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The Department of Economics at BU is one of the nation’s leading departments, ranking among the largest PhD and MA programs in the country and one of the largest undergraduate concentrations in the College of Arts & Sciences. Outstanding faculty research is considered a critical complement to outstanding teaching; faculty in the Economics Department, working at the frontier of current economic knowledge, engage students with critical questions and exciting new developments in the field.


Department chair: Professor Barton Lipman
Campus address: 270 Bay State Road
Phone: 617-353-4389
Fax: 617-353-4449

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  • A theory of political gridlock 

    Ortner, Juan (Econometric Society, 2017-05)
    This paper studies how electoral incentives influence the outcomes of political negotiations. It considers a game between two political parties that have to bargain over which policy to implement. While bargaining, the ...
  • Searching for policy reforms 

    Acharya, Avidit; Ortner, Juan (2017)
    We construct a model of policy reform in which two players continually search for Pareto improving policies. The players have imperfect control over the proposals that are considered. Inefficient gridlock takes place due ...
  • Making corruption harder: asymmetric information, collusion, and crime 

    Ortner, Juan; Chassang, Sylvain
    We model criminal investigation as a principal-agent-monitor problem in which the agent can bribe the monitor to destroy evidence. Building on insights from Laffont and Martimort (1997) we study whether the principal can ...
  • Durable goods monopoly with stochastic costs 

    Ortner, Juan (2017)
    I study the problem of a durable goods monopolist who lacks commitment power and whose marginal cost of production varies stochastically over time. I show that a monopolist with stochastic costs usually serves the different ...
  • Disagreement and security design 

    Ortner, Juan; Schmalz, Martin C. (2018-02-21)
    We study optimal security design when the issuer and market participants agree to disagree about the characteristics of the asset to be securitized. We show that pooling assets can be optimal because it mitigates the effects ...
  • Progressive learning 

    Acharya, Avidit; Ortner, Juan (Econometric Society, 2017-12-04)
    We study a dynamic principal–agent relationship with adverse selection and limited commitment. We show that when the relationship is subject to productivity shocks, the principal may be able to improve her value over time ...
  • A continuous time model of bilateral bargaining 

    Ortner, Juan (unpublished manuscript, 2017)
    This paper constructs a continuous-time model of bilateral bargaining to study how fluctuations in bargaining power affect the outcomes of negotiations. The paper deals with the technical complexities that arise when ...
  • School entry, educational attainment, and quarter of birth: a cautionary tale of a local average treatment effect 

    Barua, Rashmi; Lang, Kevin (University of Chicago Press, 2016-09-01)
    Studies of the effects of school entry age on short-run and long-run outcomes generally fail to capture the parameter of policy interest and/or are inconsistent because the instrument they use violates monotonicity, required ...
  • House price momentum and strategic complementarity 

    Guren, Adam M. (University of Chicago Press, 2018-06-01)
    House prices exhibit substantially more momentum, positive autocorrelation in price changes, than existing theories can explain. I introduce an amplification mechanism to reconcile this discrepancy. Sellers do not set a ...

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