Avinash Dixit

Recent Writings

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NEW: "On Optimal Transition to Green Power Generation." October 2023. (340K)

NEW: "Optimal Policy for Learning by Doing to Reduce Cost of Green Production." December 2022. (761K)

NEW: "The Financial Expert of Malgudi." In Fictionomics, eds. François Bourguignon, Luc Leruth and Jean-Philippe Platteau, forthcoming 2023. (328K)

NEW: "Laws and Norms in Games Humans Play." Paper presented at the Nobel Symposium "One Hundred Years of Game Theory," December 2021. (265K)

"Covid-19 in Red and Blue States." Revised version January 3, 2021. (220K)

For a laugh in these tough times, "R0 for Covid Research: An early estimate and policy implications" May 20, 2020. (70K)

" 'We haven't got but one more day': The Cuban missile crisis as a dynamic chicken game." With David McAdams and Susan Skeath. June 2019. (940K)

"How Can India Avoid Losing Its Race to Prosperity?" India Policy Forum Lecture, July 2018. (790K)

"Fighting Corruption by Altering Equilibrium in an Assurance Game" November 30, 2017. (568K)

"Is There Any Future for Trade Liberalization Agreements?" Slides of presentation at a conference in honor of Victor Norman, Norges Handelshoyskole, Bergen, Norway, December 6, 2016. (90K)


"The Most Important Situations in Tennis and in R-and-D Competition." With Susan Skeath. April 2, 2021. (490K)

"A Cookie Cutting Problem." February 22, 2021. (153K)

"How early should you plan to arrive for a flight?" January 19, 2021. (130K) Excel file showing the calculations is available here.

"An Option Value Problem from Seinfeld." Economic Inquiry 50(2), April 2012, pp. 563-565. (74K)


NEW: How Economists Think This is a short (1-hour) introduction to economics directed to high school students and general readers, prepared as a part of a video series for an educational technology company. The details and the videos will be available from them in due course. June 2022

This teaching note on social welfare functions was prepared a long time ago for graduate microeconomics classes at Warwick and Princeton. It was never scanned or published in any form. In response to some recent inquiries, I am making it available here.


My memories of James Mirrlees are posted here, in the "Tributes and Obituaries" section.

A post on the American Economic Association's forum EconSpark: "World trade - USA = ?" November 23, 2018.

A blog on the InsTED (Institutions Trade and Economic Development) site: "Community-Based Action to Fight Corruption", 26 September 2018

Two recent interviews: (1) with Eric Wallach for Yale's cultural and political magazine, The Politic, here, (2) with Lalit Panda for Catharsis Magazine, a collaborative publication organized by students and researchers across Indian universities, here. In the latter I argue that the WTO and other international organizations should expel the US in order to preserve the huge long-term value of a rule-based order, but this may now be unnecessary after the 2020 presidential election.

"New ideas for fighting corruption in India", OpEd essay in liveMint, April 23, 2018.

An interview with me by Lepota Cosmo appears in his Diurnal of New Economic Theories


"Microeconomics - A Very Short Introduction"

This book is in the Oxford University Press series Very Short Introductions. It was listed as one of the best Economics books of 2014 by the Financial Times. The table of contents and chapter 1 are available here; the publisher's web site gives more details. The book is rated by the widely followed information and guidance wiki Ezvid among The 10 Best Microeconomics Textbooks

"The Art of Strategy" (with Barry Nalebuff)

This book explains game-theoretic ideas to a general readership using examples and anecdotes drawn from many sources - business, politics, sports, literature, movies ... For more information, see the authors' web site and the publisher's web site. See the mention of this book on Shepherd, a new site for readers. The page for me also lists some of my recommendations for books on Economics and Game Theory.

"Games of Strategy" fifth edition (with Susan Skeath and David Reiley)

The new edition features extensive rewriting, streamlining, and simplification of the chapters on mixed strategies, uncertainty and information, prisoners' dilemmas, and collective action. There are many new exercises, with solutions publicly available for most of them. For more information, see the publisher's web site.


Where restricted by copyright requirements, the files posted here are pre-copy-edit manuscript versions, not reprints.

"Understanding the coevolution of mask wearing and epidemics: A network perspective." With Zirou Qiu et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(26), June 22, 2022.

"Somewhere in the middle you can survive: Review of The Narrow Corridor by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson." The Journal of Economic Literature, December 2021, 59(4), 1361–1375. (840K)

"Environmental Catastrophes and Mitigation Policies in a Multiregion World." With Timothy Besley. In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(12), March 19, 2019. Sackler Symposium, pp. S270-S276.

"Localized Prosocial Preferences, Public Goods, and Common-Pool Resources." With Andrew Tilman and Simon Levin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(12), March 19, 2019. Sackler Symposium, pp. S305-S310.

"Anti-Corruption Institutions: Some History and Theory." In Institutions, Governance, and the Control of Corruption, eds. Kaushik Basu and Tito Cordella, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, pp. 15-49. (219 KB)

"Too Small to Regulate." With Kaushik Basu. Journal of Quantitative Economics 15(1), March 2017, pp. 1-14. (225 K)

"A Variable Threat Game of Ransom." Forthcoming in Memorial Volume for Professor John Nash, eds. Joseph Kohn and Hong Jun, World Scientific Publishers, 2017. (1.2 MB)

"Applying Game Theory to the Supreme Court Nomination Fight" (with David McAdams), Harvard Business Review, September 26, 2016. Made irrelevant by the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

"Governance Reforms and Growth: Some Ideas from Economic Theory" Frontiers of Economics in China 10(4), December 2015, pp. 567-584. (215K)

"Corruption: Supply-side and Demand-side Solutions." In Development in India: Micro and Macro Perspectives, eds. S. Mahendra Dev and P.G. Babu, Springer, 2015, pp. 57-68. (138 K)

"How Business Community Institutions Can Help Fight Corruption." World Bank Economic Review, 29 (suppl 1), 2015, S25-S47. (592 K)

"Governance, Trade, and Investment." Research in Economics, 69(2), June 2015, 166-179 (356 K)

"The Cone of Uncertainty of the 21st Century's Economic Hurricane." In In 100 Years, ed. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, MIT Press, 2015, pp. 49-56. (94K)

"Strategy in History and (versus?) in Economics: A Review of Lawrence Freedman's Strategy: A History," Journal of Economic Literature, 52(4), December 2014, 1119-1134. (180 K)

"Catalyst or Cause? Legislation and the Demise of Machine Politics in Britain and the United States." With Edwin Camp and Susan Stokes. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 39(4), November 2014, pp. 559-591. (434 K) Mathematical Appendix (155 K).

"A Real Options Perspective on the Future of the Euro." With Fernando Alvarez. Journal of Monetary Economics, 61(1), 2014, pp. 78-109. (545 K)

"My Philosophy of Economics, Life, and Everything (Not!)" In Eminent Economists II: Their Life Philosophies, eds. Michael Szenberg and Lall Ramrattan, Cambridge University Press, 2014. (29K)

"Reciprocal Insurance Among Kenyan Pastoralists."With Simon Levin and Daniel Rubenstein. Theoretical Ecology Volume 6, Issue 2 (2013), pp. 173-187. (393 K)

"Bureaucracy, Its Reform, and Development." (A. N. Varma Lecture, India Development Foundation, Delhi, February 2012) Review of Market Integration 4(2), August 2012, pp. 135-157. (204K)

"Paul Samuelson's Legacy." Annual Reviews of Economics, Volume 4, September 2012, pp. 1-31. (2.1MB)

"The Integrated World Equilibrium Diagram from International Trade Theory." In Famous Figures and Diagrams in Economics, eds. Mark Blaug and Peter Lloyd, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2012. (111K)


"Governance, Development, and Foreign Direct Investment." Max Weber Lecture, European University Institute, Florence, Italy. January 2012 (242K)

"Socializing Education and Pro-Social Preferences." First draft August 2009, this version November 2009. (273K)

"Political Explanations of Inefficient Economic Policies - An Overview of Some Theoretical and Empirical Literature." With Thomas Romer. Presentation at the IIPF conference "Public Finance: Fifty Years of the Second Best - and Beyond", Paphos, Cyprus, August 2006. (106K)

"Predatory States and Failing States: An Agency Perspective." June 2006 (403K)

"Self-enforcing Cooperation with Graduated Punishments" With Dilip Abreu and Douglas Bernheim. July 2005. (319K)

"Arbitration and Information." First draft February 2003, this version November 2003. (222K)

"IMF Programs as Incentive Mechanisms." June 2000. (41K, MS Word file)


Text of a talk given at the luncheon honoring the 2009 Economics Nobel Laureates Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson, at the American Economic Association meetings in Denver, CO on January 8, 2011.

Text of a talk given at the luncheon honoring the 2008 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Paul Krugman, at the American Economic Association meetings in Atlanta, GA on January 4, 2010.

Text of a talk given at a session in memory of Paul Samuelson at the American Economic Association meetings in Atlanta, GA on January 4, 2010.

"Whither Greenwald-Stiglitz?" (23K) Presentation at Joseph Stiglitz's 60th birthday conference, Columbia University, October 24, 2003a All the papers presented at this conference are at Stiglitz's web site. Click on "Festschrift" and then on "Conference Presentations".

Text of a talk given at the luncheon honoring the 2001 Nobel Laureates in Economics, George Akerlof, Michael Spence, and Joseph Stiglitz, at the American Economic Association Meetings in Washington, DC on January 4, 2003. (MS Word file, 81K).

"John Nash - Founder of Modern Game Theory," written for the award ceremony of an honorary degree to Nash at Athens University, June 2000. (11K) If you liked this, you may also want to read a short article on game theory that I wrote as material to accompany a PBS documentary about John Nash.

"My System of Work (Not!)," In Passion and Craft: Economists at Work, ed. Michael Szenberg, University of Michigan Press, 1998. 


Unpublished mathematical appendix(91K) to the paper "Interaction of commitment and discretion in monetary and fiscal policies," (with Luisa Lambertini), American Economic Review, 93(5), December 2003, 1522-1542.

Unpublished mathematical appendix (173K) to the paper "Symbiosis of monetary and fiscal policies in a monetary union," (with Luisa Lambertini), Journal of International Economics, 60(2), August 2003, 235-247.

"On modes of economic governance" (393K) This is the working paper version of the paper that was published in Econometrica in March 2003, and contains analysis of some cases omitted there.

"Common agency and coordination: General theory and application to tax policy," with Gene Grossman and Elhanan Helpman. (229 K) This is the working paper version of the paper that was published in the Journal of Political Economy in August 1997, and contains the proofs that were omitted from the published version.

Unpublished mathematical appendix (141 K) to the paper "Power of incentives in private versus public organizations," American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings, 87(2), May 1997, pp.378-383.


If you want reprints of these papers, you should try to obtain them from the publishers' websites using your library's resources. I have some of these available as PDF files and have provided links for them where possible, but do not have hardcopy reprints any longer.

"International Trade, Foreign Direct Investment, and Security". Annual Reviews of Economics, Volume 3, September 2011, pp.191-213 . (549K)

"A Game-theoretic Perspective on Diego Gambetta's Codes of the Underworld" In Global Crime 12(2), May 2011, pp.134-145. (147K)

"Democracy, Autocracy, and Bureaucracy." In Journal of Globalization and Development 2010, Vol. 1 : Iss. 1, Article 1.

"Governance Institutions and Economic Activity." American Economic Review 2009, Vol. 99, No.1, pp. 5-24.

"Evaluating Recipes for Development Sucess." World Bank Research Observer, 22(2), 2007, pp. 131-157.

"Political Polarization." With Jorgen Weibull. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(18), May 1, 2007, pp. 7351-7356.

"Thomas Schelling's Contributions to Game Theory." Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 108(2), April 2006, 213-229.

"Incentive Contracts for Faith-Based Organizations to Deliver Social Services." In Economic Theory in a Changing World: Policy Modelling for Growth. Eds. Sajal Lahiri and Pradip Maiti. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2005.

"Restoring Fun to Game Theory."Journal of Economic Education, 36(3), Summer 2005, 205-219.

"Two-Tier Market Institutions." Chicago Journal of International Law, 5(1), Summer 2004, 139-155.

"Some Reflections on Theories and Applications of Monopolistic Competition." in The Monopolistic Competition Revolution After Twenty-Five Years, eds. Steven Brakman and Ben Heijdra, Cambridge University Press, 2003, 123-133.

"Interaction of commitment and discretion in monetary and fiscal policies." with Luisa Lambertini. American Economic Review, 93(5), December 2003, 1522-1542. An unpublished mathematical appendix is available; see above.

"Clubs with entrapment." American Economic Review, 93(5), December 2003,1824-1829.

"Trade expansion and contract enforcement." Journal of Political Economy, 111(6), December 2003, 1293-1317.

"On the Role of Good Faith in Insurance Contracting." with Pierre Picard. In Economics for an Imperfect World: Essays in Honor of Joseph Stiglitz, eds. Richard Arnott et al., MIT Press, 2003, 17-34.

"Common agency with rational expectations: Theory and application to a monetary union." with Henrik Jensen. Economic Journal, 113(489), July 2003, 539-549. A version of the structural model with the nominal interest rate as the instrument is also available here.

"Some lessons from transaction cost politics for less-developed countries." Economics and Politics, 15(2), July 2003, 107-133.

"On modes of economic governance." Econometrica, 71(2), March 2003, 449-481.

Avinash Dixit home page * Curriculum Vitae (PDF file) * Teaching Materials