Keynote speakers > Marie-Claire Villeval

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© Marie-Claire Villeval's website

Marie-Claire Villeval earned her Ph.D from University Paris X - Nanterre in 1983. She is a Research Professor at CNRS (in which she has been appointed in 1982), a Research Associate of the University of Innsbruck (Austria), a Research Fellow of IZA (Germany), a member of the French Committee of Minimum Wage and the Director of GATE-Lab. She is also founding President and Honorary President of the French Association of Experimental Economics (ASFEE).

Her work has been published not only in specialized journals of experimental and behavioral economics (e.g. Experimental Economics, Journal of Economic Psychology…) but also in the best generalist economic journals (American Economic Review, Management Science, Journal of Public Economics, European Economic Review…) and beyond (Science, Nature). A global expert in experimental and behavioral economics, Marie Claire Villeval has played a major role in the development of research in this field in France, dealing more particularly with the importance of social preferences, incentives and moral standards in the economic choices of individuals. She founded the GATE-Lab in 2014, which she has been supervising ever since. The goal of this world-leading experimental platform is to enable researchers to conduct a wide range of decision-making studies using behavioral and physiological measures.

She is an editor, or associate editor, of the leading journals of experimental and behavioral economics (Experimental Economics, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization).

Noticeable distinctions: Marie Claire Villeval is Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, Silver medal from the CNRS, and Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite. She is a member of the Academia Europaea, the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) and the Cortex Laboratory of Excellence.

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Paper

"Unethical behavior, market mechanisms and punishment"

Abstract: While some behavioral economists highlight the responsibility of market mechanisms in the erosion of moral values, others suggest that these mechanisms could help root out fraud. In particular, can fraudulent announcements by informed players designed to deceive uninformed agents be mitigated by reputation and by the introduction of standard market mechanisms? Using laboratory experiments, we show that when feedback is imperfect, reputation and the associated threat of punishment in competitive markets reduce fraud and change the nature of lies but they cannot eliminate the negative effect of competition on ethics. However, in other cases, uninformed agents are willing to engage in the strategic ignorance of inconvenient information in order to avoid having to sacrifice for behaving ethically. Investigating the interpersonal aspects of willful ignorance, we show that market mechanisms also facilitate selective information acquisition. In such a competitive market for ethical information where decision makers have the power to punish advisors that provide informative messages, most advisors suppress ethically relevant information. The inability of market mechanisms to curb unethical behavior justifies the implementation of formal policies to sanction violations. However, the assessment of these policies is usually biased because their indirect effects are ignored. Using a field experiment, we show the importance of measuring the spillover effects of these policies on intrinsic honesty across contexts.

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