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Benjamin Matta

  • Microeconomic Theory, Game Theory, Behavioral Economic, Political Economy
Representative Publications

Job Market Paper: Sequential Protest Formation

Abstract: People participate in protests even though it is costly, their participation has a negligible impact on the outcome, and the benefits are not exclusive to participants. I propose a framework where people choose optimally to participate, even if the number of potential protesters is arbitrarily large. Opportunities to participate arrive stochastically over time, and the protest succeeds if participation surpasses a threshold.  A player with an opportunity becomes pivotal if, after choosing not to join,  it is likely that the protest will end before another opportunity arrives.

Working Paper: Simplification Games

Abstract: Optimal play in sequential games often requires a high level of sophistication. Although simple behavioral rules may not deliver the best possible outcome, they may be preferred over optimal play because their implementation requires less effort. I propose a new type of game---a simplification game---that incorporates the intrinsic human tendency towards simplicity into the sequential games' framework. Specifically,  Players' preferences are assumed to depend on the game's outcome and the complexity of their strategies. Existence results are provided for the usual equilibrium concepts. Furthermore, I provide two applications of simplification games: i) as a tool to rationalize individuals' mistakes in empirical applications of games, and ii) as a mechanism for equilibrium refinement.

Working Paper: The role of endogenous payoff over public coordination equilibrium

Abstract: This paper explores the influence of a potential protest on governmental spending decisions. The government aims to select a policy that maximizes its payoff, based on two factors: (1) the policy itself, and (2) the result of an imminent protest. Before deciding whether to protest, citizens observe the chosen policy and receive private signals about the government’s strength. We provide an equilibrium where citizens base their decisions solely on public information. Our findings indicate that when the government’s payoff is influenced not just by the outcome of a protest but also by its magnitude, the set of equilibrium strategies becomes narrower.