Research

While the topics I research are diverse, they form part of a web of long term personal interests. One connecting thread is the drive to connect the highest level of abstraction with the finest points of empirical detail. In all cases, I aspire to identify and to model the major forces at work, to measure the corresponding theoretical constructs, and to gauge the match between model and measurement.  On a side note, my recent work with John Leahy (A Graph Theoretic Approach to Markets for Indivisible Goods and Comparative Statics in Markets for Indivisible Goods available under “Indivisibilities”) involves novel mathematics. To my surprise, I find myself becoming more comfortable with abstraction as I age, and as a result more capable of contributing to technical advance.

 

Survey-Based Research on Life Cycle BehaviorThis is a very exciting area now that the Vanguard Research Initiative Panel has been constituted. Surveys 1 (wealth measurement) and 2 (Strategic Survey Questions, Annuities, and Long Term Care) have been completed and Survey 3 (Family and Spending) is being programmed. The first paper is now available.

http://christophertonetti.com/files/papers/AmeriksBriggsCaplinShapiroTonetti_AnnuityPuzzle.pdf

 

NeuroeconomicsMy teaching  page has best information on my “neuroeconomic” research, which involves additional data beyond standard choice data. Three connected recent papers:

1. A Testable Theory of Imperfect Perception (with Daniel Martin)

Work on Rational Inattention (with Mark Dean) added June 14 2013:

2. Rational Inattention and State Dependent Stochastic Choice

3. Rational Inattention, Entropy, and Choice: The Posterior-Based Approach

 
Indivisibilities and Economic Outcomes

 
Individual Differences And Outcomes In Economics And Politics

 

Real Estate Finance

My research on real estate finance centers on my long running effort to seed the development of markets in housing equity. This has brought me into contact with the realities of housing policy in the U.S., an activity that has been profoundly depressing, as indicated herein, and in recent work on FHA (with Anna Cororaton and Joe Tracy)

“Is the FHA Creating Sustainable Homeownership?”

A central point in the paper is that FHA uses outmoded methods and as a result seriously understates risks to borrowers and to taxpayers. I made this point directly to Congress in 2010 and again in 2011.

FHA Congressional Testimony 2011

FHA Congressional Testimony 2010

I recently gave at the AEA meetings in Philadelphia in a session called “Is Neglect Benign” with Bob Shiller as session chair. My paper outlines the role of policy makers and the press in the fiasco that is U.S. housing finance policy.

The Mortgage Mess, the Press, and the Politics of Inattention