William Bentley MacLeod


1975 Queen’s University, Mathematics, B.A., with distinction.

1979 Queen’s University, Mathematics, M.Sc (Thesis: On observers for non-linear dynamic systems).

1984 University of British Columbia, Economics, Ph.D (Thesis: Perspectives on Oligopoly Theory).

Academic appointments

2005- Professor of Economics and International & Public Affairs, Columbia University.

2006- Affiliated Columbia Faculty, Columbia Law School.

2008-2011 Director, American Law and Economics Association.


2005 Elected Fellow of the Econometric Society.

2002 H. Gregg Lewis prize, awarded every two years by the Society of Labor Economists.

1981 Dal Grauer Memorial Prize for Economics, University of British Columbia.

1973 William Coombs Baker Prize for Physics, Queen’s University (highest grade in first year physics).

Publications related to this theme

“Optimal Contracting in the Shadow of the Law,” with Surajeet Chakravary, Essex University. Rand Journal of Economics.

Performance Pay and Wage Inequality, with Thomas Lemieux and Daniel Parent, Quarterly Journal of Economics, February 2009, Vol 124, No. 1,1-49.

Holdup and the Evolution of Bargaining Norms, with Herbert Dawid, Games and Economic Behavior, 2008, 62, pp. 26-52.

Can Contract Theory Explain Social Preferences, American Economic Review, May 2007, 97 (2) .

Reputations, Relationships and Contract Enforcement, Journal of Economic Literature, XLV, September, 2007, 597-630.

Aspiration Uncertainty: Its Impact on Decision Performance and Process, with Mark Pingle, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2005, 56(4), pp. 617-29.

Caring about Sunk Costs: A Behavioral Solution to Hold-up Problems with Small Stakes, with H. Lorne Carmichael, Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, 19 (1), Spring 2003, 106-118.

Optimal Contracting with Subjective Evaluation, American Economic Review, March 2003, 93 (1), 216-240.

Complexity, Bounded Rationality and Heuristic Search, Contributions to Economic Analysis & Policy of The B.E. Journals in Economic Analysis & Policy: Vol 1: No. 1, Article 1, 2002.

Complexity and Contract, Revue d’Economie Industrielle, 92, trimestre 2000. Reprinted with modifications in The Economics of Contract in Prospect and Retrospect, edited by Eric Brousseau and Jean-Michel Glachant, Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp 213-240.

Hold-up and the Evolution of Bargaining Conventions, with Herbert Dawid, University of Southern California. European Journal of Economic and Social Systems, 2001, 15, N. 3, 153-169.

Job Characteristics and the Form of Compensation, with Daniel Parent, Research in Labor Economics, Vol. 18, JAI Press, 1999: pp. 177-242.

Is Multi-tasking Complex?, Commentary on the target article “Processing capacity defined by relational complexity: Implications for comparative, developmental , and cognitive psychology,” by G. Halford, W. Wilson and S. Phillips. Behavior and Brain Sciences, 1998, 21, 840-841.

Motivation and Markets, with Jim Malcomson, American Economic Review, July 1998, Vol 88, pp. 388-411.