Leif Helland

Professor - Institutt for samfunnsøkonomi


For more information, please see my academic homepage

Leif Helland was associate professor at BI Norwegian Business School 2003-06. Full professor since 2006. He teaches game theory and negotiations. Helland is Dr. polit. (2001) and Cand. polit. (1992) from the University of Oslo, and M.Sc. (Econ) from the LSE (1991).

He has previously held positions as Doctoral Fellow (1995-99) and Research Fellow (00-01) at the Department of Political science/University of Oslo, Post Doctoral Fellow (2002-03) at the Center of International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo (CICERO), and Senior Executive Officer (1992-95) in the Norwegian Ministry of Finance (Budget department).

Helland was Visiting Scholar at the Political Science Department/UC Berkeley 1996/97. In 2003-04 Helland had leave of absence from BI Norwegian Business School, to direct the secretariat of a white paper Commission on Party Finance. Helland was a member of the white paper commission on public subvention of cultural activities in 2007-2008.

Research areas
Applied Game Theory; Political economy; Experimental economics

Teaching areas
Game Theory; Negotiations


Helland, Leif; Monkerud, Lars Chr. & Løyning, Gjermund (2018)

Seasoned parliamentarians perform worse than students in a lobbying experiment

Sasson, Amir (red.). At the Forefront, Looking Ahead: Research-Based Answers to Contemporary Uncertainties of Management

Heggedal, Tom-Reiel; Helland, Leif & Joslin, Knut-Eric Neset (2018)

Should I stay or should I go? Bandwagons in the lab

Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 150(June), s. 86- 97. Doi: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.03.019

We experimentally investigate the impact of strategic uncertainty and complementarity on leader and follower behavior using the model of Farrell and Saloner (1985). At the core of the model are endogenous timing, irreversible actions and private valuations. We find that strategic complementarity strongly determines follower behavior. Once a subject decides to abandon the status quo the probability that other players jump on the bandwagon increases sharply. However, there is a reluctance to lead when leading is a conditional best response. We explain this deviation from the neo-classical equilibrium by injecting some noise in the equilibrium concept. We also find that cheap talk improves efficiency.

Helland, Leif; Hovi, Jon & Sælen, Håkon (2018)

Climate Leadership by Conditional Commitments

Oxford Economic Papers, 70(2), s. 417- 442. Doi: 10.1093/oep/gpx045 - Fulltekst i vitenarkiv

Under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, each Party sets its own mitigation target by submitting a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) every …five years. An important question is whether including conditional components in NDCs might enhance the agreement’s effectiveness. We report the results of a closely controlled laboratory experiment – based on a mixed sequential-simultaneous public good game with one leader and three followers –that helps answer this question. The experiment investigates how two factors infl‡uence the effectiveness of leadership based on intrinsically conditional commitments. Measuring e¤ectiveness in terms of followers’' and total contributions, we …find that it may help if the conditional promise is credible and if its implementation in‡fluences followers'’ welfare substantially. Importantly, however, for both factors we fi…nd a signi…cant effect only if the leader does not reap disproportionate gains from the group'’s efforts. These fi…ndings have important implications concerning the future success of the Paris agreement.

Helland, Leif; Moen, Espen Rasmus & Preugschat, Edgar (2017)

Information and coordination frictions in experimental posted offer markets

Journal of Economic Theory, 167, s. 53- 74. Doi: 10.1016/j.jet.2016.09.007

Aakre, Stine; Helland, Leif & Hovi, Jon (2016)

When Does Informal Enforcement Work?

Journal of Conflict Resolution, 60(7), s. 1312- 1340. Doi: 10.1177/0022002714560349 - Fulltekst i vitenarkiv

We study experimentally how enforcement influences public goods provision when subjects face two free-rider options that roughly parallel the nonparticipation and noncompliance options available for countries in relation to multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). Our results add to the MEA literature in two ways. First, they suggest that compliance enforcement will fail to enhance compliance in the absence of participation enforcement. Second, they indicate that compliance enforcement will boost compliance significantly in the presence of participation enforcement. Our results also add to the experimental literature on public goods provision, again in two ways. First, they reveal that previous experimental findings of enforcement boosting cooperation are valid only in settings with forced (or enforced) participation. Second, they show that subjects’ willingness to allocate costly punishment points is significantly stronger when the enforcement system permits punishment of both types of free riding than when it permits punishment of only one type.

Helland, Leif & Sørensen, Rune Jørgen (2015)

Partisan bias, electoral volatility, and government efficiency

Electoral Studies, 39, s. 117- 128. Doi: 10.1016/j.electstud.2015.05.002

Heggedal, Tom-Reiel & Helland, Leif (2014)

Platform selection in the lab

Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 99, s. 168- 177. Doi: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.12.004

Helland, Leif & Monkerud, Lars Christian (2013)

Electoral agency in the lab: Learning to throw out the rascals

Journal of Theoretical Politics, 25(2), s. 214- 233. Doi: 10.1177/0951629812460120

Helland, Leif; Hovi, Jon & Monkerud, Lars Christian (2012)

Can exit prizes induce lame ducks to shirk less? Experimental evidence

European Journal of Government and Economics, 1(2), s. 106- 125.

Elected representatives serving their final period face only weak incentives to provide costly effort. However, overlapping generations (OLG) models suggest that exit prizes sustained by trigger strategies can induce representatives in their final period to provide such effort. We evaluate this hypothesis using a simple OLG public good experiment, the central treatment being whether exit prizes are permitted. We find that a significantly higher number of subjects in their final period contribute when exit prizes are permitted. However, this result does not originate from use of trigger strategies. More likely explanations include gift-exchange and focal-point effects.

Helland, Leif & Sørensen, Rune Jørgen (2012)

Persistent rent extraction

Public Choice, 153(1-2), s. 205- 213. Doi: 10.1007/s11127-011-9785-z

Jacobsen, Karin Johanne; Eika, Kari, Helland, Leif, Lind, Jo Thori & Nyborg, Karine (2011)

Are nurses more altruistic than real estate brokers?

Journal of Economic Psychology, 32(5), s. 818- 831. Doi: 10.1016/j.joep.2011.07.003

Helland, Leif (2011)

Partisan conflicts and parliamentary dominance: the Norwegian political business cycle

Public Choice, 147(1-2), s. 139- 154. Doi: 10.1007/s11127-010-9608-7

Helland, Leif; Sørensen, Rune J. & Thorkildsen, Åge (2010)

Forsvaret 1986-2005. Hvorfor partiene favoriserer de overrepresenterte valgdistriktene

Tidsskrift for samfunnsforskning, s. 525- 548.

Helland, Leif (2010)

"... so that you never need to ask your question again"

Homo Oeconomicus, 27(3), s. 350- 54.

Helland, Leif & Hovi, Jon (2010)

Non-instrumental behavior in an environmental public goods game

Homo Oeconomicus, 27(3), s. 241- 262.

This paper reports a puzzling result from an experiment based on an indefinitely repeated N -player Prisoners’ Dilemma game carried out in a PC lab. The experiment used real monetary payoffs, and was conducted in the context of international cooperation to curb climate change. It was puzzling that after the experiment, a large majority of subjects reported they were at least partially motivated out of concern for the climate; however, nothing they did in the experiment could possibly have had an impact on the climate. We show that subjects acting out of concern for the climate incurred a real cost in monetary terms, and argue that many subjects’ behavior in the experiment deviated quite fundamentally from instrumental rationality. Although much recent research on public goods provision questions the traditional assumption that players are purely self-regarding, the assumption of instrumental rationality is typically preserved. The results reported in this paper go some way towards challenging the validity of this assumption.

Helland, Leif & Sørensen, Rune J. (2009)

Hvorfor overlever politisk korrupsjon i representative demokratier?

Norsk Statsvitenskapelig Tidsskrift, 25(3), s. 219- 236.

Helland, Leif & Sørensen, Rune J. (2009)

Geographical redistribution with disproportional representation: a politico-economic model of Norwegian road projects

Public Choice, 139(1-2), s. 5- 19. Doi: 10.1007/s11127-008-9373-z

Helland, Leif & Hovi, Jon (2008)

Renegotiation proofness and climate agreements some experimental evidence

Nordic Journal of Political Economy, 34, s. 1- 26.

Helland, Leif & Hovi, Jon (2008)

Renegotiation-profness and Climate Agreements: Experimental Evidence

Nordic Journal of Political Economy, 34(2), s. 1- 26.

Helland, Leif & Monkerud, Lars C. (2008)

Bare psykologi likevel? Et eksperiment i sekvensielle forhandlinger

Tidsskrift for samfunnsforskning, 49(2), s. 209- 224.

Helland, Leif (2008)

Lobbying with conflicting interests: Norwegian local-central relations

European Journal of Political Research, 47(2), s. 184- 205. Doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6765.2007.00725.x

Helland, Leif & Sørensen, Rune J. (2008)

Demokrati og effektivitet


Helland, Leif (2006)

Om full pensjonsreform tjener flertallet, vil den da bli vedtatt?

Norsk Statsvitenskapelig Tidsskrift, s. 142- 158.

Helland, Leif (2005)

The median voter theorem. Why parties and decisions converge towards the center

Larsen, Stein Ugelvik (red.). Stein Ugelvik Larsen (ed.), Theory and Methods in Political Science

Helland, Leif (2004)

Minority-Rule Budgeting under a De Facto Constructive Vote of No Confidence: A Cure for the Norwegian Illness?

Scandinavian Political Studies, 27(4), s. 391- 401.

Helland, Leif & Saglie, Jo (2003)

Candidate competition and strategic coordination: evidence from four early Norwegian elections

Electoral Studies, 22(4), s. 581- 602. Doi: 10.1016/S0261-3794(03)00027-1

This article investigates strategic coordination in four elections to the Norwegian Storting (1909–18). The elections were held under a majority-plurality dual-ballot system, with unrestricted participation in the second-ballot. The focus is on elections with Conservative, Liberal and Labour candidates as main contenders. Supported by historical and theoretical arguments, the authors assume universally sincere voting in the first-ballot. Given this assumption, second-ballot elections can be analyzed as regular plurality elections. Hypotheses about behavior are formed using the game theoretic framework of Myerson and Weber (American Political Science Review 87 (1993) 102–114). It is found that while voters follow the predictions of theory fairly closely, the extent of coordination present at the candidate level can be questioned.

Helland, Leif & Saglie, Jo (1999)

Kandidatkonkurranse og strategisk koordinering i fire stortingsvalg: 1909-1918

Norsk Statsvitenskapelig Tidsskrift, 15(2), s. 155- 183.

To vanlige tanker om restriktive valgsystemer er at: 1) Velgerne vil forlate høyt rangerte kandidater som forventes å være sjanseløse til fordel for lavere rangerte kandidater med vinnersjanser. 2) Kandidater som forventer å bli forlatt av velgerne selv vil trekke sitt kandidatur. I artikkelen konfronteres disse tankene (i presisert form) med data fra fire stortingsvalg i perioden 1909-1918. Konfrontasjonen viser at den første tanken har mer for seg enn den andre. Vi spekulerer over noen mulige årsaker til dette.

Fiva, Jon H.; Helland, Leif & Sørensen, Rune J. (1)

Én stemme kan endre politikken http://www.dn.no/meninger/debatt/2015/09/13/2040/Kommunevalg/n-stemme-kan-endre-politikken

Dagens næringsliv [Kronikk]

Helland, Leif; Alice, Ciccone, Kjell Arne, Brekke & Heggedal, Tom-Reiel (2018)

Reference points in sequential bargaining: Theory and experiment

[Academic lecture]. Department seminar; division of social sciences, NYU AD.

Helland, Leif (2016)

Årsak og tilfeldighet: Modeller, eksperimenter og adferd i samfunnsvitenskapene.

[Textbook]. Cappelen Damm Akademisk.

Helland, Leif; Hovi, Jon & Aakre, Stine (2013)

Punishment under Anarchy

[Academic lecture]. 8th Nordic Conference on behavioral and experimental economics.

Helland, Leif & Heggedal, Tom-Reiel (2012)

Coordination in two sided experimental markets

[Academic lecture]. Konferanse i regi av Economic Science Association (ESA).

Helland, Leif & Heggedal, Tom-Reiel (2012)

Ongoing quest for QWERTY

[Report]. Handelshøyskolen BI.

Sørensen, Rune Jørgen & Helland, Leif (2009)

Persistent rent-taking when voters are fully informed

[Report]. Handelshøyskolen BI.

Helland, Leif & Sørensen, Rune Jørgen (2009)

Persistent rent extraction

[Report]. Handelshøyskolen BI.

Helland, Leif; Hovi, Jon & Monkerud, Lars Christian (2009)

Can exit prizes induce lame ducks to shirk less? Experimental evidence

[Report]. Handelshøyskolen BI.

Helland, Leif (2009)

Electoral agency in the lab: Learning to throw out the rascals

[Report]. Handelshøyskolen BI.

Monkerud, Lars Christian; Helland, Leif & Løyning, G (2009)

Parliamentarians and students in a lobbying experiment

[Report]. Handelshøyskolen BI.

Helland, Leif; Hovi, Jon & Monkerud, Lars Christian (2009)

Can contingent prizes induce lame ducks to shirk less? Experimental evidence

[Academic lecture]. 5th ECPR General Conference.

Helland, Leif; Hovi, Jon & Monkerud, Lars Christian (2009)

Can contingent prizes induce lame ducks to shirk less? Experimental evidence

[Academic lecture]. 4th Nordic Conference in behavioral and experimental economics.

Helland, Leif; Hovi, Jon & Monkerud, Lars Christian (2009)

Can contingent prizes induce lame ducks to shirk less? Experimental evidence

[Academic lecture]. ECPR 2009.

Helland, Leif; Asheim, Geir, Hovi, Jon & Høyland, Bjørn (2008)

Self-serving dictators

[Report]. Department of economics, UiO.

Helland, Leif & Sørensen, Rune Jørgen (2008)

The Agency Costs of Partisan Dominance and Electoral Uncertainty

[Report]. Handelshøyskolen BI.

Helland, Leif (2008)

Political Heterogeneity, Electoral Surprise and the Growth in Unemployment: The Norwegian Partisan Cycle

[Report]. Handelshøyskolen BI.

Sørensen, Rune Jørgen & Helland, Leif (2008)

Hvorfor overlever politisk korrupsjon i representative demokratier?

[Report]. Handelshøyskolen BI.

Helland, Leif & Hovi, Jon (2008)

Non-Instrumental Behavior in an Environmental Public Good Game

[Report]. Handelshøyskolen BI.

Helland, Leif & Monkerud, Lars Christian (2008)

Electoral agency in the lab

[Report]. Handelshøyskolen BI.

Helland, Leif & Monkerud, Lars Christian (2008)

Electoral agency in the lab

[Academic lecture]. 3rd Nordic Conference on Behavioral and Experimental Economics.

Helland, Leif & Hovi, Jon (2004)

Non Instrumental Behavior in a Public Goods Game: Experimental Evidence

[Academic lecture]. IMA (Institute of Mathematics and its Applications) Conference on Conflict and its Resolutions.

Helland, Leif & Saglie, Jo (1997)

Strategisk koordinering i fire stortingsvalg: 1909-1918

[Report]. Institutt for statsvitenskap, Universitetet i Oslo.

Akademisk grad
År Akademisk institusjon Grad
2001 University of Oslo Ph.D Dr. Polit.
1992 University of Oslo Master Cand. Polit.
1991 London School of Economics Master of Science
År Arbeidsgiver Tittel
2016 - Present Centre of Experimental Studies and Research (CESAR), BI Norwegian Business School Director
2006 - Present BI Norwegian Business School Professor
2003 - 2006 BI Norwegian Business School Associate Professor
2001 - 2002 CICERO (Center for International Climate and Environmental Research Oslo Post doctoral fellow
1995 - 2001 University of Oslo Doctoral fellow
1992 - 1995 Ministry of Finance Senior executive officer