Jingjing Zhang is an Associate Professor of Economics at the UTS Business School. The unifying theme of her research is applying experimental methods to design better institutions for voting and committee decisions, rent-seeking contests, resource allocations, collective decision-making under risk, auctions, and matching. She has published in top journals including The Economic Journal, Games and Economic Behavior, Experimental Economics, etc.. She was awarded grants from the Australian Research Council, U.S. National Science Foundation, Swiss National Science Foundation, etc. She is the Director of the UTS Behavioral Lab. For more information, please check out her Personal website.
Can supervise: YES
Buckley, N, Mestelman, S, Muller, A, Schott, S & Zhang, J 2018, 'The Effects of Communication on the Partnership Solution to the Commons', Environmental and Resource Economics, vol. 70, no. 2, pp. 363-380.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Organizing individual appropriators into output sharing groups has been found to effectively solve the tragedy of the commons problem. We experimentally investigate the robustness of this solution by introducing different channels of communication that naturally arise from group competitions. In the absence of communication, we confirm that output sharing can introduce sufficient free riding to offset over-harvesting and results in full efficiency. Allowing local communication within output-sharing groups substantially decreases this efficiency enhancement because it reduces free riding and boosts between-group competition. Yet the efficiency level is still significantly higher than that achieved when global communication is allowed among all appropriators in a conventional common pool resource without output sharing. The efficiency-reducing effect of local communication is mitigated when random partners instead of fixed partners are sharing output over time, and is nearly eliminated when random partners are formed with users who belong to different communication groups.
Previous experiments based on the 11–20 game have produced evidence for the level-k model with observed levels of strategic thinking consistently ranging from 0 to 3. Our baseline treatment uses the 11–20 game and replicates previous results. We apply four models of strategic thinking to the baseline-treatment data and use these to predict behaviour and beliefs in five other treatments that employ games with a very similar structure. The best predictive performance is achieved by models that incorporate ‘common knowledge of noise’. A model of noisy introspection, which does so, predicts behaviour remarkably well.
Cason, T, Sheremeta, R & Zhang, J 2017, 'Asymmetric and Endogenous Communication in Competition Between Groups', Experimental Economics, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 946-972.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Within-group communication in competitive coordination games has been shown to increase competition between groups and lower efficiency. This study further explores potentially harmful effects of communication, by addressing the questions of (1) asymmetric communication and (2) the endogenous emergence of communication. Our theoretical analysis provides testable hypotheses regarding the effect of communication on competitive behavior and efficiency. We test these predictions using a laboratory experiment. The experiment shows that although asymmetric communication is not as harmful as symmetric communication, it leads to more aggressive competition and lower efficiency relative to the case when neither group can communicate. Moreover, groups vote to endogenously establish communication channels even though they would earn higher payoffs if jointly they chose to restrict within-group communication.
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.We compare two mechanisms to implement a simple binary choice, e.g. adopt one of two proposals. We show that when neither alternative is ex ante preferred, simple majority voting cannot implement the first best outcome. We introduce a simple bidding mechanism where votes can be bought at a quadratic cost and voters receive rebates equal to the average of others' payments. This mechanism is budget-balanced, individually rational, and fully efficient in the limit. Moreover, the mechanism redistributes from those that gain from the outcome to those that lose and . everyone is better off under bidding compared to voting. We test the two mechanisms in the lab using an environment with moderate and extremist voters. The observed efficiency losses under voting are close to theoretical predictions and significantly larger than under bidding. Because of redistribution, the efficiency gain from bidding benefits mostly the moderate voters.
Casari, M, Zhang, J & Jackson, C 2016, 'Same process, different outcomes: group performance in an acquiring a company experiment', Experimental Economics, vol. 19, pp. 764-791.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2015 Economic Science Association It is still an open question when groups perform better than individuals in intellective tasks. We report that in an Acquiring a Company game, what prevailed when there was disagreement among group members was the median proposal and not the best proposal. This aggregation rule explains why groups underperformed with respect to a “truth wins” benchmark and why they performed better than individuals deciding in isolation in a simple version of the task but worse in the more difficult version. Implications are drawn on when to employ groups rather than individuals in decision making.
Charness and Dufwenberg (Am. Econ. Rev. 101(4):1211-1237, 2011) have recently demonstrated that cheap-talk communication raises efficiency in bilateral contracting situations with adverse selection. We replicate their main finding and extend their design to include competition between agents. We find that communication and competition act as "substitutes:" communication raises efficiency in the absence of competition but not with competition, and competition raises efficiency without communication but lowers efficiency with communication. We briefly review some behavioral theories that have been proposed in this context and show that each can explain some but not all features of the observed data patterns. Our findings highlight the fragility of cheap-talk communication and may serve as a guide to refine existing behavioral theories. © 2013 Economic Science Association.
We examine behavior in a three-player trust game in which the first player may invest in the second and the second may invest in the third. Any amount sent from one player to the next is tripled. The third player decides the final allocation among three players. The baseline treatment with no communication shows that the first and second players send significant amounts and the third player reciprocates. Allowing insider communication between the second and the third players increases cooperation between these two. Interestingly, there is an external effect of insider communication: the first player who is outside communication sends 54% more and receives 289% more than in the baseline treatment. As a result, insider communication increases efficiency from 44% to 68%. © 2013 Western Economic Association International.
Cason, TN, Sheremeta, RM & Zhang, J 2012, 'Communication and efficiency in competitive coordination games', GAMES AND ECONOMIC BEHAVIOR, vol. 76, no. 1, pp. 26-43.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This study reports an experiment that examines whether groups can better comply with theoretical predictions than individuals in contests. Our experiment replicates previous findings that individual players significantly overbid relative to theoretical predictions, incurring substantial losses. There is high variance in individual bids and strong heterogeneity across individual players. The new findings of our experiment are that groups make 25% lower bids, their bids have lower variance, and group bids are less heterogeneous than individual bids. Therefore, groups receive significantly higher and more homogeneous payoffs than individuals. We elicit individual and group preferences toward risk using simple lotteries. The results indicate that groups make less risky decisions, which are possible explanations for lower bids in contests. Most importantly, we find that groups learn to make lower bids from communication and negotiation between group members. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.
Buckley, NJ, Mestelman, S, Muller, RA, Rogers, M, Schott, S & Zhang, J 2016, 'Appropriation from a common pool resource: effects of the characteristics of the common pool resource, the appropriators and the existence of communication' in World Scientific Reference on Natural Resources and Environmental Policy in the Era of Global Change, pp. 15-42.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2017 by World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. There is a growing literature that studies the management of Common Pool Resources (CPRs) within the context of controlled laboratory experiments. A major thesis of this work is that non-binding communication (cheap talk) among appropriators of the commons may be sufficient to permit them to manage the commons efficiently without requiring an outside regulator. In this chapter we compare three CPR environments in controlled laboratory sessions with and without non-binding communication. We identify the nature of the differences across the environments and propose several new environments that may support a conjecture that cognitive differences induced by the framing of the sessions leads to the differences we find. Our results suggest that the success of nonbinding communication in reducing over-appropriation from a CPR may be dependent upon the characteristics of the CPR's yield function, the nature of the communication and the number of appropriators.
Zhang, J, Buckley, N, Mestelman, S, Muller, RA, Rogers, M & Schott, S 2014, 'Appropriation from a Common Pool Resource: Effects of the Characteristics of the Common Pool Resource, the Appropriators and the Existence of Communication', Atlantic Canada Economics Association Conference, Nova Scotia, Canada.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Zhang, J, Buckley, N, Mestelman, S, Muller, RA & Schott, S 2012, 'How does Communication and Output Sharing Affect Intergroup Competition, Intragroup Effort Provision and Social Efficiency?', European Association of Environmental and Resource Economics Conference, Prague, Czech Republic.
Zhang, J, Buckley, N, Mestelman, S, Muller, RA & Schott, S 1970, 'Shut Up and Fish: The Role of Communication when Output-Sharing is used to Manage a Common-Pool Resource', Atlantic Canada Economics Association Conference.
© 2017, Economic Science Association. Within-group communication in competitive coordination games has been shown to increase competition between groups and lower efficiency. This study further explores potentially harmful effects of communication, by addressing the questions of (1) asymmetric communication and (2) the endogenous emergence of communication. Our theoretical analysis provides testable hypotheses regarding the effect of communication on competitive behavior and efficiency. We test these predictions using a laboratory experiment. The experiment shows that although asymmetric communication is not as harmful as symmetric communication, it leads to more aggressive competition and lower efficiency relative to the case when neither group can communicate. Moreover, groups vote to endogenously establish communication channels even though they would earn higher payoffs if jointly they chose to restrict within-group communication.
Sheremeta, R & Zhang, J, 'Multi-Level Trust Game with “Insider” Communication'.
This experiment studies the internal and external effects of communication in a multilevel trust game. In this trust game, the first player can send any part of his endowment to the second player. The amount sent gets tripled. The second player decides how much to send to the third player. The amount is again tripled, and the third player then decides the allocation among the three players. The baseline treatment with no communication shows that the first and second players send significant amounts and the third player reciprocates. When we allow
communication only between the second and third players, the amounts sent and returned between these two increase. The new interesting finding is that there are external effects of communication: the first player who is outside communication sends 60% more and receives 140% more than in the no communication treatment. As a result, social welfare and efficiency increase from 48% to 73%.