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I am an interdisciplinary economist interested in Public Economics, Public Administration, Behavior Economics and Social Psychology. My research projects focus on the prosocial motivations in different social contexts, applying conceptual, experimental, and survey methodologies to investigate how the complex and diverse interaction between psychological attributes and the social environment shape prosocial behaviour. 

Published Papers


Pro-social risk-taking involves the willingness to commit resources to initiatives and opportunities with a social benefit, as well as a risk of costly failure. These situations often occur in an environment in which groups compete for resources. In these contexts of intergroup conflict, often individuals make personal sacrifices on a voluntary basis, involving considerable risks of failure. We study the context of pro-social risk-taking and intergroup conflict by extending the volunteer’s dilemma along both of these dimensions. We introduce a novel group competition treatment to identify the effect of intergroup competition without providing with an additional collective prize like the majority of past laboratory experiments. We find evidence that intergroup competition significantly increases the volunteering rate of providing a public good, and mitigates the negative impact of risk on intragroup cooperation. Regarding individual heterogeneity, we explore and discuss the impact of risk aversion and gender, and its implication for parochial altruism.


We empirically examine the moral theory of Public Service Motivation (PSM) with data from a large online Dutch household panel. Inspired by Moral Foundation Theory, we develop and test several hypotheses on the role of moral foundations in shaping PSM, as well as the behavioral implications regarding participation in social organizations. The individualizing founda tions of Care and Fairness (jointly referred to as INDV) are found to posi tively relate to all four dimensions of PSM—Compassion (COM), Self-Sacrifice (SS), Attraction to Public Service (APS), and Commitment to Public Values (CPV). Moreover, PSM mediates the positive relationship between INDV and participation in humanitarian and environmental organizations. Sanctity is positively correlated with SS and APS, mediating the often-observed rela tionship between PSM and religious activities. Loyalty is significantly and positively associated with SS, with the correlations with other PSM dimen sions being gender-specific. Authority is significantly and negatively related to COM, SS, and APS. Overall, we provide empirical evidence on the influ ential role of moral foundations in engendering PSM and its behavioral consequences.


Public service-motivated individuals have a greater concern for the delivery of public services and for the societal consequence of collective inaction, seeing themselves play a pivotal role in upholding public goods. Such self-efficacy and perceived importance of public service jointly motivate individuals to commit to sacrificing for the common good. Using an incentivized laboratory experiment with 126 undergraduate and graduate students at a university in the Netherlands, we explore the association between self-reported public service motivation (PSM) and voluntary self-sacrifice under different task characteristics and social contexts in a Volunteer’s Dilemma game. We find that risk-taking and intergroup competition negatively moderate the positive effect of PSM on volunteering. The risky situation may reduce an individual’s self-efficacy in making meaningful sacrifice, and intergroup competition may divert attention away from the concern for society at large to the outcome of the competition, compromising the positive effect of PSM on the likelihood to self-sacrifice for the common good.


Morality constructs the relationship between the self and others, providing a sense of appropriateness that facilitates and coordinates social behaviors. We start from Moral Foundation Theory (MFT), and argue that multiple moral domains can shape the meaning of public service and engender Public Service Motivation (PSM). From the lens of cognitive science, we develop a causal map for PSM by understanding the social cognition process underlying PSM, focusing on five innate moralities as the potential antecedents of PSM: Care, Fairness, Authority, Loyalty, and Sanctity. Extending moral domains beyond compassion and justice can provide a disaggregated view of PSM, which may help to identify institutional and cultural variation in the meaning of PSM. We discuss the theoretical implications of synthesizing MFT and PSM literatures, and provide directions for future research that could improve our understanding of PSM.

Working Papers

Volunteering under Ambiguity


We extend volunteer’s dilemma to include ambiguity aversion in risk-taking and investigate the role of ambiguity attitude in volunteering behavior. This study will explore the relationships between risk attitudes, ambiguity aversion, and prosocial behaviors and the role of foreign language in affecting prosocial behaviors. We also aim to identify the causal mediation effects of risk attitudes and ambiguity aversion on volunteering behavior.

Scope of Open Innovation: Spillovers, Absorptive Capacity, and Incentives


Open innovation emphasizes knowledge flows between firms and how firms utilize external knowledge for innovation, but what explains the scope of open innovation? This paper studies a game-theoretic model where firms are vulnerable to opportunistic behaviors when collaborating innovation but are motivated by knowledge spillovers to open up their boundaries on purpose. Cognitive distance can affect firms' absorptive capacity to utilize the partner's knowledge, so the spatial patterns of external environment can influence firms' decision on engaging in open innovation and their range of collaboration. This paper predicts that collaboration is easier to be sustained in a moderate cognitive distance and that larger firms in terms of knowledge stocks exhibit the greater scope of open innovation. Moreover, this paper argues that the knowledge boundaries of the firm is spatially defined and shows how open innovation paradigm can be reinforced by the globalization of idea generation that innovation involves combinations of diverse disciplines, and why open innovation is predominant in knowledge-intensive industry or industrial clusters. 

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