 2014 prior to the EGPA annual conference in Speyer, Germany.



Publication Verwaltung und Management, 2013

Sicher ist sicher? Ein laborexperimenteller Vergleich der Risikopräferenzen von Studierenden der öffentlichen Verwaltung mit Studierenden der Wirtschafts- und der Rechtswissenschaften (Safe is safe? A behavioral experiment on risk attitudes and risk behavior among students of public administration, business sciences, and law), Verwaltung und Management, (6) 2013: 302-312, with Markus Tepe (without peer-review)


Verwaltung und Management bedeutet regelmäßig, unter Risiko zu entscheiden. Dem öffentlichen Dienst wird nachgesagt, dass er Individuen anzieht, die sich in solchen Situationen systematisch risikoscheuer verhalten als ihre Kollegen im Privatsektor. Dieser Beitrag überprüft die empirische Validität dieser Behauptung. Zur Messung des Risikoverhaltens wurde ein monetär incentiviertes Lotterie-Auswahl-Spiel mit insgesamt 208 Studierenden der öffentlichen Verwaltung, der Wirtschafts- und der Rechtswissenschaften durchgeführt. Anschließend wurden die Probanden zu ihren Risikoeinstellungen befragt. Die Daten zeigen, dass sich die Studierenden der öffentlichen Verwaltung selbst als risikoscheuer einschätzen als die Studierenden der Wirtschafts- und der Rechtswissenschaften, sich aber im Lotterie-Auswahl-Spiel nicht risikoscheuer verhalten. Diese Befunde legen nahe, dass die Risikoscheu zwar ein Merkmal des Rollen- und Selbstverständnisses öffentlich Beschäftigter ist, ohne dass sich dieses Merkmal in ihrem Entscheidungsverhalten niederschlägt.

Annual Meeting of the DVPW working group decision theory, 2013

Presenting a collaborative research project together with Markus Tepe employing a series of lab and lab-in-the-field experiments on subject pool effects regarding the micro-motives of public servants at the annual meeting of the DVPW working group decision theory (AK Handlungs- und Entscheidungstheory) in Munich/Germany in May 2013.