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Title: Essays in Applied Game Theory and Political Economy
Authors: Steverson, Christopher Kai
Advisors: Gul, Faruk
Contributors: Economics Department
Subjects: Economics
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation provides a game theoretic study of the incentives and dynamics of government action. In chapter 1, I study how the political incentives for providing legal protections to minority workers is influenced by the mobility of workers across cities. I build a model that shows how cities that provide insufficient protection to minorities can do better at attracting workers and end up being larger overall. To the extent that policy makers care about city size and city growth, my result identifies an incentive that reinforces the inadequate protection of minorities in the workplace. In chapter 2, I build a model to explain electoral cycling, which is the regularity observed in the data that the longer a party is in power the more likely it loses the next election. I study an infinite horizon model of political competition where parties choose between nominating moderate candidates, who are better at winning elections, and partisan candidates who energize and grow the base which helps to win future elections. Hence, parties face a trade-off between winning current and future elections. In the presence of such a trade-off, parties win elections by sacrificing their future prospects which naturally leads to electoral cycling. In chapter 3, I explore novel consequences of the learning model of economic voting. Economic voting is the empirical phenomenon that a strong economy makes incumbent re-election more likely while a weak economy makes incumbent defeat more likely. Previous work in the literature explains this phenomenon with voter learning; a strong economy is taken as a positive signal about the incumbent's policy or competence. I introduce the idea that voters who learn should also experiment, that is they should care about how much learning a policy allows when deciding whom to elect. In particular voters will, at times, prefer a policy that creates worse outcomes but that allows for more learning.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Economics

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