Christopher Cotton

Assistant Professor
Department of Economics
University of Miami  


Miami Game Theory Group



  1. "Information and extremism in elections," with Raphael BoleslavskyAmerican Economic Journal: Microeconomics, Accepted Feb. 2014 [download]
      • A model of platform competition followed by a political campaign in which voters learn about candidate quality. As campaigns become more informative, candidates become more extreme and voter welfare can decrease.
  2. "Profiling, screening and criminal recruitment," with Cheng LiJournal of Public Economic Theory, Accepted Oct. 2013 [download]
      • A model of law enforcement at checkpoints, borders and airports. Moderate restrictions on profiling by law enforcement are optimal, but banning profiling is never beneficial.
  3. "Submission fees and response times in academic publishing," American Economic Review, Feb 2013 [download]
      • Submission fees and response times discourage long shot journal submissions. Journal quality is maximized by a combination of moderate fee and moderate delay.
  4. "Gender differences in repeated competition: Evidence from school math contests," with Frank McIntyre and Joseph Price, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Feb 2013 [download]
      • Females perform as well as or better than males in math contests after an initial round of competition.
      • Articles written about it at, Forbes, Huffington Post.
  5. "Pay-to-play politics: Informational lobbying and contribution limits when money buys access," Journal of Public Economics, 2012 [download]
      • Politicians set prices for access to extract rent from interest groups. Contribution limits encourage lobby formation and can improve policy outcomes.
  6. "100 horsemen and the empty city: A game theoretic exploration of deception in Chinese military legend," with Chang Liu, Journal of Peace Research, 2011 [download]
      • Applies game theory to study historic events used to illustrate deception in Sun-tzu's The Art of War.
      • Article written about it at U.S. News & World Report.
  7. "Should we tax or cap political contributions? A lobbying model with policy favors and access," Journal of Public Economics, 2009 [download]
      • Compares alternative campaign finance reforms when politicians decide between selling access and selling policy favors. Taxes are better than limits. 
  8. "Multiple bidding in auctions as bidders become confident of their private valuations," Economics Letters, 2009 [download]
      • A novel explanation of observed multiple bidding behavior in online auctions.

Submission, revisions & working papers

  1. "Learning more by doing less: Capacity and competition in Bayesian persuasion," with Ralph Boleslavsky, resubmission requested at RAND Journal of Economics 
  2. "Too many charities? Insight from an experiment with multiple public goods and contribution thresholds," with Luca Corazzini and Paola Valbonesi, second revision requested at Journal of Public Economics [download]
  3. "Consumer protection and optimal demonstration design for innovative products," with Raphael Boleslavsky and Haresh Gurnani, resubmission requested at Management Science [download]
  4. "Grade inflation and education quality," with Ralph Boleslavsky, second revision requested at American Economic Journal: Microeconomics [download]

  5. "Competing for the attention of policymakers" [download
  6. "Informational lobbying and agenda distortion," with Arnaud Dellis [download]
  7. "Dynamic legislative bargaining with endogenous agenda setting authority" [download]
  8. "Gender differences in competition: A game theoretic assessment," with Frank McIntyre and Joe Price [download]
  9. “Affirmative action and human capital investment: Evidence from a randomized field experiment” with Brent Hickman and Joe Price 
  10. "Pleading Standards and Deterrence Effects in Litigation" with Sergio Campos and Cheng Li [download]
  11. "Limited capacity in project selection: Competition through evidence production" with Ralph Boleslavsky [download]

Select works in progress

  1. "Assessing affirmative action using specially-designed field experiments: How policy influences incentives, effort and achievement" with Brent Hickman, John List and Joe Price
  2. "Is the American dream for sale? Using new data on the timing of earmark requests and contributions to assess the ethical standards in the US Congress" with Chris Parmeter and David Thornton
  3. "Hot or not? Testing for performance streaks in junior golf" with Frank McIntyre and Joe Price 
  4. "Gaining access: Evidence from Canadian lobbying data" with Brian Richter


  1. "How corporate money will reshape politics? Help for challengers" in The New York Times, Room for Debate, Jan 21, 2010  [link to article]
  2. "Can gender differences in competition explain the achievement gap" at, Oct 21, 2010  [link to article