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Rong Rong  荣蓉                

Assistant Professor of Economics,
John B. Goddard
School of Business & Economics 
Weber State University
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Rong's website photo    
    I am an Assistant Professor of Economics at Weber State University. I am an experimentalist and applied micro-economist by training. My current research focuses on the economic applications of social networks.

    Previously, I studied economics at Shanghai Jiaotong University for four years, during which I worked as a research assistant in the Smith Experimental Economics Research Center (SEERC), the first laboratory for experimental economics in China founded by Nobel Laureate Dr. Vernon Smith. I received my PhD training at Interdisciplinary Center for Economics Science at George Mason University.

    In additional to my scholarship, I enjoy Chinese seal carving, a traditional art that callenges both dexterity and understanding of spatial relationships. I also enjoy exploring nature's beauty through hiking or scuba diving. 

Research Fields:   Teaching Fields:
Applied Social Network Theory,
Experimental Statistics and Methods,  
Applied Microeconomic Theory,
Behavioral Economics
Microeconomics Theory, Game Theory,
Experimental Economics,
Behavioral Economics,
Social Network Theory, Social Network Analysis
Econometrics, Mathematical Economics,

Dissertation Research:

        Title: Endogenous Network Formation: Experiments and Methods
Daniel Houser (advisor), Tyler Cowen,
Carlos Ramirez, Robert Axtell

         Job Market Paper: "Growing Stars: A Laboratory Analysis of Network Formation", with Daniel Houser.

The acquisition and dispersion of information, a critical aspect of economic decisions, can occur through a network of agents (Jackson, 2009). Empirical and theoretical findings suggest that an efficient information dispersion network takes the form of a star: small numbers of agents gather information and distribute it to a large group. Despite these findings, controlled tests of this theory failed to find evidence of the emergence of such networks with an exception of Goeree et al (2008), which reports frequent star network formation with ex ante heterogeneous agents and perfect information. Empirical evidence suggests that these conditions may not always be feasible in natural environments (Feick and Price, 1987; Conley and Udry, 2010). Complement to earlier experimental research, we study institutional conditions under which star networks emerge in the presence of ex ante homogeneous agents. We find that investment limits and the “right-of-first-refusal,” both of which regularly coexist with star networks in natural environments, have a surprisingly strong ability to promote the formation of star networks with ex ante homogeneous agents. Using a cluster analysis, we trace the large positive effects of these institutions to the impact they have on individuals’ behavioral rules. In particular, we find that these institutions encourage individual rationality as well as positive habits, which then lead to the frequent and stable emergence of star networks. Our results may have important implications for environments characterized by ex ante homogeneous agents, e.g., those found in technology, marketing and agricultural sectors.


China Bashing: Does Trade Drive the 'Bad' News about China in the U.S.?, with Carlos Ramirez, Review of International Economics, Vol. 20, Issue 2, pp. 350-363, 2012,

Research in Progress:

Cluster Analysis for Social Network Data, with Daniel Houser
Money or Friends: Social Identity and Truth Telling in Social Networks, with Daniel Houser
Risk Attitudes and Job Contact Networks: Theory and Simulation, with Daniel Houser
Extreme Paternalism: Theory and Lab Experiment on Strategic Information Transmission with Bans and Requirements, with Robin Hanson
I’ll Be There: A Natural Field Experiment on Keeping and Breaking Promises, with Jared Barton

Weber State University |  Department of Economics
John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics