Queen's University

Dr. Christopher Cotton

Associate Professor, Department of Economics
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Jarislowsky-Deutsch Chair in Economic and Financial Policy in the Department of Economics, Director of the John Deutsch Institute for the Study of Economic Policy at Queen's University"


I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics, the Jarislowsky-Deutsch Chair in Economic and Financial Policy in the Department of Economics, and the Director of the John Deutsch Institute for the Study of Economic Policy at Queen's. My research uses game theory and experimental economics to study an array of public policy questions. Recent projects study the impact of political debates and media coverage on policy polarization, the costs and benefits of campaign finance reform and lobbying regulation, how considerations such as affirmative action and grand inflation affect student effort, and how donors select philanthropic projects. My research as appeared in top journals including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Public Economics, AEJ: Microeconomics and Management Science. 
I was previously a faculty member in the School of Business Administration at the University of Miami, and earned a Ph.D in Economics from Cornell University in 2008.
Published & forthcoming articles

R. Boleslavsky, C. Cotton and H. Gurnani, Demonstrations and price competition with new product releaseManagement Science, forthcoming 2016

C. Cotton and A. Dellis, Informational lobbying and agenda distortionJournal of Law, Economics & Organizations, forthcoming 2016

C. Cotton, Competing for attention: Lobbying time-constrained politiciansJournal of Public Economic Theory, forthcoming 2016

L. Corazzini, C. Cotton and P. Valbonesi, Donor coordination in project funding: Evidence from a threshold public goods experimentJournal of Public Economics, 128: 16-29, 2015

R. Boleslavsky and C. Cotton, Grading standards and education qualityAmerican Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 7: 248-279, 2015
–press: AEA Research HighlightVoxEU

R. Boleslavsky and C. Cotton, Information and extremism in electionsAmerican Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 7:165-207, 2015
–press: Washington PostIB TimesInversePsychCentralMilenioDiscovery News

C. Cotton, C. Li, F. McIntyre and J. Price, Which explanations for gender differences in competition are consistent with a simple theoretical model?Journal of Behavioral & Experimental Economics, 59: 56-67, 2015

S. Campos, C. Cotton and C. Li, Deterrence effects under Twombly: On the costs of increasing pleading standards in litigationInternational Review of Law and Economics, 44: 61-71, 2015

C. Cotton and C. Li, Profiling, screening and criminal recruitmentJournal of Public Economic Theory, 17: 964-985, 2015

C. Cotton, Submission fees and response times in academic publishing, American Economic Review, 103(1): 501-09, 2013

C. Cotton, F. McIntyre and J. Price, Gender differences in repeated competition: Evidence from school math contests, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 86: 52-66, 2013
–press: VoxEUForbesHuffington Post

C. Cotton, Pay to play politics: Informational lobbying and contribution limits when money buys access, Journal of Public Economics, 96: 369-386, 2012

C. Cotton and C. Liu, 100 horsemen and the empty city: A game theoretic exploration of deception in Chinese military legend, Journal of Peace Research, 48(2): 217-223, 2011
–press: U.S. News & World Report

C. Cotton, Should we tax or cap political contributions? A lobbying model with policy favors and accessJournal of Public Economics, 93: 831-842, 2009 (lead article)

C. Cotton, Multiple bidding in auctions as bidders become confident of their private valuations, Economics Letters, 104(3): 148-150, 2009

Click here to see older publications. 

Most Recent Project

Demonstrations and Price Competition in New Product Release

A project in collaboration with Raphael Boleslavsky from University of Miami and Haresh Gurnani from Wake Forest University, to investigate how firms can harness the market segmentation and product differentiation effects of demonstrations to increase industry profits and to gives themselves a competitive advantage.

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Other Projects

  • Grading Standards and Education Quality

    A project in collaboration with Raphael Boleslavsky from University of Miami, to study the interaction between a school’s investment decision and its choice of grading policy. 

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  • Information and Extremism in Elections

    A project in collaboration with Raphael Boleslavsky from University of Miami, to establish a link between increases in voter information and increases in the extremism of political candidates and elected officials. In particular, changes in voter exposure to information (through changes in media coverage, the Internet, and debate formats) may have important implications for candidate extremism, which could contribute to political polarization.

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