Selected Works and Working Papers.
1. Reasons for Peace: Peace talks are seldom successful (i.e., reach a lasting agreement) and their success rate fell from 40 to 13 percent after 1914. In this paper, I model wartime negotiations, rationalize their declining success, and characterize their optimal design. The model extends the reputational bargaining framework by adding hidden effort i.e., to prevent surplus destruction and unilateral defeat. I find that a policy-driven increase in ceasefires during peace talks largely accounts for their declining success and reduces welfare. This is because a persistent stalemate prompts combatants to quickly reach an agreement. I even find natural conditions when it is optimal to never hold a ceasefire during a negotiation. In general, however, it may be optimal to hold a brief ceasefire with a deterministic deadline at the beginning of the negotiation.
2. The Game of Snake (Upcoming, latest research (early stage), slides available here): Technological progress is key to wealth generation and nations, consequently, invest heavily in research and development (R& D). Over time, however, the direction of research is increasingly narrow and unresponsive to new findings (Park et al 2023): thus, technological progress stalls. In this paper, I rationalize the trends above when a scientist's skills are valued outside of R&D and, in discovery, there are overall agglomeration gains. This is because new discoveries increases non-research productivity and thus its wages. Over time, rising, non-research wages prompts increasing concentration in scientific topics with decreasing social and private value.
3. Learning to Commit: I study the relation between limited commitment and learning in auctions. In each period, the seller sets the terms for an auction selling an indivisible good among multiple buyers; but if the item fails to sell, he cannot pre-commit to the terms of future offerings. I find that, in interdependent value settings, the seller's equilibrium revenues are greater than immediately running an efficient, Vickrey auction. In contrast with private value settings, this result persists regardless of how often the seller may interact with buyers. This is because learning among buyers both limits how many times a good can be gainfully re-offered and the information rents that each buyer can demand the seller. Intuitively, buyers lower their valuations in response to their peer's lack of interest. This progressively lowers the trade surplus and compresses the support of valuations. As the dispersion in valuations falls, the seller further extracts an increasing share of the remaining trade surplus.
3. The Generalized Coase Conjecture: This paper studies the Coase Conjecture in auctions settings with interdependent values (IV). In each period, the seller credibly runs a second-price auction with a reserve price. But if the item fails to sell, the seller cannot commit to keep the good in the future. I find that the equilibrium revenues are unique and independent of how often the seller offers his good to potential buyers. Intuitively, when the item fails to sell, buyers screen their peers and consequently lower their valuation. This ensures that, in all equilibria, the seller can only auction the good a finite number of times. Lastly, I prove that the equilibrium revenues equal immediately running the revenue maximizing auction after which the seller cannot gainfully re-offer his good.
4. Firms As Experimental Partnerships.
5. How Does Occupational Access for Older Workers Differ by Education? W/ Mather Rutledge and Steven Sass:
To assess the employment opportunities of older job-changers in the years prior to retirement, this study examines the how the breadth of occupations in which they find employment narrows as they age past their prime working years and how this differs by gender and educational attainment. The results indicate that workers who change jobs in their early 50s find employment in a reasonably similar set of occupa- tions as prime-age workers, with opportunities narrowing at older ages. They also indicate that job opportunities broadened significantly for better-educated older workers since the late 1990s. While job opportunities now narrow significantly for less-educated men in their late 50s, this narrowing primarily occurs in the early 60s for women and better-educated men. In contrast to previous research, the study finds that employer policies that emphasize hiring from within are less important barriers to the hiring of older job-seekers. The study also finds that the narrowing of job opportunities is associated with a general decline in job quality as measured by median occupational earnings, a decline associated with differences in occupational skill requirements and the underlying economic environment. These results suggest that older hiring is not as limited to a select few occupations as it had been in previous decades, and that policy reforms aimed at increasing opportunities and improving labor market fluidity might best be served if they focused on less-educated men.