David Huffman received his B.A. from Oberlin College in 1996, graduating with High Honors in Economics. In August, 2003 he completed his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Most of his research lies at the intersection of three fields, Behavioral Economics, Experimental Economics, and Labor Economics. Specific research interests include: the impact of loss aversion on labor supply; conflict and cooperation between social groups; measurement of individual preferences including risk, time, and social preference; the role of self-confidence in search processes; the political acceptability of workfare; the role of emotion in decision making.

David joined IZA as a Research Associate in September 2003, became a Senior Research Associate in September 2006. He has continued to be affiliated with IZA as a Research Fellow since he moved to Swarthmore College as an Assistant Professor in January 2008, and became a tenured Associate Professor in 2013.

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Publications

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9674

This paper presents an experimentally validated survey module to measure six key economic preferences – risk aversion, discounting, trust, altruism, positive and negative reciprocity – in a reliable, parsimonious and cost-effective way. The survey instruments included in the module were the best predictors of preferences revealed in incentivized choice experiments....

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9504

This paper presents the Global Preference Survey, a globally representative dataset on risk and time preferences, positive and negative reciprocity, altruism, and trust. We collected these preference data as well as a rich set of covariates for 80,000 individuals, drawn as representative samples from 76 countries around the world, representing...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 6385

We compare different designs that have been used to test for an impact of time horizon on discounting, using real incentives and two representative data sets. With the most commonly used type of design we replicate the typical finding of declining (hyperbolic) discounting, but with other designs find constant or...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 5189
revised version published as 'Competition Between Organizational Groups: Its Impact on Altruistic and Anti-Social Motivations' in: Management Science, 2012, 58 (5), 948-960

We investigate how group boundaries, and the economic environment surrounding groups, affect altruistic cooperation and punishment behavior. Our study uses experiments conducted with 525 officers in the Swiss Army, and exploits random assignment to platoons. We find that, without competition between groups, individuals are more prone to cooperate altruistically in...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 5001
substantially revised version published in: Review of Economic Studies, 2014, 81(1), 30-56

We analyze the impact of imperfect contract enforcement on the emergence of unemployment. In an experimental labor market where trading parties can form long-term employment relationships, we compare a work environment where effort is observable, but not verifiable to a situation where explicit contracts are feasible. Our main result shows...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 4170
published in: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2009, 72 (3), 903-915

Many economic decisions involve a substantial amount of uncertainty, and therefore crucially depend on how individuals process probabilistic information. In this paper, we investigate the capability for probability judgment in a representative sample of the German population. Our results show that almost a third of the respondents exhibits systematically biased...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 3939
published in: American Economic Review, 2011, 101 (2), 470-492

A key open question for theories of reference-dependent preferences is what determines the reference point. One candidate is expectations: what people expect could affect how they feel about what actually occurs. In a real-effort experiment, we manipulate the rational expectations of subjects and check whether this manipulation influences their effort...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 3435
revised version published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2015, 33 (3), 571-590

We provide evidence on how two important types of institutions – dismissal barriers, and bonus pay – affect contract enforcement behavior in a market with incomplete contracts and repeated interactions. Dismissal barriers are shown to have a strong negative impact on worker performance, and market efficiency, by interfering with firms'...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 2735
revised version published in: American Economic Review, 2010, 100 (3), 1238–1260

Is the way that people make risky choices, or tradeoffs over time, related to cognitive ability? This paper investigates whether there is a link between cognitive ability, risk aversion, and impatience, using a representative sample of the population and incentive compatible measures. We conduct choice experiments measuring risk aversion, and...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 2655
published in: Review of Economics and Statistics, 2010, 92(3), 684–689

Geographic mobility is important for the functioning of labor markets because it brings labor resources to where they can be most efficiently used. It has long been hypothesized that individuals' migration propensities depend on their attitudes towards risk, but the empirical evidence, to the extent that it exists, has been...

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