Working Papers

I introduce the notion of “norms of compromise” and show that it is essential to understanding the complex relationship between diversity and cooperation documented in the literature. 

I find that norms of compromise are able to invert the relationship between stable cooperation and polarization by changing individual risks of leaving the grand coalition. For example, polarization can stabilize cooperation under norms with high sensitivity to moderates' preferences and destabilize it under norms with low sensitivity. I also find that skewing moderate preferences towards extremists makes the same extremists less willing to cooperate under some norms and more willing to cooperate under others. These results highlight the importance of considering the interaction between diversity and culture to establish the causal effects of diversity on cooperation. They also shed light on how norms interact with cooperative efforts in uncertain political environments involving diverse political actors, like social movements.

The sociological literature indicates that within diverse communities, agents create externalities on each other when they consume market goods to express their identity.  

We provide a model in which local governments use taxation and agents adjust social networks to address these identity expression externalities. We find that taxation and network adjustments can be strategic complements or substitutes depending on agents' taste for out-group identity expression: the marginal value of taxation as a tool to regulate identity expression can be increasing or decreasing in agents' exposure to out-group identity expression. We show how diversity affects social networks and taxation, and how the existence of a tax response to identity expression externalities impacts network adjustments. Based on our theoretical framework we estimate a simultaneous equations model using US city data on ethnic diversity, taxation, and segregation. Our results provide suggestive evidence that taxation and network choice are strategic complements in addressing moderately positive ethnic identity expression externalities. Interpreting the empirical results through the lens of our model implies that agents' desire to segregate decreases when city governments use taxation to regulate identity expression.

Ideologically Radical, Tactically Conservative 

We study the conditions for legislative gridlock to occur within a majoritarian assembly with endogenous coalitions. 

Legislators possess Euclidean preferences over multiple policy dimensions, and are ordered according to a multidimensional notion of the left vs. right divide. Gridlock occurs if no coalition can propose a reform that gains stable support. As a result, the status quo is maintained. We derive both necessary and sufficient conditions for the existence of a stable gridlock. These conditions depend on two measures characterizing a legislator’s ideology, that we call conservatism and extremism. Conservatism characterizes the attractiveness of the status quo relative to median legislator’s preferred policy. Extremism measures the distance of an agent’s preference from the preference of the median legislator along the left-right divide. We show that gridlock can be a stable outcome only if a majority of legislators is sufficiently conservative and extremist. Moreover, gridlock occurs if a coalition that includes relatively conservative legislators located on both sides of the political spectrum tactically proposes a more conservative reform than the one that is preferred by the median legislator.

Works In Progress

Strategic Investments in Identity Networks

We study the effect of government public good provision on individuals' relative investments in political and social networks. 

Communication, Coordination, and Language Styles

Using the literature from social linguistics, we study the effect of different language styles on the ability to effectively communicate and coordinate with each other.