J. Lucas Reddinger

  • Ph.D. Economics Candidate, U. California, Santa Barbara
  • Researcher, U. Wisconsin, La Crosse
  • Behavioral and Experimental Economics
  • Labor Economics
  • Applied Microeconomic Theory (Decision Theory)

Curriculum vita: Updated 12 January 2022

Email: lreddinger@uwlax.edu   [PGP 0x4D445E28]

JLR Portrait


“Temptation: Immediacy and Certainty”

Is an option is especially tempting when it is both immediate and certain? To study the effect of risk on present bias, I conduct an online experiment in which workers allocate about thirty minutes of real-effort tasks between two weeks. I compare choices made two days before the first workday against choices made when work is imminent. In baseline treatments, one choice is randomly implemented; meanwhile, one treatment implements a particular allocation with certainty. By assuming that effort costs are not affected by the mechanism (and thus independent of risk preferences), my novel design permits estimation of present bias using a decision with a consequence both immediate and certain. I find the average intensity of present bias is far greater under certainty than under risk. I find no evidence that present bias is more pervasive among individuals, suggesting instead that present-biased individuals become more myopic.

“Can theories of social identity help increase uptake of a COVID-19 vaccine?”

To end the COVID-19 pandemic without millions of deaths, the United States needs very high uptake of a vaccine. We hypothesized that we can apply theories of social identity to design targeted messaging to more effectively reduce vaccine hesitancy among highly-resistant subpopulations, such as African Americans and political conservatives. Our messages present risks of COVID-19 to oneself, risks to others, an endorsement of the vaccine by a celebrity, and benefits of the vaccine. We test whether respondents report greater intent to take a hypothetical vaccine after receiving messages with greater extent of customization to their demographic segment. We find no support for the hypothesis that customized messages or endorsers may reduce vaccine hesitancy among our segments of interest. We find suggestive evidence that a vaccine endorsement from Dr. Fauci reduces stated intent to vaccinate among conservatives.

“Wage Policies, Incentive Schemes, and Motivation”

We review experimental and field evidence of how effort and performance in the labor market is affected by financial incentives and non-monetary motivators. Especially small incentives may crowd-out intrinsic motivation, while large incentives may cause choking. A wide variety of social preferences affect labor supply, including gift exchange, fairness, and reciprocity.

Work in progress

“Prosocial motivation for COVID-19 vaccination”

We test whether prosocial behavior in economic games predicts COVID-19 vaccination.

“Idiosyncratic rational inattention”

We present behavioral biases that occur in a variety of common learning environments.

Cows at pasture in Santa Ynez valley, on Ektar film.
Cows at pasture in Santa Ynez valley, on Ektar film.

About me

I was born and raised in Wyoming and Montana. Some of my favorite places include the Beartooth and Bighorn Mountains, and the entire Absaroka region—all in the vicinity of Yellowstone National Park, which my family simply called “the park.” I studied philosophy, economics, and mathematics as an undergraduate at Montana State University in Bozeman.

I independently learned about web engineering (various programming languages, database systems, and operating systems) in my younger years. I took a challenging and rewarding web development contract with a start-up after my undergraduate program. Once I completed my Master's degree in economics at Montana State University in Bozeman, I worked full-time as a professional software engineer.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to return to academia and pursue my Ph.D. in economics at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where my favorite pastime was reading economics articles at the beach. I am now excited to teach and research at the College of Business Administration at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse!

I enjoy yoga, running, cycling, and bouldering. I also shoot film photography—sometimes with only a disposable camera! I indent code with four spaces in Vim; I grew up on (and still use) OpenBSD and FreeBSD.

An ocean sunset near Santa Barbara, on Ektar film.
An ocean sunset near Santa Barbara, on Ektar film.