Brian C. Albrecht

Economics PhD Candidate

University of Minnesota


I study applied economic theory, especially related to

1) information economics, 2) competition, 3) political economy, and 4) optimal policy.


Job Market Paper

Investment without Coordination Failures (slides)

Abstract: I study games with incomplete markets where agents must sink their investments before they can join a match that generates value. I focus on competitive matching markets where there is a public price to join any match. Despite the First Welfare Theorem, coordination failures can still arise because of the market incompleteness. Armen does not invest because Bengt does not invest, vice versa, and they are unable to write enforceable contracts to ensure joint investments. In these games, multiple equilibria can exist, with both efficient investment and not. However, the standard, Nash solution concept used in these games does not help in determining if all equilibria are equally robust or stable. I argue that we should replace the Nash solution concept in this context with a mild, common refinement: trembling-hand perfection. I prove that—in a general class of models with general heterogeneity of types, costs of investments, and matching surpluses—small trembles rule out coordination failures. The main theorem is a modified First Welfare Theorem: even with endogenous and incomplete markets, every perfect, competitive equilibrium is efficient.


Preventing Plunder: Military Technology, Capital Accumulation, and Economic Growth with Joshua Hendrickson and Alexander Salter, Journal of Macroeconomics, 2018 (Working Paper Version)

Exchange, Search Theory, and Buchanan’s Foundations of Politics, Exploring the Political Economy and Social Philosophy of James M. Buchanan, Rowman and Littlefield, 2018

The Breakdown of Spontaneous Order: Smith and Hayek Diverge, NYU Journal of Law and Liberty, 2017

Positive Public Economics: Reinterpreting 'Optimal' Policies, Journal of Economic Methodology, 2017 (Working Paper Version)

Working Papers

Economic Theory: Information + Competition

Job Market Paper: Investment without Coordination Failures (slides)

On the Informational Efficiency of Decentralized Price Formation with Rafael R. Guthmann

Price Competition and the Use of Consumer Data (slides)

Entrepreneurship as Coordination

Political Economy and Public Economics

Evolution, Uncertainty, and the Asymptotic Efficiency of Policy with Joshua Hendrickson and Alexander Salter (slides), under review

Time Inconsistency, Inflation, and MMT with Jackson Mejia (undergraduate student) under review

Political Persuasion

Coase, the Austrians, and Models as Foils with Brian Kogelmann, under review

Works in Progress

Production Efficiency and Hidden Actions: A Mechanism Design Approach with V.V. Chari, Adway De, and Keyvan Eslami (abstract, slides, draft available upon request)

Nonlinear Ocean Dynamics, Economic Growth, and the Social Cost of Carbon with Adway De

Market Persuasion: Kamenica-Gentzkow meets Prescott-Townsend (preliminary draft, slides)

Wampum: The Political Economy of an Institutional Tragedy with Andrew Young (preliminary draft, slides)

Teaching Experience

Comparative Economic Systems, Instructor (syllabus)

Principles of Microeconomics, Large Lecture Instructor and Course Co-Lead

Principles of Macroeconomics, Teaching Assistant

Principles of Microeconomics, Teaching Assistant

Price Theory

This section contains resources for developing price theory. The notes purposefully rely on simple theory so they can be accessible to students and non-theorists, using theory as an engine of analysis.

Some Price Theory of Price Dispersion

Some Price Theory of Buyer-Optimal Learning (Roesler and Szentes 2017)

Chicago Price Theory Reading Group