• Delegation to an Overconfident Expert (with Scott Ashworth) (2019) (Link)

Working Papers

  • Delegation and Political Turnover (Under Review) (Link)
    • Abstract: We study a 2 period delegation model with an uncertain future principal. One principal decides whether to delegate policy making authority in the first stage to an agent or make policy herself. Before the second stage there is an election, and another principal with different preferences may take power. The main result is that the first principal can exploit the uncertainty over the future principal to extract policy surplus from the agent. This surplus makes the Incumbent better off than she would be without the possibility of turnover. In addition, we find that policy stability can increase as elections become more competitive. We then show that increased polarization between legislators has an ambiguous effect on the likelihood of delegation and on legislator welfare. Finally, as the legislator becomes more likely to retain office, she prefers more policy conflict with the agent.
  • Interest Group Competition over Campaign Contributions and Lobbying (with Dan Alexander) (Link)
    • Abstract: We analyze a game-theoretic model of campaign spending and lobbying. Interest groups may spend money during the election to improve the electoral chances of candidates but may also spend money after the election to influence the policy that the winning candidate implements. Voters anticipate this lobbying and its effect on the final policy when choosing a candidate. When making campaign contributions today, interest groups must therefore anticipate how lobbying will affect the utility associated with electing each of the candidates from the perspectives of both voters and the interest groups themselves. We adopt extant technologies for each of the model’s two stages in order to study the role that the polarization of interest groups and candidates has on expected campaign spending, lobbying expenditures, and final policy location in equilibrium. Further, we model several lobbying environments, each featuring different access to the politician. We find that policy moderation and campaign spending move in opposite directions, both within lobbying regime in response to exogenous changes but also when comparing across lobbying regimes. Our results also demonstrate that interest-group and candidate polarization must be considered jointly, as it is the relative values of these quantities that is most important for campaign spending and final policy location.
  • Federalism, Information and Delegation

Current Research

  • Accountability in Governing Hierarchies (with Ian Turner and Christopher Li)
  • Populism and Bureaucracy (with Massimo Morelli)
  • Police Accountability and Oversight (with Bocar Ba)
  • Political Turnover and Agency Appointments
  • The Linkage Between Economic Inequality and Political Equality: A Formal Modeling Approach