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1. Kamei, Kenju. Essays in Experimental Political Economy.

Degree: PhD, Economics, 2011, Brown University

I study experimentally (1) the impacts that a democratic process has on people?s behaviors and (2) the endogenous formation of institutions in social dilemmas.The democratic process of collective decision-making may change individuals? behaviors in various areas that extend beyond the immediate decision issue. I use a novel experimental design, in which each individual faces either two undemocratic implementation processes or one democratic and one undemocratic implementation process of a mild sanction policy before they simultaneously play two social dilemma games. Subjects that participated in democratic decision-making in one group not only contributed significantly more in that group but also contributed significantly more in other undemocratic groups, relative to subjects who did not participate in any democratic decision-making.My study of endogenous formation of formal institutions was carried out jointly with Professors Louis Putterman and Jean-Robert Tyran.We, first, study the formal sanction schemes in social dilemmas. The burgeoning literature on the use of sanctions to support public goods provision has largely neglected the use of formal sanctions. We let subjects playing a linear public goods game vote on the parameters of a formal sanction scheme capable of either resolving or exacerbating the free-rider problem, depending on parameter settings. Most groups quickly learned to choose parameters inducing efficient outcomes.Second, we study the choices between the formal scheme and the informal scheme in social dilemmas. The sanctioning of norm-violating behavior by an effective formal authority is theoretically an efficient solution for social dilemmas. It is in the self-interest of voters, and is often favorably contrasted with letting citizens take punishment into their own hands. Allowing informal sanctions, by contrast, not only comes with a danger that punishments will be misapplied, but also should have no efficiency benefit under standard assumptions of self-interested agents. We experimentally investigate the relative effectiveness of formal versus informal sanctions in the voluntary provision of public goods. Unsurprisingly, we find that effective formal sanctions are popular and efficient when they are free to impose. Surprisingly, however, we find that informal sanctions are often more popular and more efficient when effective formal sanctions entail a modest cost. Advisors/Committee Members: Pedro, Dal B? (Director), Louis, Putterman (Director), Brian, Knight (Reader).

Subjects/Keywords: experiment

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APA (6th Edition):

Kamei, K. (2011). Essays in Experimental Political Economy. (Doctoral Dissertation). Brown University. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Kamei, Kenju. “Essays in Experimental Political Economy.” 2011. Doctoral Dissertation, Brown University. Accessed February 18, 2019.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Kamei, Kenju. “Essays in Experimental Political Economy.” 2011. Web. 18 Feb 2019.


Kamei K. Essays in Experimental Political Economy. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. Brown University; 2011. [cited 2019 Feb 18]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Kamei K. Essays in Experimental Political Economy. [Doctoral Dissertation]. Brown University; 2011. Available from: