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I am an Assistant Professor of Economics at Texas Tech University. My research applies economic theory to study dynamic political economy questions. My recent projects are on the dynamics of inequality, robust mechanism design, and strategic communication.
Abstract: I develop an economic theory of how a society's distribution of power and resources evolves over time. Multiple lineages of players compete by accumulating power, which is modeled as an asset that increases the probability of winning conflicts over resources. This model provides sharp equilibrium predictions for how a society’s distribution of power evolves and whether it approaches inclusivity, oligarchy, or dictatorship in the long run. My main result shows that power and resources inevitably fall into the hands of a few when political competition is left unchecked in large societies, which addresses a longstanding empirical puzzle.
Abstract: Online voting mechanisms (e.g. polls) are a potentially powerful, cost-effective means of collecting large amounts of data about preferences, but such large-scale data collection has proven to be vulnerable to sabotage (e.g. by internet trolls) if proper precautions are not taken. To this end, we consider the problem of designing a voting mechanism that is robust to derailment by external groups. We show that plurality voting and other standard mechanisms are often not robust to sabotage; in fact it is sometimes preferable to not run any poll at all. The optimal voting mechanism is found to make saboteurs indifferent between each alternative they can vote for, since this undermines their ability to adversely affect the designer's predictions of other voters' preferences.
I study how a sender can use verifiable binary evidence to influence a receiver about a binary state when the relevance of information is ex ante uncertain and asymmetrically known by the sender. The sender has access to two pieces of evidence: one they know to be perfectly informative of the state and one that is completely uninformative. Although full disclosure of evidence is possible in equilibrium, the receiver generically cannot fully unravel which piece of evidence is relevant. Consequently, the Receiver may gain little to no information about the state even when all evidence is disclosed.