My research develops novel theory and combines it with data from the field and the laboratory to understand strategic behavior in games and markets.
My work with Mark Walker pioneered the use of data from professional sports as a means of testing the empirical validity of game theory. We show that the serve-and-return behavior of professional tennis players is largely consistent with the theory of mixed-strategy Nash equilibrium. (See Walker and Wooders (2001), 300+ Google Scholar cites.) In contrast, the theory fares poorly in laboratory experiments. My work with Walker is routinely cited in undergraduate textbooks when introducing students to the notion of mixed-strategy Nash equilibrium.
My work with Dan Houser was among the first to investigate the effect of seller reputation on auction prices. (See Houser and Wooders (2006), 800+ Google Scholar cites.) My recent theoretical work studies the incentives of bidders to enter auctions. It also studies “Buy It Now” auctions, a new Internet auction format which combines the features of an auction and a posted price. Some of my current experimental work investigates the effect of buy prices in laboratory auctions.
An ongoing line of research investigates the “mini-micro” foundations of competitive equilibrium, and develops game-theoretic models of markets in which trade is decentralized. This work shows that decentralized trade may yield better outcomes than what is obtained in a competitive equilibrium of a centralized market.