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Essays on Auctions, Conflict, and Social Networks

  • Author(s): Caldara, Michael Andrew
  • Advisor(s): McBride, Michael
  • et al.
Abstract

The broad objective of this dissertation is to understand human behavior in large group interactions. More narrowly, I apply game theory and experimental methods to three distinct settings: pay-to-bid auctions, strategic network formation, and stateless societies. In each case, I study the relationship between individual behavior and group outcomes. These seemingly unrelated settings do share several elements in common: (1) groups are relatively large, (2) groups benefit from cooperation, and (3) individual incentives are misaligned, potentially leading to adversarial interactions (i.e., conflict). Additionally, each of the three studies, detailed in Chapters 2, 3, and 4 respectively, makes a stand-alone contribution to understanding its topic with implications for future research. Thus, the contribution of this dissertation is twofold: the contribution of each individual Chapter to its subject and the collective contribution of all Chapters to understanding large group interactions.

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