You can find a PDF of my CV here.
Microeconomics, Contest and Auction Theory, Political Economy, Conflict, Economics and Psychology
CH-9000 St. Gallen, Room 34-306
Phone: +41 71 224 2987
Email: philipp.denter [at] unisg.ch
I am a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Economics and Political Science (SEPS) of the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, from where I also obtained my PhD. Prior to moving to St. Gallen, I obtained an undegraduate degree in economics (Diplom-Volkswirt, equivalent to MSc economics) from Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. My current research is mainly in the field of political economy and contest theory. I am particularly interested in candidate behavior in political campaigns, transparency laws for lobbyists, violent conflict, and dynamics in tournament models.
Publications in refereed journals:
We study deterrence in sequential move conflicts, modeled as a contest. We bias the model in favor of peace by assuming that under complete information deterrence is achieved and peace prevails. We show that under incomplete information about states' types (resolve) the chances of deterrence decrease rapidly. Studying a uniform type distribution, we show that the finer the type space becomes the more resolve a defending state must have to support deterrence in equilibrium. In the limit, as types occur on a continuum, deterrence is possible only under relatively extreme conditions.
In this paper I develop a formal theory of campaign communications. Voters have priors about the quality of candidates' policies in the different policy issues and about the issues’ relative importance. Candidates spend time or money (TV ads, public speeches, etc.) in an effort to influence voters' decisions at the ballot. Influence has two simultaneous effects: (i) it increases the quality of the policy in the issue as perceived by the voters and (ii) it makes the issue more salient, thereby increasing the issue's perceived importance. A strategy is an allocation of influence activities to the different issues or topics. I show conditions under which candidates’ strategies converge or diverge, which issues – if any – will dominate the campaign, and under what conditions candidates are forced to focus on issues in which they are perceived to be weak. I develop a set of novel testable predictions and demonstrate the model’s predictive power by example of the 2008 presidential campaign in the U.S.
Disclosure of lobbying activity has become much more timely and stringent in the US. Disclosure informs constituents about a legislator's lobbying contacts, but it also informs a lobbyist about a rival's contact, with possible strategic effects. Under mild conditions, we show that real-time disclosure exacerbates wasteful lobbying and worsens the allocative efficiency of resulting policies. Our model highlights that the timing of disclosure is an important policy choice, even apart from the amount of disclosure. Delayed disclosure raises welfare compared to instantaneous disclosure.
We study the signaling effects of private precautions against crime may have and show how this may lead individuals to underinvest in protection compared to a situation with complete information. We further show under which conditions it may be optimal to make private precautions unobservable.
Work in Progress (titles are tentative):
We study firms' optimal advertising strategies when products are multi-facetted, consumers have priors about the usefulness and relative importance of attributes, and firms' advertising influences both beliefs simultaneously. I show conditions under which firms' can use their advertising to create niche markets for their goods and under what conditions competition is likely to be fierce.
We demonstrate the relation between two seemingly disparate phenomena in political campaigns: the so-called New Hampshire effect on the one hand and momentum effects on the other. We show that the populace' willingness to provide politicians and parties with campaign has a significant influence on both. If the populace is willing to give a lot, both the New Hampshire effect and momentum is more likely to occur.
We study low-information elections in Germany and show that apart from political ideologies the social status of a candidate's job as well as a candidate's publicity are important determinants of electoral success.
We study campaigning incentives in proportional electoral systems, in which parties usually need to form a coalition. We show that unlike in purely majoritarian elections, parties' relative incentives to invest in the competition are non-monotonic in own popularity. Generally, both momentum and anti-momentum equilibria can exist at the same time, that is some parties' incentives to invest in the campaign are locally increasing in their own vote share while other parties' incentives are the opposite.
I study a dynamic All-pay auction over n rounds and completely characterize equilibrium play and rent dissipation. I show conditions under which a longer contest increases the contestants' payoff along the equilibrium path and show that in the limit there might be no rent dissipation whatsoever in equilibrium.
In many situations it is of interest for a tournament designer not to maximize aggregate efforts but rather the maximal effort exerted, e.g. in R&D tournaments. I show that in such a situation it is optimal to bias the tournament by giving a small advantage to one contestant.
I study a contest situation in which players not only care about their material payoffs but also about closeness to the other players and their relative status, as suggested by Tesser's self-evaluation maintenance theory. The model demonstrates that contests between friends are fought harder than contests between strangers, which is in line with experimental findings in the literature. I study the implications for team formation.
My teaching interests are in microeconomics, game theory, political economy, public economics, contract theory, and managerial economics.
I am currently teaching the course Microeconomics II (BA, joint with Catherine Roux) and I give tutorials for the course Economics A (BA), both at the University of St. Gallen. For the course Economics A I wrote a book chapter 'Introduction to Game Theory' which can be found here.
University of St. Gallen
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Berkeley
Coauthors, former supervisors, and colleagues:
-Why Your Friends Have More Friends Than You Do by Scott L. Feld
-College Admission and the Stability of Marriage by David Gale and Lloyd Shapley
-Efficient Mechanisms for Bilateral Trading by Roger Myerson and Mark Satterthwaite
-Cooperation, Conflict, and Power in the Absence of Property Rights by Stergios Skaperdas
-Feigning Weakness by Branislav Slantchev
-Dilemmas of an Economic Theorist by Ariel Rubinstein
-Irrelevant events affect voters' evaluations of government performance by Andrew Healy, Neil Malhotra, and Cecilia Hyunjung Mo
Stuff on the web:-A Chronology of Game Theory
-Tournaments, Contests, and Relative Performance Evaluation
-Cheap Talk (Blog)
-European Association of Young Economists
-The Monkey Cage (Blog)
-A Fine Theorem (Blog)
-Zonal marking (football tactics)
-Spielverlagerung (football tactics in German)