Working papers and unpublished versions of articles
"Existence of Markov Electoral Equilibria" (2018) with Jean Guillaume Forand. We prove existence and upper hemicontinuity of a form of stationary equilibrium in a dynamic model of elections with a discrete (countable) state space and general policies and preferences..
"The Power of Commitment in Dynamic Elections" (2018) with Jean Guillaume Forand. We study the role of commitment in achieving responsive policy outcomes in a dynamic model of elections. We show that with positive commitment power, a plan can be implemented in symmetric equilibrium if and only if it is optimal for the representative voter. For non-symmetric equilibria, we give conditions under which there exists a faithful delegate, and we provide further conditions under which such a delegate disciplines the choices of other politician types, so that all politicians approximately solve the representative dynamic programming problem.
"Bilateral Lobbying: Political Influence as a First Price Auction" (2018) This paper models lobbying as a type of auction, in which lobbyists simultaneously make offers consisting of a policy and transfer, and the politician chooses either one of the offers or implements the status quo. Pure strategy equilibria exist generally. With two lobbyists, the equilibrium outcome is "constrained efficient," and with multiple lobbyists, the possible winners are maximal with respect to an acyclic competitiveness relation. In the spatial model with quadratic utility, there is always an equilibrium in which the lobbyist furthest from the politician wins.
"Extreme Agenda Setting Power in Dynamic Bargaining Games" (2018) with Zizhen Ma. We investigate a canonical model of bargaining with a fixed agenda setter, and we show that when players are impatient or the set of alternatives is one-dimesional, the equilibrium outcome from the static model obtains; but when players are patient and the alternatives are multidimensional, the equilibrium outcome typically converges to the ideal point of the agenda setter. Here is a working paper with additional results on boundary equilibria and genericity in the Whitney topology. Here are some slides from a talk.
"A Formal Theory of Democratic Deliberation" (2018) with Hun Chung. We provide a framework to model three forms of democratic deliberation: myopic discussion, constructive discussion, and debate. The debate game has a unique subgame perfect equilibrium outcome, which is a compromise of the preferences of the participants. In contrast to the first two forms, debate always concludes with a single outcome (rather than a cycle) and this outcome is path independent (does not depend on the status quo).
"Lobbying as a Multidimensional Tug of War" (2018) with Jacque Gao. We analyze lobbying as a contest in which each lobbyist exerts effort, and effort levels continuously determine a policy outcome in a multidimensional space. We solve for the unique pure strategy equilibrium, and we examine comparative statics with respect to a preference parameter, e.g., if lobbyists become more sensitive to large policy losses, then the equilibrium outcome converges to the Rawlsian policy, which maximizes the payoff of the worst-off lobbyist. The model has the additional interpretation of committee deliberation, in which members each attempt to pull the outcome in their preferred directions.
“Electoral Accountability and Responsive Democracy” (2018) with Cesar Martinelli. We analyze a canonical two-period model of elections in which politicians’ preferences and actions are imperfectly observed by voters, i.e., elections are subject to adverse selection and moral hazard. We establish existence of electoral equilibrium, and we give a characterization of equilibria. We show that as politicians become more office motivated, policy is responsive to voter preferences in the sense that the expected level of effort exerted by politicians in the first period becomes arbitrarily large.
“Subgame-Perfect Equilibrium in Games with Almost Perfect Information: Dispensing with Public Randomization” (2018) with Paulo Barelli. Harris, Reny, and Robson (1995) show that correlated subgame perfect equilibrium exist in a general class of dynamic games. We show that when nature’s moves are atomless, every such equilibrium can be de-correlated: there is a payoff-equivalent subgame-perfect equilibrium of the original game. As a corollary, we obtain an existence result of He and Sun (2016) for subgame perfect equilibria in games with atomless moves by nature.
“Lobbying and Policy Extremism in Repeated Elections” (2017) with Peter Bils and Gleason Judd. We investigate the effect of lobbying on policy choices in an infinite-horizon model of elections. We find that when the effectiveness of money is fixed, if office incentives become large, then policy choices converge to the median. However, if office incentives are fixed and the effectiveness of money becomes large, then polarized equilibria that exhibit arbitrarily extreme policy choices by all politician types can be supported. Here are some slides from a talk.
“The Political Economy of Dynamic Elections: A Survey and Some New Results” (2017) with Cesar Martinelli. This paper contains a survey and synthesis of the literature on electoral accountability, i.e., repeated elections in which politicians cannot commit their policy choices. We establish sets of conditions under which policy choices nevertheless reflect the preferences of the median voter. A shorter version with redacted proofs is published in Journal of Economic Literature, 2017, 55: 916--984.
“A Note on the Pareto Manifold in the Spatial Model of Politics” (2016) I provide sufficient conditions for the Pareto set to exhibit a manifold structure near a Pareto optimal alternative -- the analysis takes utility functions as given, rather than making genericity claims. I then investigate a natural parameterization of the Pareto manifold and the corresponding parameterized utilities. In contrast to Smale (1976), I do not assume an economic environment; rather, I consider a general model that includes the spatial model of politics as a special case.
“Sequential Median Location” (2015) This short note shows that in sequential location games in one dimension with single-peaked preferences, if the order of location alternates between agents on one side of the median and the other, then the unique pure strategy subgame perfect equilibrium outcome is the median. The result extends to sequential play of any Condorcet consistent game and to mixed strategies.
“Choice-theoretic Solutions for Strategic Form Games” (2014) with Michel Le Breton. This is the continuation of an old project with Michel Le Breton in which we assume common knowledge of players’ choice sets, rather than mixed strategies. The approach allows for probability-free theories of how players resolve strategic uncertainty and generalizes known results for rationalizable strategies. Here is a working paper version with additional results on choice based on pessimistic conjectures.
“Markovian Elections” (2014) with Jean Guillaume Forand. We establish equilibrium existence and median voter results in a model of dynamic elections with an endogenously evolving state variable. The framework is quite general, and we give several examples of different types of political failure. Here are some slides from a talk.
“The State of Nature as a Spatial Contest” (2014) I model the state of nature as a spatial contest, in which the final outcome is a deterministic and continuous function of individual effort levels. I establish existence and uniqueness of equilibrium, I characterize the equilibrium of the game, and I perform comparative statics on the cost of effort and risk aversion of the players.
“Value Restriction, Median Voters, and the Core” (2013) I extend results on value restriction to general voting rules and synthesize forms of median voter theorems and representative voter theorems. For a more general analysis of social rationality, see “Preference Exclusions for Social Rationality,” Social Choice and Welfare, 46: 93--118.
"Limits of Acyclic Voting and Nash Implementation" (2012) An Arrovian result for acyclic social choice under the independence of irrelevant alternatives. This is version features a much shorter proof of a more general theorem; see the working paper for the case of four or more alternatives. Note the "throwback" typesetting, including typewriter math font; see the modern version, if you don’t like the old mimeograph style. Here are slides from a talk. A shorter version of this paper, without the Nash implementation results, is published in Journal of Economic Theory, 163: 658--683.
"Implementing the Efficient Allocation of Pollution" (1999) with Joanne Roberts. This paper has been published (American Economic Review, 2002, 92:1070-1078), but the unpublished version contains an analysis of the model with incomplete information.
"Mixed Refinements of Shapley's Saddles and Weak Tournaments" (1999) with Michel Le Breton. This paper has been published (Social Choice and Welfare, 2001, 8:65-78), but the unpublished version contains a more comprehensive analysis of solutions of weak tournaments and an appendix with several additional examples.
"A Bargaining Model of Collective Choice" (1999) with Jeff Banks. This paper has been published (American Political Science Review, 2000, 94:73-88), but the unpublished version contains an appendix showing that our assumption of "limited shared weak preference" is satisfied in a variety of economic environments.
"More Bogosity Results for Monotonic Social Choice Rules" (1995) with Tom Schwartz. From the archives: One of my unpublished "classics," related to some results in my paper "Limitations of Acyclic Voting and Implementation."
"Strategic Manipulability is Inescapable: Gibbard-Satterthwaite without Resoluteness" (1992) with Tom Schwartz. This paper is published as "Strategic Manipulability without Resoluteness or Shared Beliefs: Gibbard-Satterthwaite Generalized" (2000) Social Choice and Welfare, 17: 85--93. The earlier version is Caltech Social Science Working Paper no. 817, which contains a version of our result with a stronger range condition and weaker non-dictatorship condition.