As a recent Ph.D. recipient in the UCI Department of Economics, Michael Sacks’ hard work has paid off more than once this year. In addition to being hooded, the Baltimore native was also recently awarded both the 2016 A. Kimball Romney Award for outstanding graduate research paper, and the Jean-Claude Falmagne Dissertation Award.

His graduate paper explores the effects of accounting for non-monotonicities in determining the utility of consumption and provision in public and club good models. The paper is the first of its kind to take these structural non-monotonicities into account when modeling the utility from consumption and provision, and Sacks finds that doing so has a drastic effect on the equilibrium structure and welfare properties.

“Moreover,” he says, “the model developed in the paper provides empirically testable alternative mechanisms driving several well known phenomena in innovation and public economics, including why there is over-investment in patent races, why proprietary software developers often support their open source competition, and why regulation often grows to be excessively complex.”

His dissertation explores similar topics, delving into the dynamics, tradeoffs, and competitive aspects of collaborative production.

Sacks completed his undergraduate degree at Towson University, near his hometown in Maryland. He came to UCI to complete his master’s degree in mathematical behavioral science (MBS) before earning his Ph.D in economics. His research interests include game theory, industrial organization, the economics of innovation, and more. He will be joining the Department of Economics and the Center for Free Enterprise at West Virginia University this fall.





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