Professor of Economics, University of Exeter

Professor Todd Kaplan has been at the University of Exeter since 2000 and has a joint appointment with the University of Haifa since 2007. He has received grants from the Nuffield Foundation, British Academy, ESRC, Leverhulme Foundation and the Israeli Science Foundation. He was a co-winner for the Economics Network 2009 e-learning award for developing teaching resources in a grant from HEFCE.

Professor Kaplan has diverse research interests that span theoretical, computational and experimental economics. His theoretical work includes research on price competition, cost sharing and patent races.

In price competition, he re-examines the classic Bertrand competition model (Spanish Economic Review) and shows that the standard textbook example is wrong since it overlooks other equilibria. Another paper shows that seemingly competitive policies, such as agreeing to match a competitor's price, are in fact very anticompetitive (International Journal of Industrial Organization, 2000).

When a group shares a common production function, they must decide how to divide the costs. For instance, if two friends want to share a pizza, how do they divide the costs. This is not so easy since they must also decide what size of pizza to order and a poor rule may cause them to overspend or underspend. Todd has two publications on this topic, one in International Economic Review and the other in Journal of Mathematical Economics.

He has modelled patent races as a contest, where on the first to invent wins but all still have to pay for their research. In his model, the value of the patent varies with the expense since an earlier innovation date is worth more to the winner. He has written four papers investigating this design in the Journal of Industrial Economics (2002), International Journal of Industrial Organization (2003), RAND (2008) and Review of Economic Design (2015). He has also published work on competitive bidding in auctions: Economic Theory (2012) and Economic Theory Bulletin (2015).

Todd has made earlier contributions to the computational field. He has published a paper in the Mathematica Journal and two chapters in a best-selling book edited by Hal Varian. Probably his best known work is what is known as the 'Kaplan' strategy. This was a simple computer strategy that was written to compete in a double auction, a well studied environment in experimental economics which is a simplified environment of a stock exchange. It won a well advertised tournament sponsored by the Santa Fe Institute. Recently, with the introduction of computerised agents acting on the internet, this research has had a resurgence of interest.

Experience

  • –present
    Professor of Economics, University of Exeter