Some people engage in socially disruptive behaviour on their own, such as when they free-ride on paying taxes. Others cooperate with others though when they are socially disruptive: cronyism, corruption, nepotism, gangsterism, and favouritism are all examples of cooperative behaviour that benefits a clique but comes at the expense of larger organisations and societies. How does such socially detrimental cooperation arise and is it done by the same people who would be disruptive on their own? What adverse consequences does it have for other members of society? What can be done to counter such behaviour?
An international team of top scholars at the University of New South Wales, the University of Queensland, and Duke University has obtained an Australian Research Council Discovery grant to find out. Fully funded PhD scholarships are available for students interested in these questions.
Students would be involved in devising and running laboratory experiments, as well as possibly running field experiments in developing countries. There will also be opportunities to help construct theoretical models of clique formation in diverse contexts, and to conduct micro-econometric modelling of the incidence and consequences of undesirable cooperation. Outcomes of interest might include output, income, mental health, happiness, social cohesion, job mobility, and entrepreneurship.
Successful applicants will need to have at a minimum an undergraduate degree with Honours in economics, good written English, and excellent analytical skills. Proven interests in experiments, panel data econometrics, micro-models, and/or behavioural economics are desirable. Willingness to travel internationally and conduct research in developing countries would also be beneficial.
Students would be based in Sydney, though supervision would be shared with the University of Queensland. PhD scholarships of up to AUD$30,000 per year for 3 years are available.