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Economist to Spend Sabbatical in France on Fellowship

April 19, 2018

John Hamman

Associate Professor of Economics John Hamman has received a fellowship to spend a year at the Université de Lyon in France on sabbatical at the school’s prestigious Collegium de Lyon.

The Collegium defines itself as “a space of freedom for a small community of high-level scholars released from their usual academic obligations in order to focus fully on their scientific work.”

Hamman’s work under his fellowship will focus on the concept of “influence,” which is central to the study of organizations. By exploring three channels of influence within hierarchical organizations – top down (managers exerting authority), bottom-up (workers ingratiating themselves to management) and horizontal (rank or status among peers) – his research seeks to identify ways in which individuals try to improve or maintain their standing. The study will specifically focus on behaviors that benefit an individual at the expense of the organization, such as working late to give the impression of dedication but spending time inefficiently or in personal leisure activities.

Hamman and colleagues propose to develop both field and laboratory experiments to study channels of organizational influence, for which faculty and lab resources at the university’s business school and economics department will provide critical support.

The real advantage of the fellowship, Hamman says, is that it will allow him to collaborate with 14 other social science researchers from around the world, as well as acclaimed scholars at the French university.

“I will have the opportunity to work closely with some of the very best experimental economists currently studying organizations,” he said, citing, among others, Marie Claire Villeval, who was recently awarded a lifetime achievement award from France’s equivalent of the National Science Foundation. “Further, I will be interacting regularly with other social scientists outside of economics, which will allow me to expand my interdisciplinary research agenda.”

Hamman’s research interests lie primarily in the fields of managerial, organizational and behavioral economics, focusing on experimental studies of leadership and organizational structure in various environments. He joined the faculty of the Department of Economics within the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy after receiving his Ph.D. in 2009 from the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University.