I am an economic theorist with broad interests.
I’m currently completing a PhD at Northwestern.
From autumn 2021, I’ll be a postdoc at Oxford & Nuffield College.

Working papers

Screening for breakthroughs with Gregorio Curello (Bonn)
[addendum]

Abstract

An agent privately observes a technological breakthrough that expands utility possibilities, and must be incentivised to disclose it. The principal controls the agent’s utility over time. Optimal mechanisms keep the agent only just willing to disclose promptly. In an important case, a deadline mechanism is optimal: absent disclosure, the agent enjoys an efficient utility before a deadline, and an inefficiently low utility afterwards. In general, optimal mechanisms feature a (possibly gradual) transition from the former to the latter. Even if monetary transfers are permitted, they may not be used. We apply our results to the design of unemployment insurance schemes.

The converse envelope theorem
R&R at Econometrica

Abstract

I prove an envelope theorem with a converse: the envelope formula is equivalent to a first-order condition. Like Milgrom and Segal’s (2002) envelope theorem, my result requires no structure on the choice set. I use the converse envelope theorem to extend to abstract outcomes the canonical result in mechanism design that any increasing allocation is implementable, and apply this to selling information.

Agenda-manipulation in ranking with Gregorio Curello (Bonn)
R&R at the Review of Economic Studies
[video, slides]  [longer slides]

Abstract

A committee ranks a set of alternatives by sequentially voting on pairs, in an order chosen by the committee’s chair. Although the chair has no knowledge of voters’ preferences, we show that she can do as well as if she had perfect information. We characterise strategies with this ‘regret-freeness’ property in two ways: (1) they are efficient, and (2) they avoid two intuitive errors. One regret-free strategy is a sorting algorithm called insertion sort. We show that it is characterised by a lexicographic property, and is outcome-equivalent to a recursive variant of the much-studied amendment procedure.

Strategic research funding with Matteo Escudé (LUISS)

Abstract

We study a dynamic game in which information arrives gradually as long as a principal funds research, and an agent takes an action in each period. In equilibrium, the principal’s patience is the key determinant of her information provision: the lower her discount rate, the more eagerly she funds. When she is sufficiently patient, her information provision and value function are well-approximated by the ‘Bayesian persuasion’ model. If the conflict of interest is purely belief-based and information is valuable, then she provides full information if she is patient. We also obtain a sharp characterisation of the principal’s value function. Our proofs rely on a novel dynamic programming principle rooted in the theory of viscosity solutions of differential equations.

The preference lattice with Gregorio Curello (Bonn)

Abstract

Most comparisons of preferences have the structure of single-crossing dominance. We examine the lattice structure of single-crossing dominance, proving characterisation, existence and uniqueness results for minimum upper bounds of arbitrary sets of preferences. We apply these theorems to monotone comparative statics, ambiguity- and risk-aversion and social choice.

Published papers

Strictly strategy-proof auctions with Matteo Escudé (LUISS)
Mathematical Social Sciences, 107, 13–16.
[published version]

Abstract

A strictly strategy-proof mechanism is one that asks agents to use strictly dominant strategies. In the canonical one-dimensional mechanism design setting with private values, we show that strict strategy-proofness is equivalent to strict monotonicity plus the envelope formula, echoing a well-known characterisation of (weak) strategy-proofness. A consequence is that strategy-proofness can be made strict by an arbitrarily small modification, so that strictness is ‘essentially for free’.

Work in progress

Delayed disclosure with Francisco Poggi (Northwestern)

Abstract

A principal owns a project, and recruits an agent to learn about its viability. The agent’s participation over time is observable and costly. Learning is private, allowing the agent to delay the (verifiable) disclosure of any discoveries. The principal incentivises the agent by promising a (history-dependent and possibly random) share of any revenue generated. What is the optimal contract?