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Economy - United-States

Contact details

Research topics



Influence is a central concept to the study of organizations. The hierarchical nature of organizations structurally enforces an imbalance of power. Executives hold authority over organizational decisions and have strong incentives to maintain that status. Workers at lower levels may lack this power, but are motivated to pursue promotion to higher levels. Additionally, they will seek to improve their status among colleagues in their group. Thus, we can identify three channels of influence within organizations; top-down channels allow managers to exert authority, bottom-up channels allow workers to ingratiate themselves to management, and horizontal channels allow for rank or status among one’s peers.
In this project, we explore these channels of influence by studying ways in which individuals try to improve or maintain their standing. Specifically, we focus on those behaviors that benefit an individual at the expense of the organization. For example, an employee may regularly stay late at work to make others see them as hard-working, but spend their time inefficiently or on leisure activities. A manager may likewise seek to project authority by manipulating information, or take credit for beneficial events that were outside their control.
Theoretical research allows us to form predictions in these situations. Empirical evidence is critical to improving theory and applicability to real organizational behavior. Field studies in functioning organizations are fraught with challenges, including selection problems, endogeneity issues, and history-dependent choices. Controlled experiments help resolve these issues, and convey other benefits such as randomization and close control of the decision environment.
We use experimental methodology to study channels of organizational influence. We propose to develop both field and laboratory experiments, for which faculty at EM-Lyon and GATE, as well as resources at the GATE-Lab, will provide critical support.

Activities / Resume


John Hamman is an associate professor of economics at Florida State University whose interdisciplinary research interests lie in behavioral economics, organizational behavior, and political economy. His work seeks to integrate psychological and political science insights into standard economic and game theoretic environments. Within this broad area, he uses controlled laboratory experiments to study decision making in hierarchies, group decision making, and delegation in organizations. His work has been published in economics and political science journals, including the American Economic Review and the American Journal of Political Science. Professor Hamman received his doctorate in behavioral decision research from Carnegie Mellon University.


  • “Solving Coordination Failure with All-or-None Group Level Incentives”, Experimental Economics, 2007 – with Scott Rick and Roberto Weber
  • “Self-Interest through Delegation: An Alternative Rationale for the Principal-Agent Relationship”, American Economic Review, 2010 – with George Loewenstein and Roberto Weber
  • “An Experimental Investigation of Electoral Delegation and the Provision of Public Goods”, American Journal of Political Science, 2011 – with Roberto Weber and Jonathan Woon
  • “Intermediaries in Corruption: An Experiment”, Experimental Economics, 2014 – with Mikhail Drugov and Danila Serra
  • “Dependency Status and Social Insurance: An Experimental Investigation”, Political Science Research and Methods, 2016 – with John Ahlquist and Bradley Jones
  • “Delegated Bargaining Under Relational Incentives: An Experimental Study”, Journal of the Economic Science Association, 2016 – with Amy Choy, Ron King, and Roberto Weber
  • “Market Interaction and Pro-Social Behavior: An Experimental Study”, Southern Economic Journal, 2017 – with Sean Collins and John Lightle