Steffen Altmann is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Copenhagen. He studied Economics at the University of Mannheim and received his Ph.D. from the University of Bonn in 2009. Before joining the University of Copenhagen, he worked at IZA as a Resident Research Affiliate (2005-2007), Research Associate (2007-2010), and Senior Research Associate (2010-2014). From 2007 until 2014, he also served as Deputy Program Director for IZA's research program area "Behavioral and Personnel Economics".

His research interests include behavioral and experimental economics as well as labor and organizational economics. In his research, he investigates how psychological motives and economic incentives shape workplace behavior and aggregate labor market outcomes. He is also interested in applying insights from behavioral economics to questions in public policy.

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Publications

IZA Discussion Paper No. 11129

This paper studies the interplay between deadlines and cognitive limitations. We analyze an agent's decision to complete a one-off task under a deadline. Postponing the task can be beneficial for the agent; missing the deadline, however, leads to a drop in the agent's rewards. If the agent exhibits cognitive limitations,...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9040
forthcoming in: Journal of Public Economics

We conduct a large-scale field experiment in the German labor market to investigate how information provision affects job seekers' employment prospects and labor market outcomes. Individuals assigned to the treatment group of our experiment received a brochure that informed them about job search strategies and the consequences of unemployment, and...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 8680

We study how website defaults affect consumer behavior in the domain of charitable giving. In a field experiment that was conducted on a large platform for making charitable donations over the web, we exogenously vary the default options in two distinct choice dimensions. The first pertains to the primary donation...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 7610

The behavioral relevance of non-binding default options is well established. While most research has focused on decision makers' responses to a given default, we argue that this individual decision making perspective is incomplete. Instead, a comprehensive understanding of the foundation of default effects requires taking account of the strategic interaction...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 6699
revised version published in: European Economic Review, 2014, 72, 19-38

We implement a randomized field experiment to study the impact of reminders on dental health prevention. Patients who are due for a check-up receive no reminder, a neutral reminder postcard, or reminders including additional information on the benefits of prevention. Our results document a strong impact of reminders. Within one...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 5727
published in: Analyse & Kritik, 2011, 33(1), 325-347

In this paper, we discuss recent evidence from economic experiments that study the impact of social preferences on workplace behavior. We focus on situations in which a single employer interacts with multiple employees. Traditionally, equity and efficiency have been seen as opposing aims in such work environments: individual pay-for-performance schemes...

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. 4262
published in: Journal of the European Economic Association, 2010, 8(6), 1299-1324

We study how different payment modes influence the effectiveness of gift exchange as a contract enforcement device. In particular, we analyze how horizontal fairness concerns affect performance and efficiency in an environment characterized by contractual incompleteness. In our experiment, one principal is matched with two agents. The principal pays equal...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 3835
revised and extended version published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2012, 30 (1), 149-174

Promotion tournaments play an important role for the provision of incentives in firms. In this paper, we extend research on single-stage rank-order tournaments and analyze behavior in multi-stage elimination tournaments. The main treatment of our laboratory experiment is a two-stage tournament in which equilibrium efforts are the same in both...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 3010
published in: Economics Letters, 2008, 99 (3), 454-457

We study the intrapersonal relationship between trust and reciprocity in a laboratory experiment. Reciprocal subjects trust significantly more than selfish ones. This finding raises questions about theories of social preferences which predict that “fairer” players should trust less.

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