Ned Augenblick

University of California, Berkeley
Haas School of Business
EAP Group
545 Student Services Building, 1900
Berkeley, CA 94720-1900
Tel: 650-804-5281

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Institutional Affiliation: University of California at Berkeley

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2020Group Testing in a Pandemic: The Role of Frequent Testing, Correlated Risk, and Machine Learning
with Jonathan T. Kolstad, Ziad Obermeyer, Ao Wang: w27457
Group testing increases efficiency by pooling patient specimens and clearing the entire group with one negative test. Optimal grouping strategy is well studied in one-off testing scenarios with reasonably well-known prevalence rates and no correlations in risk. We discuss how the strategy changes in a pandemic environment with repeated testing, rapid local infection spread, and highly uncertain risk. First, repeated testing mechanically lowers prevalence at the time of the next test. This increases testing efficiency, such that increasing frequency by x times only increases expected tests by around √x rather than x. However, this calculation omits a further benefit of frequent testing: infected people are quickly removed from the population, which lowers prevalence and generates further effi...
January 2013Working Over Time: Dynamic Inconsistency in Real Effort Tasks
with Muriel Niederle, Charles Sprenger: w18734
Experimental tests of dynamically inconsistent time preferences have largely relied on choices over time-dated monetary rewards. Several recent studies have failed to find the standard patterns of time inconsistency. However, such monetary studies contain often discussed confounds. In this paper, we sidestep these confounds and investigate choices over consumption (real effort) in a longitudinal experiment. We pair those effort choices with a companion monetary discounting study. We confirm very limited time inconsistency in monetary choices. However, subjects show considerably more present bias in effort. Furthermore, present bias in the allocation of work has predictive power for demand of a meaningfully binding commitment device. Therefore our findings validate a key implication of mode...

Published: Working Over Time: Dynamic Inconsistency in Real Effort Tasks* Ned Augenblick†, Muriel Niederle‡ and Charles Sprenger§ The Quarterly Journal of Economics (2015) doi: 10.1093/qje/qjv020

December 2012The Economics of Faith: Using an Apocalyptic Prophecy to Elicit Religious Beliefs in the Field
with Jesse M. Cunha, Ernesto Dal Bó, Justin M. Rao: w18641
We model religious faith as a "demand for beliefs," following the logic of the Pascalian wager. We then demonstrate how an experimental intervention can exploit standard elicitation techniques to measure religious belief by varying prizes associated with making choices contrary to one's belief in a, crucially, falsifiable religious proposition. We implemented this approach with a group that expected the "End of the World" to happen on May 21, 2011 by offering prizes payable before and after May 21st. The results suggest the existence of a demand for extreme, sincere beliefs that was unresponsive to experimental manipulations in price.

Published: Ned Augenblick & Jesse M. Cunha & Ernesto Dal Bó & Justin M. Rao, 2016. "The economics of faith: using an apocalyptic prophecy to elicit religious beliefs in the field," Journal of Public Economics, vol 141, pages 38-49. citation courtesy of

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