Field Experiments, Risk, and Uncertainty in Development
February 3, 2014 – February 7, 2014
University of Cape Town, South Africa
The Center for the Economic Analysis of Risk (CEAR) at Georgia State University and the Research Unit in Behavioural Economics and Neuroeconomics (RUBEN) at the University of Cape Town will be jointly hosting a five day training workshop on the use of field experiments in development, with an emphasis on the role of risk and uncertainty. The primary theme of the workshop is the need for tight connections between theory, experimental design, and econometric method. Topics to be covered during the workshop include:
- Experimental methods: randomized control and measurement
- Laboratory and field experiments
- Estimating risk preferences
- Estimating intertemporal risk preferences
- Inferring risk perceptions
- Risk, uncertainty and ambiguity
- Calibrating hypothetical surveys with real experimental choices
This workshop is intended to support the training of African researchers in world-class experimental economics research, and at the same time to facilitate research collaboration with leading behavioural and experimental economics researchers on African issues. The workshop will take the form of structured lectures combined with practical sessions illustrating the development of research instruments and the analysis of results from these instruments.
These workshops will alternate in their focus from year to year. Last year the emphasis was on the econometric analysis of results from pre-designed field experiments. This year the emphasis is on the design and implementation of field experiments, with a smaller component on the econometric evaluation of results. The two emphases are intended to be complementary, so participants from the 2013 workshop are free to apply for the 2014 workshop.
Among the most important variables affecting outcomes in microeconomic development initiatives among vulnerable groups are attitudes to risk and attitudes to the cost of waiting. The evaluation of any proposed policy to help people respond to uncertainty should take into account the aversion that some may have to risk, the subjective beliefs about risk, the manner in which risk-coping strategies might confound expectations of planners and agencies about future outcomes, and the extent to which intended beneficiaries of programs are able and willing to bear costs of waiting. Many of the problems of development in Africa can be attributed, in large part, to (reasonable) aversion to risk, fear of losses, and unwillingness to invest in projects that have higher returns but over longer horizons. Yet, until now, the skills to empirically measure and test the effects of risk and uncertainty on development outcomes have not been generally available to African scholars.
The Research Unit in Behavioural Economics and Neuroeconomics (RUBEN) at the University of Cape Town and the Center for the Economic Analysis of Risk (CEAR) at Georgia State University will be jointly hosting a six day training workshop on cutting edge empirical methods used in estimating individual attitudes towards risk and time. The primary theme of the workshop is the need for tight connections between theory, experimental design, and econometric method.
For more information on RUBEN see http://www.ruben.uct.ac.za