Matias Iaryczower is a Professor of Politics at Princeton University, and Director of the Research Program in Political Economy. He received his Ph.D in Economics from UCLA in 2005, and was Assistant Professor of Economics at the California Institute of Technology 2005-10. His research uses game theory and empirical methods to study how institutions and strategic considerations shape collective decision-making in courts, legislatures, and elections. [Curriculum Vitae]

305 Fisher Hall
Princeton University
Princeton NJ,. 08544
(609) 258-1018



  • Ph.D. in Economics. University of California, Los Angeles. May, 2005.
  • M.A. in Economics. Universidad de San Andrés (Argentina). August,1998.
  • Lic. in Economics. Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina). April, 1998.


Academic Positions

  • Professor of Politics, Princeton University. Jul. 2020 - Present
  • Director, Research Program in Political Economy. Jul 2018 - Present.
  • Research Associate, Political Economy Program, NBER. Apr. 2021 - Present.
  • Associate Professor of Politics, Princeton University. Jul. 2015 - July 2020.
  • Assistant Professor of Politics, Princeton University. Jul. 2010 - Jul. 2015.
  • Assistant Professor of Economics, California Institute of Technology. Jul. 2005 - Jul. 2010. 


Selected Working Papers 

We study sequential contributions to public goods in a decentralized environment in which commitment to a contribution schedule is not feasible. We show that if the project is sufficiently large, the unique equilibrium of the model displays endogenous contribution cycles, in which agents with different valuations for the good alternate making gradual contributions towards the completion of the project. We characterize these cycles in terms of the primitives of the model, and study the efficiency of equilibrium outcomes. 

We use a rich dataset on thousands of candidates for office in three elections for Brazil's Chamber of Deputies to quantify the extent to which the "supply side" of politics limits voter welfare, and explore how and why this happens. We (i) quanitfy the relative value that voters give to candidates' policy and valence, (ii) evaluate the welfare loss to voters brought by the set of candidates they face, and their (equilibrium) policy choices, and (iii) explain when and why candidates choose policy positions that diverge from voters' preferences. 

A fundamental results in the literature on congressional control is that optimal institutions take the form of limited delegation of decision-making authority to the agency. We revisit the question of optimal institutional design when the legislature and the agency care about both policy and its scale of implementation. If the agency has a conservative bias, the legislature overfunds relatively liberal policies and underfunds relatively conservative policies. We show that in this context, delegation is not optimal. Significantly, policy is almost everywhere more liberal than the agent's preferred policy. The regulatory framework is ex post inefficient for all realizations of the agency's private information. In particular, for realizations of the state calling for relatively conservative policies, policy is more liberal, and the budget allocated to it is lower, than what both the legislature and the agency would want to impose if they had full information. 

We show that campaign Contributions have a large effect on the behavior of individual judges -- affecting the probability that they vote to overturn and the probability that they vote incorrectly -- but have a small effect on the decisions and effectiveness of the Court.


Selected Publications & Forthcoming


We consider a dynamic process of coalition formation in which a principal bargains sequentially with a group of agents. We show that increasing agents' bargaining power can induce delay and be detrimental to their welfare. This occurs in spite of the lack of informational asymmetries or discriminatory offers.

We estimate office and policy motivations in the US Senate. Senators are generally willing to make large policy concessions for electoral gains, but electoral accountability is low due to the small impact of policy changes on voter support.

We estimate a model of voting with incomplete information in which committee members (judges in the US courts of appeals) can communicate before voting. We compare the probability of mistakes with deliberation with a counterfactual of no communication. We find that deliberation can be useful when judges tend to disagree ex ante and their private information is relatively imprecise; otherwise, it tends to reduce the effectiveness of the court.

We consider a class of dynamic collective action problems in which a principal uses transfers to rally the support of a group of agents, in a context in which agents decisions are sequential and irreversible. We show that whenever the principals provide value to the members of the group, introducing competition from a second principal reduces agents' welfare.

We consider a model of decentralized bargaining in legislatures. We show that some parties can endogenously emerge as brokers in equilibrium, transferring resources and voting rights between two parties that wouldn't negotiate directly with one another.

We show that a model of judicial behavior that accounts for differences in ability and ideology among justices explains the decisions of the UK Lords of Appeal remarkably well, and improves the fit of the ideological model.

We estimate an empirical model of voting in Congress that accounts for uncertainty and private information about the quality of the proposal. We show that seniority and uncompetitive elections lead to higher ideological rigidity and curtail the role of information in policy-making.

We estimate a model of voting in Congress that allows for dispersed information about the quality of proposals. The results highlight the effects of bicameralism on policy outcomes. In equilibrium, the Senate imposes an endogenous supermajority rule of about four-fifths on members of the House.

We consider a model of electoral competition with free entry, ideological differentiation and campaign spending. We show that proportional elections induce more candidates, competing less aggressively in campaign spending, than majoritarian elections.

Justices that are shielded from voters' influence on average (i) have better information, (ii) are more likely to change their preconceived opinions about a case, and (iii) make less mistakes than their elected counterparts.

We estimate an equilibrium model of decision-making in the Court that takes into account both private information and ideological differences between justices. We find that in roughly one out of two cases, justices' prior beliefs and ideological biases are overpowered by case-specific information.

Spending caps and compulsory voting can be pro-competitive in non-majoritarian electoral systems, leading to a larger number of parties contesting the election.

Party discipline is endogenously determined by backbenchers' beliefs about the extent of support to the leader within the party. We show that rewards that can be distributed publicly and on the spot (as opposed to promises of future benefits) are necessary for the leader to be powerful.

We provide conditions for judicial decisions to be sensitive to legislative lobbying, and find that lobbying falls the more divided the legislature is on the relevant issues. We apply this framework to analyze supreme court labor decisions in Argentina.

We examine the independence of Argentina's Supreme Court. We show that the probability of voting against the government increases the less aligned a justice is with the President, and falls the stronger the control of the President over the legislature.


Other Working Papers​​​​​

We consider strategic voting in sequential committees in a common value setting with incomplete information.


Work In Progress

  • "Sequential Contributions to Multiple Joint Projects", with Santiago Oliveros and Parth Parihar.
  • "The Revealed Preferences of Individual Contributors", with Ted Enamorado and Gabriel Lopez Moctezuma.
  • "Electability and Ideology in Presidential Primaries: An Empirical Analysis of Individual Contributions", with Ted Enamorado and Gabriel Lopez Moctezuma. 
  • "Do Career Concerns Reduce Polarization?", with Gabriel Lopez Moctezuma.
  • "Does Deliberation lead to Better Decisions? An Empirical Analysis of Deliberations in FDA Advisory Committees", with Nathan Canen.
  • "Repeated Reputational Bargaining: An Empirical Analysis of Union Bargaining", with Ted Enamorado and Germán Gieczeski. 



Current Students

  • Andrew Mack (main advisor): Political Economy.
  • Elayne Yao (main advisor): Comparative Politics / Formal Theory & Quantitative Methods.
  • Yuhan Zheng (main advisor): Formal Theory & Quantitative Methods.
  • Joe Ruggiero (com.member): International Relations / Formal and Quantitative Methods.
  • Roel Bos (com.member): American Politics / Formal Theory. 


Former Students

  • Parth Parihar (com.member): Economics / Political Economy.
  • Korhan Kocak (main advisor): Political Economy. (AP, NYU Abu Dhabi)
  • Gabriel Lopez Moctezuma (main advisor): Political Economy / Quantitative Methods (AP, Caltech).
  • Noam Reich (com. member): International Relations.
  • Dan Gibbs (com. member): American Politics, Formal Theory.
  • Galileu Kim (com. member): Comparative Politics.
  • Brendan Cooley (com. member): International Relations, Formal and Quantitative Methods (Senior Data Scientist, Big League Advance).
  • Sondre Solstad (com. member): Comparative Politics (Senior Data Journalist at The Economist)
  • Ted Enamorado (com. member): Quantitative Methods / Comparative Politics (AP, Washington University Saint Louis).
  • Amanda Kennard (com. member): International Relations (AP, NYU).
  • Romain Ferrali (com. member): Political Economy (PostDoc, NYU Abu Dhabi).
  • Peter Buisseret (com. member): Formal Theory, Comparative Politics (AP, Harvard). 
  • Jidong Chen (com. member): Formal Theory / Comparative Politics (AP, Tsinghua U, China).