CONTACT ME

I am an Assistant Professor of Finance and Business Economics at the Marshall School of Business at USC. I am interested in Economic Theory, particularly on Information Economics. I am also interested in Experimental Economics.

USC Marshall School of Business

João Ramos

Assistant Professor of Finance and Business Economics
Marshall School of Business
University of Southern California

 

Email:

Joao.Ramos@marshall.usc.edu

Address:

Department of Finance and Business Economics

701 Exposition Blvd, Ste. 205

Marshall School of Business

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA 90089-1422

CURRENT RESEARCH
 

Working Papers

We study how networks of informational flows are formed. We develop an endogenous network formation model, in which agents form connections to acquire information. Our model features complementarity in actions as agents care not only about accuracy of their decision making but also about the actions of other agents. In equilibrium, the information structure is a hierarchical network, and, under weakly convex cost of forming links, the equilibrium network is core-periphery. Even if agents are ex-ante identical, there is ex-post heterogeneity in payoffs and actions. Finally, we study how individual characteristics determine agents' roles in the network.

We examine the efficiency gains of introducing a pre-play phase—allowing agents to communicate while incrementally committing to their words—in coordination environments. We consider a particular pre-play institution for which the efficient equilibrium is unique in the extended game, and we test the environment in the lab. We focus on weaklink games, a coordination game with multiple Pareto ranked equilibria, in which an inferior equilibrium is often observed in experimental settings. We first show that the institution intertwining communication and incremental commitment significantly increases subjects' payoffs, even when compared to rich pure communication protocols. Aligned with theoretical predictions, commitment changes the way players communicate—affecting what is a player says and, moreover, how others interpret it. Finally, we focus on the road to efficiency; we analyze agents’ dynamic behavior as they try to coordinate, and we show that this behavior is closely aligned with theoretical predictions. The results shed new light on how pre-play institutions can mitigate coordination failures and highlight communication and incremental commitment as key features.

Repeated Delegation
Revise and Resubmit at JET 
joint with Elliot Lipnowski
Link to Paper (SSRN)

In an ongoing relationship of delegated decision making, a principal consults a biased agent to assess projects' returns. In equilibrium, the principal allows future bad projects to reward fiscal restraint, but cannot commit to indefinite rewards. We characterize equilibrium payoffs (at fixed discounting), showing that Pareto optimal equilibria are implemented via a two-regime 'Dynamic Capital Budget'. Rather than facing backloaded rewards—as in dynamic agency models with commitment power—the agent loses autonomy as time progresses. This transition toward conservatism echoes the life cycle of an organization: as it matures, it generates lower revenue at a higher yield.

We study a continuous-time model of partnership, with persistence and imperfect state monitoring. Partners exert private efforts to shape the stock of fundamentals, which drives the profits of the partnership. The near-optimal strongly symmetric equilibria are non Markovian and are characterized by a novel differential equation that describes maximal equilibrium incentives for any level of relational capital : the value of partnership net of the fundamentals. Imperfect monitoring of the fundamentals helps sustain incentives, due to precautionary motive, and discontinuously increases the partnership's value (Fine Sand in the Wheels). Good profit outcomes rally the partners to further increase effort when relational capital is low, but lead them to coast and decrease effort when relational capital is high. In our equilibria, even partnerships with high fundamentals may unravel as a consequence of a short spell of terrible signals (Beatles' Break-up).

This paper investigates the implications of affirmative action in college admissions for welfare, aggregate output, educational investment decisions and intergenerational persistence of earnings. We construct an overlapping-generations model in which parents choose how much to invest in their child's education, thereby increasing both human capital and likelihood of college admission. Motivated by a recent policy implemented in Brazil, we calibrate the model to quantify affirmative action long-run effects. We find that affirmative action targeting the bottom quintile of the income distribution is a powerful policy to reduce intergenerational persistence of earnings and improve welfare and aggregate output.

Goodwill in Communication
joint with Elliot Lipnowski and Aditya Kuvalekar
Link to Paper (SSRN)

An expert advises a decision maker over time. With both the quality of advice and the extent to which it is followed remaining private, the players have limited information with which to discipline each other. Even so, communication in and of itself facilitates cooperation, the relationship evolving based on the expert’s advice. We show a formal equivalence between our setting and one of cheap talk with capped money burning. This enables an exact characterization (at fixed discounting) of the expert’s attainable payoffs. While an ongoing relationship often helps, our characterization implies that relational incentives alone can never restore commitment power.

TEACHING
 

Fall 2013 - Spring 2016

Fall 2012

Microeconomics for Business

Topics in Microeconomic Theory II (PhD level)

Teaching at USC Marshall

Previous Experience

Macroeconomic Principles at NYU

Adjunct Professor

Teaching Fellow

Microeconomics for Business at NYU Stern

Teaching Assistant

Graduate Level Microeconomics II at NYU

Graduate Level Microeconomics I and II at USP

Growth in the Developing World and the Global Economy (MBA at NYU Stern)

Intermediate Microeconomics at NYU

Intermediate Microeconomics at USP

CURRICULUM VITAE
 

Fall 2016

Summer 2013

Spring 2012

Fall 2009 - Spring 2009

Fall 2012 - Spring 2014

Fall 2009

Spring 2017, 2018, 2019