Dana Foarta

Research Interests

My primary research focus is to integrate theoretical models of political decision making into the economic analysis of institutions. Once political institutions are taken into account, richer insights emerge as to the types of economic policies that governments can implement in practice. My research asks how we can design institutions to limit the negative effects of political inefficiencies. Another research focus is on the agency problems within and between institutions. I study how the incentives of politicians or regulators shape the policy proposals they put forward. I focus on contracting under strict limitations to monetary compensation, an issue especially relevant to political economy. The challenge of selecting and motivating high ability politicians or regulators is closely related to issues confronting firms when selecting employees or investments, leading to broader implications for contracting.


The Good, the Bad and the Complex: Product Design with Imperfect Information, with Vladimir Asriyan and Victoria Vanasco,  AEJ: Microeconomics, forthcoming.

The Management of Talent: Optimal Contracting for Selection and Incentives, with Takuo Sugaya, The RAND Journal of Economics2021

Wait-and-See or Step In? Dynamics of Interventions, with Takuo Sugaya, AEJ: Microeconomics, 2021.

Value for Money? Vote-Buying and Politician Accountability, with Jessica Leight, Rohini Pande, Laura Ralston, Journal of Public Economics2020.

Working Papers

Market Competition and Political Influence: An Integrated Approach, with Steve Callander and Takuo Sugaya. May 2021. Revise and Resubmit, Econometrica.

How Organizational Capacity Can Improve Electoral Accountability,  November 2021, Revise and Resubmit, American Journal of Political Science.

Complexity and the Reform Process, with Massimo Morelli.  September 2021

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2014
  • BA, Economics & Mathematics, Amherst College, 2009

Fellowships, Honors and Awards

  • John A. Gunn & Cynthia Fry Gunn Faculty Scholar, Stanford GSB, 2015-2016
  • MIT Presidential Fellowship, 2009-2011
  • Rufus B. Kellogg University Fellowship, 2009-2012
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Amherst College, 2009