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David Kingsley

David C. Kingsley, Ph.D. Assistant Professor


Experimental Economics, Environmental Economics, Public Policy

Research Interest

Kingsley is a behavioral economist who investigates strategic decision making using lab experiments. Much of his work considers decision making within social dilemmas –public goods and common pool resources. Such markets often fail because what is in the self-interest of the individual is at odds with what is in the interest of the group. His research explores the types of institutions (rules) groups are willing to self-impose to induce cooperative behavior. His research has been funded by the U.S. Forest Service and the International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics and has been published in the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, Applied Economics Letters, Journal of Public Economics, Land Economics, Economics Bulletin, Journal of Environmental Economics Policy and Economics Letters.

Educational Background

Ph.D. in Economics, University of Colorado at Boulder

M.A. in Economics, University of Colorado at Boulder
B.S. in Business, Univresity of New Hampshire at Durham


"My current research explores the cooperation of individuals in social dilemma experiments. In these experiments what is best for the individual is at odds with what is best for the group (e.g in public goods experiment free-riding is in the best interest of the individual but harms the group). The implication is that in order to maximize the groups welfare individuals must cooperate. In the absence of cooperation groups may elect to create an institution in order to enhance cooperation. I am interested in how groups choose between these institutions which can maintain self-governance or the creation of central authority. What I find interesting is that the creation of a central authority implies that the group is willing to cede power to this central authority."