researchpapers

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Here you will find some of my recent research papers. Most are works in progress or are under revision. Please feel welcome to contact me if you are interested in a paper that is not available for download. Comments, suggestions, and corrections are appreciated.



drafts / working papers


Multi-period Matching (with Sangram V. Kadam)

abstract We examine a multi-period, bilateral matching market. Sufficient conditions for the existence of a dynamically-stable matching are proposed. These conditions accommodate common forms of inter-temporal preference complementarities. In a multi-period market with transfers, expanded access to financial services, such as savings and credit, may lead to Pareto-inferior outcomes. We further extend our analysis to incorporate imperfect information and path-dependent learning. Re-matching after the revelation of new information is often not Pareto improving, suggesting a fundamental fragility of interim markets. We relate our analysis to market unraveling, to the exposure problem, and to the importance of commitment, or lack thereof, in dynamic markets.
download [ pdf ] Working Paper (December 11, 2014).

Time Horizons, Lattice Structures, and Welfare in Multi-period Matching Markets (with Sangram V. Kadam)

abstract We examine a T-period, bilateral matching economy without monetary transfers. Under natural restrictions on agents' preferences, which accommodate switching costs, status-quo bias, and other forms of inter-temporal complementarity, dynamically-stable matchings exist. We study the consequences of manipulating the market's time horizon on the set of stable outcomes and we investigate this set's lattice structure. Generally, "optimal" dynamically-stable matchings may not exist, but under a suitable partial order the stable set is a lattice. The welfare properties of different stable outcomes is ascertained and the implications for normative market-design are discussed.
download [ pdf ] Working Paper (December 11, 2014).

Signaling with Audits: Mimicry, Wasteful Expenditures, and Non-Compliance in a Model of Tax Enforcement (with David A. Weisbach and Richard J. Zeckhauser)

abstract The audit policy of a tax authority can signal its audit effectiveness. We model this process and show that in limited circumstances an ineffective authority can masquerade as being effective. We show that high maximal penalties imply underreporting of income.
download [ link ] HKS Faculty Research Working Paper RWP14-001 (January 27, 2014).

If Many Seek, Ye Shall Find: Search Externalities and New Goods (with Richard J. Zeckhauser)

abstract Consumer search serves productive roles in an economy with multiple goods. In equilibrium, search promotes the sorting of consumers among producers, thereby enabling the market for new goods, and potentially increasing welfare and profits above the benchmark case (an economy with a single good, hence no search). Additional direct competitors, when competitors are few, may benefit a firm, as more sellers may encourage more consumers to search. Conversely, consumer search entices producers of new goods to enter. Neither of these externalities, nor the coordination problems faced by consumers and producers, is appropriately recognized in the literature.
download [ pdf ] Working Paper (August 10, 2014).
[ pdf ] Presentation Slides (June 1, 2014).

Trading Networks and Equilibrium Intermediation (with C. Matthew Leister)

abstract We consider a network of intermediaries facilitating exchange between buyers and a seller. Intermediary traders face a private trading cost, a network characterizes the set of feasible transactions, and an auction mechanism sets prices. We examine stable and equilibrium networks. Stable networks, which are robust to agents' collusive actions, exist when cost uncertainty is acute and multiple, independent trading relationships are valuable. A free-entry process governs the formation of equilibrium networks. Such networks feature too few intermediaries relative to the optimal market organization and they exhibit an asymmetric structure amplifying the shocks experienced by key intermediaries. Welfare and empirical implications of stable and equilibrium networks are investigated.
download [ pdf ] Working Paper (June 10, 2014).

First-Price Auctions with Budget Constraints

abstract Consider a first-price sealed-bid auction where participants have affiliated valuations and private budget constraints; that is, bidders have private multidimensional types. This article investigates the existence and nature of monotone equilibria in this setting. Hard budget constraints introduce two competing effects on bidding. The direct effect depresses bids as participants hit their spending limit. The strategic effect encourages more aggressive bidding by participants with large budgets. Together these effects can yield discontinuous equilibrium strategies stratifying competition along the budget dimension. The strategic consequences of private budget constraints can be a serious confound in interpreting bidding behavior in auctions.
download [ pdf ] Working Paper (March 23, 2013).
[ pdf ] Presentation Slides (March 2013).

On Asymmetric Reserve Prices

abstract We investigate equilibrium bidding in standard auctions with asymmetric reserve prices. For example, the auctioneer sets a low reserve price for one subset of bidders and a high reserve price for others. In the first-price auction we identify an equilibrium reserve price externality whereby bidders facing a high reserve price benefit from a reduction of opponents' reserve prices. We also document cases where introducing asymmetric reserve prices can increase the auctioneer's expected revenue compared to an optimal uniform reserve price - even if all bidders are ex ante identical. An extension of the model characterizes equilibrium bidding in asymmetric first-price auctions with asymmetric reserve prices. The use of asymmetric reserve prices in auction design is discussed.
download [ pdf ] Working Paper (April 6, 2014).

Engineered Ambiguity in the Principal-Agent Problem

abstract We consider a principal-agent problem with moral hazard. The agent is ambiguity averse and the principal can be ambiguous concerning the contract's evaluative criteria. For example, the contract may promise a reward if output is "sufficiently high" but may not precisely specify what the appropriate threshold is or how it is/will be determined. Although ambiguity makes it more difficult to secure the agent's participation, the principal can exploit it to relax incentive constraints. We show that the optimal contract features ambiguity and allows the principal to implement an action at strictly lower cost than with a fully precise contract. When employing a vague contract the principal has added incentive to conceal the benefits she derives from the principal-agent relationship.
download [ pdf ] Working Paper (Coming Soon).

First-Price Auctions with Budget Constraints: An Experiment

download [ pdf ] Working Paper. Currently under revision, please e-mail me if you are interested in the latest version. (March 2010)



published / forthcoming papers


Bribing in First-Price Auctions: Corrigendum (with Shiran Rachmilevitch)

publication [ link ] Games and Economic Behavior 87:616-618, 2014.
download [ pdf ] Working Paper (February 15, 2013).

Rules and Standards when Compliance Costs are Private Information (with David A. Weisbach and Richard J. Zeckhauser)

publication [ link ] Journal of Legal Studies 43(S2):S297-S329, 2014.

The War of Attrition and the Revelation of Valuable Information (with Fei Li)

publication [ link ] Economics Letters 124:420-423, 2014.
download [ pdf ] Working Paper (June 11, 2014).

Audits as Signals (with David A. Weisbach and Richard J. Zeckhauser)

publication [ link ] University of Chicago Law Review 81(1):179-202, 2014.
download [ link ] University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 651 (August 16, 2013).

On the Continuous Equilibria of Affiliated-Value, All-Pay Auctions with Private Budget Constraints (with Fei Li)

publication [ link ] Games and Economic Behavior 85C:84-108, 2014.
download [ link ] PIER Working Paper 14-001 (January 10, 2014).

Auction Choice for Ambiguity-Averse Sellers Facing Strategic Uncertainty: Comment

publication [ link ] Games and Economic Behavior 72(2):448-451, 2011.
download [ pdf ] Working Paper (July 10, 2010).



permanent working papers / archive



Here are some old projects which I am no longer actively pursuing. Please contact me if you are interested in any of the research below. Its mildly eclectic.

Hull Clubs and British Maritime Insurance, 1720-1840

abstract In the late 1700s and early 1800s, "hull clubs" or mutual insurance associations emerged as providers of marine insurance in Britain. While playing a tertiary role to the private underwriting at Lloyd's and to the insurance companies, the not-for-profit hull clubs were capable of offering their members competitively priced and comprehensive coverage. Despite their benefits, hull club insurance became de jure only among certain classes of shipping, such as colliers from the North-East. Two complementary factors led to hull clubs' sectoral concentration. First, clubs specialized in providing time policies, which were especially attractive to shipping engaged in high frequency trade. Second, the price uncertainty associated with club insurance made it a "riskier" purchase than commercially available policies. Examining the risk preferences of club members suggests that they exhibited a remarkably low level of risk aversion. These reinforcing factors contributed to hull clubs' niche status in the early nineteenth century maritime insurance market and constrained their initial growth.
download [ pdf ] Working Paper (March 20, 2007).
data [ xls ] Insurance Rates at Lloyd's of London by Shipping Route (1810-16).
[ xls ] Rates and Accounts of Hull Clubs in N.E. England (1810-35).
[ xls ] Ships Insured in the Coal Trade Association, South Shields (1828).
notes This paper was written for the economic history requirement in the PhD program at UC Berkeley. I have not worked on this paper since 2007. It is made available as a service for others who may be interested in exploring this topic further. The history of insurance is fascinating!

Voucher Auctions

abstract Voucher auctions are non-standard mechanisms that can be used to quickly allocate shares of multiple items among rivalrous parties. Variants of such mechanisms have been employed in the mass privatizations in Eastern and Central Europe. Despite their use, voucher auctions as mechanisms in their own right have received little theoretical or experimental attention. This pa- per considers simple voucher auctions, characterizes equilibria, and examines their performance in a controlled laboratory setting. Voucher auctions are shown to have intuitively appealing and well-behaved equilibria. Experiments suggest that they are a useful alternative mechanism when optimal schemes are either infeasible or unknown.
download [ pdf ] Working Paper (November 23, 2009).
data [ xls ] Data from the experiments.
supplements [ pdf ] Poster (Presented at the Jerusalem Summer School in Economic Theory, June 2009).
[ pdf ] Presentation Slides for the Midwest Economics Association Meeting (Evanston, 2010) and the IAES Meeting (Prague, 2010).



other documents / professional matters



In compliance with conflict of interest policies at Harvard Kennedy School, here [ pdf ] you can find a statement outlining my outside professional activities and potential conflicts of interest.