Matias Iaryczower - Associate Professor of Politics - Princeton University.   

My field of research is Political Economy. I use game theory and empirical methods to study how institutions and strategic considerations shape collective decision-making in courts, legislatures, and elections. One of the main lines of my theoretical research is the study of Power and Bargaining in Collective Bodies: the determinants of the power of leaders in organizations, the role of intermediaries in legislative bargaining, and whether competition between principals for influence over a group can be detrimental to its members. My empirical work builds on the Structural Estimation approach. A key theme of my work in this area has been to understand how groups incorporate information about the relative merits of the alternatives under consideration into the decision-making process. My current empirical research focuses on the estimation of dynamic games in Congress and elections. [CV]. I am currently serving as Director of the Research Program in Political Economy.  

Under Review

We consider a dynamic process of coalition formation in which a  principal bargains sequentially with a group of n agents. We show that when the principal's willingness to pay is high,  giving bargaining power to the agents can induce delay and be detrimental to their welfare. This occurs in spite of the lack of informational asymmetries or discriminatory offers.
We consider a dynamic model of an incumbent politician running for reelection to estimate the relative value of office to policy for US senators seeking reelection. We use the estimates of the model to quantify how career concerns and policy preferences affect electoral accountability and advertising in competitive and uncompetitive elections. 
We characterize the optimal contract in a principal-agent relationship when the principal can decide both the direction and implementation scale of a policy.

We show that campaign Contributions have a large effect on the behavior of individual judges -- affecting the probability that they vote to overturn and the probability that they vote incorrectly -- but have a small effect on the decisions and effectiveness of the Court.

Selected Publications & Forthcoming

We estimate a model of voting with incomplete information in which committee members (judges in the US courts of appeals) can communicate before voting. We compare the probability of mistakes with deliberation with a counterfactual of no communication. We find that deliberation can be useful when judges tend to disagree ex ante and their private information is relatively imprecise; otherwise, it tends to reduce the effectiveness of the court.  

We consider a class of dynamic collective action problems in which a principal uses transfers to rally the support of a group of agents, in a context in which agents decisions are sequential and irreversible. We show that whenever the principals provide value to the members of the group, introducing competition from a second principal reduces agents' welfare.

We consider a model of decentralized bargaining in legislatures. We show that some parties can endogenously emerge as brokers in equilibrium, transferring resources and voting rights between two parties that wouldn't negotiate directly with one another.

We show that a model of judicial behavior that accounts for differences in ability and ideology among justices explains the decisions of the UK Lords of Appeal remarkably well, and improves the fit of the ideological model.

We estimate an empirical model of voting in Congress that accounts for uncertainty and private information about the quality of the proposal. We show that seniority and uncompetitive elections lead to higher ideological rigidity and curtail the role of information in policy-making.

We estimate a model of voting in Congress that allows for dispersed information about the quality of proposals. The results highlight the effects of bicameralism on policy outcomes. In equilibrium, the Senate imposes an endogenous supermajority rule of about four-fifths on members of the House. 

We consider a model of electoral competition with free entry, ideological differentiation and campaign spending.  We show that proportional elections induce more candidates, competing less aggressively in campaign spending, than majoritarian elections. 

Justices that are shielded from voters' influence on average (i) have better information, (ii) are more likely to change their preconceived opinions about a case, and (iii) make less mistakes than their elected counterparts.  

We estimate an equilibrium model of decision-making in the Court that takes into account both private information and ideological differences between justices. We find that in roughly one out of two cases, justices' prior beliefs and ideological biases are overpowered by case-specific information. 

Spending caps and compulsory voting can be pro-competitive in non-majoritarian electoral systems, leading to a larger number of parties contesting the election.

Party discipline is endogenously determined by backbenchers' beliefs about the extent of support to the leader within the party. We show that rewards that can be distributed publicly and on the spot (as opposed to promises of future benefits) are necessary for the leader to be powerful.

We provide conditions for judicial decisions to be sensitive to legislative lobbying, and find that lobbying falls the more divided the legislature is on the relevant issues. We apply this framework to analyze supreme court labor decisions in Argentina.

We examine the independence of Argentina's Supreme Court. We show that the probability of voting against the government increases the less aligned a justice is with the President, and falls the stronger the control of the President over the legislature. 

Other Working Papers

We consider strategic voting in sequential committees in a common value setting with incomplete information. 

Work in Progress   

  • "Intertemporal Discrimination in Sequential Contracting", with Santiago Oliveros.
  • "Sequential Contributions to Multiple Joint Projects", with Santiago Oliveros.
  • "Dynamic Competition in Presidential Elections", with Gabriel Katz and Gabriel Lopez Moctezuma.
  • "The Causal Effect of Campaign Contributions on Legislators' Voting Behavior", with Gabriel Lopez Moctezuma. 

Current Students

  • Korhan Kocak (main advisor): Political Economy.
  • Andrew Mack (main advisor): Political Economy / Formal and Quantitative Methods.
  • Ted Enamorado (com. member): Quantitative Methods / Comparative Politics.
  • Amanda Kennard (com. member): International Relations.
  • Sondre Solstad (com. member): Comparative Politics
  • Brendan Cooley (com. member): IR / Formal and Quantitative Methods.
  • Dan Gibbs (com. member): AP/ Formal Theory.
  • Noam Reich (com.member): Comparative Politics.

Former Students 

  • Gabriel Lopez Moctezuma (main advisor): Political Economy (AP at Caltech) 
  • Jidong Chen (com. member): Formal Theory / Comparative Politics (AP, Beijing Normal U).
  • Peter Buisseret (com. member): Formal Theory / Comparative Politics (AP Harris School of Public Policy, U. of Chicago).
  • Romain Ferrali (com. member): Political Economy (PostDoc NYU Abu Dhabi).

Other Working Papers and Publications (In Spanish)

  • The Institutional Sources of Development in Argentina. Towards an Institutional Agenda. 2000. Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires  UNDP-CEDI. Project Directors: Mariano Tommasi and Pablo Spiller.