PhD candidate, Department of Economics

Photograph

Contact information

Department of Economics
Northwestern University
2211 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Phone: +1-347-506-5408

ludvig.sinander@u.northwestern.edu

 

 

 

Education

PhD, Economics, Northwestern University, 2021 (expected)
MA, Economics, Northwestern University, 2016
MPhil (with Distinction), Economics, University of Oxford & Nuffield College, 2015
BA (First Class), Philosophy, Politics & Economics, University of Oxford & St Catherine’s College, 2013

Field of specialisation

Microeconomic theory

Curriculum vitæ

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Job market paper

‘Screening for breakthroughs’, with Gregorio Curello

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, and cannot use monetary transfers. 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 high utility before a deadline, and an inefficiently low utility afterward. In general, optimal mechanisms feature a (possibly gradual) transition from the former to the latter. Even if monetary transfers are permitted, they play no incentive role in optimal mechanisms, and may not be used at all. We apply our results to unemployment insurance and to task delegation in organisations.

Further papers

‘The converse envelope theorem’
R&R at Econometrica

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.

‘Strictly strategy-proof auctions’, with Matteo Escudé
published in Mathematical Social Sciences, 107  [published version]

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’.

‘Agenda-manipulation in ranking’, with Gregorio Curello

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

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

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.

Work in progress

‘Delayed disclosure’, with Francisco Poggi

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?

References

Prof. Eddie Dekel (committee chair)
Prof. Alessandro Pavan (committee member)
Prof. Bruno Strulovici (committee member)