SBE Faculty Share Research at First Parcours of Art and Science

Maastricht’s ‘Latin Quarter’ was the home of the first Parcours of Art and Science (PAS) on 13 September. An initiative of Studium Generale, PAS took place on the eve of the official opening of the cultural season in Maastricht, Het Parcours.

Impressive programme of events

The organisers of PAS put together an impressive programme of 65 activities, each no longer than 30 minutes. Artists and scientists shared their work through presentations, interactive experiments, theatre, dance and expositions. Various inner city campus buildings of Maastricht University were open to visitors, as were sections of the Jan van Eyck Academy and the drama and music faculties of the Zuyd University of Applied Sciences.

Many activities took place in and around SBE. In honour of its 30-year anniversary, SBE sponsored a silent disco in the garden of the Kruithuis. A colourful tent and caravan gave the gardens a carnival feeling where visitors could also have a drink and listen to DJ Janusch and his Balkan beats and gypsy grooves. The Kruithuis lawn was also home to a geodesic dome, an architectural tour de force in which people could play on its swings.

SBE-sponsored silent disco, complete with Balkan beats and gypsy rhythms

SBE-sponsored silent disco, complete with Balkan beats and gypsy rhythms

And in addition to the many speakers SBE hosted from Maastricht University and elsewhere, members of SBE’s staff also presented activities on the agenda.

Predicting “rationality”

Visitors interested in strategic and social decision-making could attend the session of Assistant Professor Matthew Embrey and Professor Dr. Arno Riedl. After watching three informative short video presentations—on Epistemic Game Theory, Human Behaviour and the Brain, and Backward Induction—the participants were able to join in a short experiment demonstrating “common belief in rationality” in the M-BEEs lab. The participant who could best predict the “rationality” of his or her fellow subjects won a prize of €10. The presenters did an excellent job of explaining theories that at first sound very complicated.

Visitors interested in strategic and social decision-making could attend the session of Assistant Professor Matthew Embrey and Professor Dr. Arno Riedl. After watching three informative short video presentations—on Epistemic Game Theory, Human Behaviour and the Brain, and Backward Induction—the participants were able to join in a short experiment demonstrating “common belief in rationality” in the M-BEEs lab. The participant who could best predict the “rationality” of his or her fellow subjects won a prize of €10. The presenters did an excellent job of explaining theories that at first sound very complicated.

Examining the generosity of Dutch millionaires

After receiving attention in local press Dagblad De Limburger only a week before, Assistant Professor in Finance Paul Smeets had another chance to explain his recent research on the generosity of Dutch millionaires to a public audience. A full room heard how while average (non-millionaire) Dutch citizens donate approximately 0,9% of their income to charity each year, those with the most also give the most away, with Dr. Smeets’ research showing that Dutch millionaires donate 3,3% of their income.

The almost 800 Dutch millionaires who were in Dr. Smeets’ study also participated in an experiment in which their generosity was measured in a purely giving situation versus a negotiating situation. Interestingly, when the millionaires were given the choice of purely donating money to someone with a very low income to one in which negotiating was a factor, the millionaires showed they are more generous when there is no negotiation involved. Dr. Smeets likened this result to the rich person on vacation in a poor country who haggles with a street vendor over the price of a souvenir.

Exploring economic effects of Internet use

The third lecture of PAS presented by a SBE faculty member was “Internet and Economy” from Associate Professor Huub Meijers. Dr. Meijers has performed recent research on whether Internet use has a relationship, and if so what kind of relationship, to a country’s economic growth. Using the example of Dr. Meijers’ own smartphone compared to a 1982 IBM desktop, the attendees could agree that the recent development of technology and hardware capabilities is quite staggering. However, has technology and use of the Internet made possible by its progress helped economic growth?

Dr. Meijers’ findings were very interesting. While he found no direct relationship between Internet use and economic growth, Internet use does have a positive effect on trade, which in turn also positively effects economic growth. In poorer countries the effect can be double what is seen in developed nations. There was a lively discussion at the end of the presentation, with many surely left wondering what the future will bring. Not only for each of us, but particularly for some of the world’s poorest who have yet to benefit from the technological advancements of the last half-century.

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Find out more about Prof. Arno RiedlDr. Matthew EmbreyDr. Huub MeijersDr. Paul Smeets and all UM professors on the UM Expert Guide.

View all PAS videos here.

Associate Professor Huub Meijers

Associate Professor Huub Meijers presenting at PAS.

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