The Centre for Experimental Social Sciences (CESS) was created by Nuffield College in February 2008. Its principal goal is to promote and facilitate experimental research by social scientists at the University of Oxford. Nuffield College has a strong commitment to promoting cross-disciplinary scholarship in the social sciences and it sees this experimental initiative as making a major contribution to this mandate. In order to accomplish this goal the CESS provides a number of services to the experimental community: experimental lab facilities; staff and facilities for designing and implementing online experiments; a fellowship and post-doc programme; and regular seminars and workshops.
The Centre’s Experimental Lab facilities are located at Nuffield College. The laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility with 25 fully partitioned work-stations and a separate experimenter’s office. It is designed to support a wide range of experiments including those in which subjects are entirely separated from other participants; experiments in which subjects interact with each others; and experimental games in which subjects communicate anonymously but in real time.
The laboratory is open for use by both university staff members and other interested parties. The CESS maintains a subject pool consisting of students from the universities in the Oxford area. In addition, the Centre actively recruits non-student subjects to its pool. It will also be available to the undergraduate and graduate student body at University of Oxford. The Social Sciences Division of the University of Oxford is a supporter of the CESS and all units of the Division are CESS associated departments. The facility houses the Centre’s post-docs and research fellows.
Since its foundation in Oxford, the CESS has since opened two further centres: the first in Santiago, Chile, in collaboration with the University of Santiago and the second in Pune, India, with FLAME University. These collaborations are an important milestone in the CESS initiative that Nuffield College envisioned when it created the Oxford Centre, fulfilling Nuffield College’s Governing Body’s expectation that the CESS would facilitate experimental social science research around the world. With three centres in three continents, CESS researchers have the opportunity to collaborate on an international level to design and implement experiments with a global reach.
The Bobst Center for Peace and Justice at Princeton University and the Social Science Experimental Laboratory (SSEL) at New York University Abu Dhabi are inviting social science PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior Assistant Professors in experimental social science to submit a paper/research design to the Winter Experimental Social Sciences Institute (WESSI) Workshop at New York University Abu Dhabi to[...]
Title By What Authority? Uncovering The Conditional Mandate from Referendums in EU Membership Decisions Abstract A virtue of democratic decision-making procedures is that the foundations in which decisions are made are thought to enhance the legitimacy of the decision. We study the nuances of this assumption and ask under what conditions democratic decisions are seen as legitimate in the eyes[...]
Title Learning in Categories and the Attention Constraints of Investors Abstract Investment based on asset categories (aka style investing) is considered a cause of major financial anomalies, such as the abnormal stock price gains of companies that changed to dotcom names during the Internet bubble without other changes in strategy. However, the reasons for this categorical behavior are unclear. In this project, we[...]
Title Overreaction in Macroeconomic Expectations (w/ Nicola Gennaioli, Yueran Ma, Andrei Shleifer) Abstract We examine the rationality of individual and consensus professional forecasts of macroeconomic and financial variables using the methodology of Coibion and Gorodnichenko (2015), which focuses on the predictability of forecast errors from earlier forecast revisions. We document two principal findings: at the individual level, forecasters typically over-react[...]
Title Correcting cognitive biases through Brief Information Provision Abstract This paper sets out a debiasing strategy based on Brief Information Provision (BIP), and tests its effectiveness in debiasing the Anchoring Bias, Availability Bias, Optimism Bias, and Present Bias, four of the key cognitive biases involved in the consumption of negative externalities such as cigarettes and fast foods. A BIP debiasing[...]