Tibor Besedes

Mary S. and Richard B. Inman, Jr. Professor of Economics

Member Of:
  • School of Economics
Fax Number:404-894-1890
Office Location: Old CE Building, Room 319


Dr. Besedes joined the School of Economics in 2007 after spending four years as an Assistant Professor of Economics at Louisiana State University. He obtained his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 2003. His research interests include international trade and experimental/behavioral economics. His research in international trade focuses on the dynamics and stability of trading relationships between countries and factors determining duration of trade. His research in experimental and behavioral economics has focused on understanding how individuals make decisions in multi-attribute environments similar to decisions involving health insurance or drug coverage plans. Much of his experimental/behavioral economics research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.  His articles have been published by the Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of International Economics, European Economic Review, and Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization among others. Dr. Besedes serves as the director of the Forum for Research in Empirical International Trade and is currently associate editor of the Southern Economic Journal. 

  • Ph.D., Rutgers University
  • M.A., Rutgers University
  • B.S., Texas Christian University
Research Fields:
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Experimental Economics
  • International Trade
Courses Taught:
  • ECON-2106: Prin of Microeconomics
  • ECON-3110: Adv Microeconomic Analys
  • ECON-4350: International Economics
  • ECON-4351: Int'l Financial Econ
  • ECON-4352: Intl Trade Theory & Pol
  • ECON-6650: International Economics
  • ECON-7121: International Econ I
  • ECON-7122: International Econ II
  • PHIL-6000: Responsible Conduct-Res

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

  • Cheap talk? Financial sanctions and non-financial firms
    In: European Economic Review [Peer Reviewed]
    Date: March 2021

    Sanctions restrict cross-border interactions and, therefore, not only put political and economic pressure on the target country, but they also adversely affect the sender country. This paper examines the effect of financial sanctions on the country imposing them. In particular, we analyze the business responses of German non-financial entities to the imposition of sanctions on 23 countries over the period from 1999 through 2014. Examining highly disaggregated, monthly data from the German balance of payments statistics, we find four main results. First, German financial activities with sanctioned countries are sizably reduced after the imposition of sanctions. Second, firms doing business with sanctioned countries tend to be disproportionately large, often having alternative business opportunities. Third, firms affected by sanctions expand their activities with non-sanctioned countries, some of which display close trade ties to the sanctioned country. Fourth, we find no effect of sanctions on broader measures of firm performance such as employment or total sales. Overall, we conclude that the economic costs of financial sanctions to the sender country are limited.

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  • Trade Liberalization and Gender Gaps in Local Labor Markets Outcomes: Dimensions of Adjustment in the United States
    In: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization [Peer Reviewed]
    Date: 2021

    We provide empirical results that trade liberalization with China reduced gender gaps in local U.S. labor markets. In MSAs with higher exposure to trade liberalization, the simple wage gender gap decreased, while the residual wage gap increased, indicating important selection effects in labor force participation decisions. The reduction in the gender labor force participation gap was driven by higher entry of women, in particular more educated women, and exit of the less educated men. This results in intrahousehold adjustments in work dynamics, with women entering the labor force to offset the lost income of male partners who left the labor force. We show that trade liberalization increased female workers’ unemployment rate and reliance on part-time jobs.

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  • Phase Out Tariffs, Phase In Trade?
    In: Journal of International Economics [Peer Reviewed]
    Date: November 2020

    An important stylized fact in the empirical Free Trade Agreement (FTA) literature is that member trade flows gradually increase over time following an FTA. Baier & Bergstrand (2007) suggest two explanations: tariff phase-out and delayed pass-through of tariffs into import prices. We examine these hypotheses using 1989–2016 U.S. import growth and product-level data on the tariff phase-out negotiated under NAFTA and the earlier Canada-U.S. FTA. We do not find evidence supporting either hypothesis. While products receiving tariff cuts do show delayed import growth relative to products with unchanged tariffs, the delay in import growth does not correspond to delays in the timing of tariff cuts. We also show that tariff cuts are fully and immediately passed through to U.S. importers as there are virtually no changes in the prices received by exporters either in the short run or the long run. Rather, we find evidence for an important role played by NAFTA tariff cuts reducing the impact of frictions that, in turn, allow for a spatial expansion of imports across the U.S.

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  • Economic Determinant of Multilateral Environmental Agreements
    In: International Tax and Public Finance [Peer Reviewed]
    Date: January 2020

    We examine the economic factors that lead to the formation of multilateral environmental agreements, focusing on the likelihood a pair of countries enters into an agreement as well as the number of agreements they share using a near universe of agreements. Two countries are more likely to have an agreement and have more of them if they are economically larger and of similar economic size, closer in distance, have a preferential trade agreement, and trade more. Results are strongest for agreements involving a small number of countries, consistent with a hypothesis that agreements are formed to manage common pool resources.

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  • Optimizing Choice Architectures
    In: Decision Analysis [Peer Reviewed]
    Date: January 2019

    This paper investigates decision quality in large choice sets across several choice architectures in three studies. In the first controlled experiment, we manipulate two features of a choice architecture—the response mode (for ranking alternatives) and presentation mode (for presenting alternatives). Our design objectively ranks all 16 choice options in each choice set and makes it possible to observe decision quality directly, independent of attitudes toward risk. We find joint presentation outperforms separate presentation and that choice response modes outperform “happiness ratings,” which outperform hypothetical monetary valuations. We also apply classic welfare criteria to assess the performance of the architectures. Our key finding is that low cognitive reflection subjects (as measured by the cognitive reflection test) perform better given a large choice set than given smaller sets collectively containing the same alternatives. This illustrates a basic tradeoff confronting choice architectures: for a fixed choice set, fewer options improve decision quality within that set but require architectures to elicit multiple responses, increasing opportunities for errors. One follow-up study demonstrates the robustness of the response mode result in a comparison using the tournament presentation mode. A second follow-up study reveals that the impact of incentivizing monetary valuations depends on cognitive reflection.

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