Research

My research reflects two tendencies in my intellectual pursuits:

  • My love of moral philosophy, in the old sense that includes moral psychology, behavioral economics, and political economy itself. My immersion into the discursive realm of moral philosophy has been chiefly by way of the close study of Adam Smith and the history of economic thought. My mentors at George Mason, in this regard have been Professors Daniel Klein, David Levy, and Donald Boudreaux.
  • An excitement for analytic methods including agent-based modeling, economic theory, and experiments. Here my chief influence at George Mason has been Professor Robert Axtell, as well as the work of Dr. Thomas Schelling and Dr. Eric Beinhocker. Approaching complex systems by modeling the choices of many independent agents parallels the Smithean sense of society evolving from individual choices and interactions.

These two tendencies represent different ways of approaching topics. My research has treated moral and institutional issues such as how people solve coordination problems and avoid conflict in the absence of third party enforcement, and how our moral judgments drive our responses to political decisions. Such questions have fascinated me and driven my research agenda. I address these questions by combining insights of Adam Smith with modern agent based modeling methods to demonstrate how individual behaviors and decisions drive the complex system of society.

View my Research Statement

 

Job Market Paper

Title: “Endowment Effects in Evolutionary Game Theory: Enhancing Property Rights”

This paper was a finalist for the 2016 Public Choice Society Vincent & Elinor Ostrom Prize

From left to right: Dr. Roberta Herzberg, Eric Hammer, Pierre Mandon, Helena Helfer, and Dr. Mario Villarreal-Diaz.

 

Publications

“The Power of the Chairman’s Agenda: An Experiment for Teaching ‘Committee Karate’ in the Classroom,” Journal of Economics and Finance Education, 2018, Forthcoming.

“How Advances in Technology Keep Reducing Interventionist Policy Rationales,” (with Fred Foldvary), Technology in Society, November 2016, Vol. 47, pg. 16-24.

 

Working Papers

Endowment Effects in Evolutionary Game Theory: Enhancing Property Rights,” GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 17-47, August 2017. Finalist for the Public Choice Society Vincent & Elinor Ostrom Prize.

“How Advances in Technology Keep Reducing Interventionist Policy Rationales,” (with Fred Foldvary), Mercatus Working Paper, Mercatus Center at George Mason University, July 2015.

“The Endowment Effect and First Party Enforcement of Rights: Evidence from the Black Market” (with Bryan Caplan)

“Analyzing the Moral Effects of the Welfare State Through the Lens of Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments”

“Voter Turnout and Multiple Parties: An Individual Level Model of Party Formation”

 

Works in Progress

“Getting Better Legislative Results: How Much Expertise is Necessary?”

“A Smithean Model of Beliefs and Experience, and How Proverbs Shape Voting Behaviour”

“Expressive Voting and the Median Voter Theory: An Agent Based Approach”