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Alumni Newsletter 2004

Bob Marshall

Robert C. Marshall

Professor and Head

12-16-04

Dear Alumni: 

Hope all is well. I am writing to provide a quick update about the Department and to invite you to our alumni reception to be held at the Annual ASSA Meeting in Philadelphia in January. I would very much enjoy seeing you at that event. 

Alumni Reception 

Date: January 8, 2005 
Place: Philadelphia Marriott
Grand Ballroom/Salon L 
Time: 6:00-8:00 pm

Faculty 

  • Ed Green and Ruilin Zhou have joined us. Each adds significant strength to our macro group. 
  • We now have six fellows of the Econometric Society on the faculty. Kalyan Chatterjee, Ed Green, Jim Jordan, Vijay Krishna, Quang Vuong and Neil Wallace. 
  • Sophie Bade has joined us as a starting assistant professor. Her Ph.D. is from NYU. A description of her research follows this letter. 

Graduate Students 

  • Last year we placed Jun Xue at Cambridge University in England as an assistant professor (the job title in the English system is actually different). Jun is a game theorist and the Cambridge micro theory group is very strong. This placement is another excellent step in the advancement of our graduate program. 
  • In the past three years we have placed students as assistant professors ofeconomics at MIT, Cornell, Harvard, and Cambridge.

Undergraduate Program 

  • We now have over 12,000 enrollments per year and over 600 majors. 
  • We hired another professional instructor last year to bolster our already strong group. Mark McLeod comes to us from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He has significant experience with big class instruction. 

Overall, the Department continues to forge ahead. As I have noted in previous letters, as our external reputation makes significant advances your degree becomes ever more valuable. 

Let me know if you have any questions or comments ( rmarshall@psu.edu ). 

Sincerely, 

Bob Marshall signature

Robert C. Marshall

Professor and Head 

P.S. If you wish to make a contribution to the Department please send checks to: 

Department of Economics

The Pennsylvania State University

614 Kern Bldg.

University Park, PA 16802 

Sophie Bade Research

My research focuses on political economy, game theory and decision theory. 

In my job market paper I investigated electoral competition between two office-motivated parties. Deviating from the standard assumption that all that matters in politics can be aligned on a left-right spectrum, I assumed that voters do care about a variety of different issues. The problem with this increase in realism about voter preferences is that the most common models of electoral competition fail to have any equilibria without the assumption that the political spectrum is unidimensional. I solve this - well known -problem by assuming that parties dislike situations in which their share of the vote becomes very unpredictable. With this novel assumption on the behavior of parties I can show that the platforms of opportunistic parties will also when voters care about multiple issues converge to the "middle" of all the different voters' most preferred platforms. In a sense, this work can be seen as an extension of the celebrated median voter theorem to a world with multiple issues. 

I also worked on game theory with indecisive players. As an application of this work I characterize equilibria of oligopolisitic competition when firms care about more than just profits, say when firms also care about their revenues and sales. In political economy I have used a two-party-model similar to the one described above to further a new explanation for the fact that in equilibrium two candidates rarely ever announce the exact same platform. 

Currently I am working on a model of advertising in electoral campaigns. My goal is to develop a model in which parties that run on less complex platforms have an edge over parties that run on more complex platforms. The complexity of a platform will be expressed in terms of the number of issues addressed in that platform and the role of advertising is to make learning about the different aspects of a platform less costly.