David Austen-Smith
David Austen-Smith

Peter G. Peterson Chair in Corporate Ethics
Professor of Managerial Economics & Decision Sciences

Print Overview

David Austen-Smith is the Peter G. Peterson Professor of Corporate Ethics, and Professor of Political Science and Economics. He received his PhD in economics from Cambridge University in 1978. He joined the Northwestern faculty from the University of Rochester in 1996, transferring to the Kellogg School as the Earl Dean Howard Professor of Political Economy in September 2004 from the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences where he was the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor. Austen-Smith is currently teaching “Strategic Crisis Management” and “Values-Based Leadership”. He is an elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Econometric Society, and the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory; he is also a charter member of the Game Theory Society. Austen-Smith has published widely on positive political theory, social choice and applied game theory.

Areas of Expertise
Political Economy/Design
Voting Systems

Print Vita
Print Research
Research Interests
Political economy, social choice and welfare, deliberation, income distribution

and . 2009. Information Aggregation and Communication in Committees. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B 364(1518): 763-769.
and . 2008. In Response to Jurg Steiner's "Concept Stretching: The Case of Deliberation". European Political Science. 7(2): 191-193.
and . 2006. Deliberation, Preference Uncertainty and Voting Rules. American Political Science Review. 100(2): 209-217.
and . 2006. Redistribution and affirmative action. Journal of Public Economics. 90(10-11): 1789-1823.
and . 2005. An Economic Analysis of 'Acting White'. Quarterly Journal of Economics. 120(2): 551-583.
. 2003. Majority Preference for Subsidies over Redistribution. Journal of Public Economics. 87(7): 1617-1640.
and . 2002. Costly Signaling and Cheap Talk in Models of Political Influence. European Journal of Political Economy. 18(2): 263-280.
,  and . 2002. Symposium on Political Science: Introduction. Journal of Economic Theory. 103(1)
. 2000. Redistributing income under proportional representation. Journal of Political Economy. 108(6): 1235-1269.
and . 2000. Cheap Talk and Burned Money. Journal of Economic Theory. 91(1): 1-16.
and . 1999. Cycling of simple rules in the spatial model. Social Choice and Welfare. 16(4): 663-672.
. 1998. Allocating Access for Information and Contributions. Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization. 14(2): 277-303.
and . 1998. Social Choice Theory, Game Theory and Positive Political Theory. Annual Review of Political Science. 1: 259-287.
and . 1996. Theory and evidence for counteractive lobbying. American Journal of Political Science. 40(2): 543-564.
and . 1996. Information Aggregation, Rationality and the Condorcet Jury Theorem. American Political Science Review. 90(1): 34-45.
. 1995. Campaign Contributions and Access. American Political Science Review. 89(3): 566-582.
and . 1994. Counteractive Lobbying. American Journal of Political Science. 38(1): 25-44.
. 1994. Strategic Transmission of Costly Information. Econometrica. 62(4): 955-963.
. 1993. Interested Experts and Policy Advice: Multiple Referrals under Open Rule. Games and Economic Behavior. 5(1): 3-43.
. 1993. Information and Influence: Lobbying for Agendas and Votes. American Journal of Political Science. 37(3): 799-833.
. 1992. Strategic Models of Talk in Political Decision Making. International Political Science Review. 13(1)
. 1992. Explaining the Vote: Constituency Constraints on Sophisticated Voting. American Journal of Political Science. 36(1): 68-89.
Reprinted in:
Frontiers of Game Theory, edited by K. Binmore, A. Krman and P. Tani, vol. 36, 49-70. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1994.
and . 1992. Competitive Lobbying for a Legislator's Vote. Social Choice and Welfare. 9(3): 229-257.
and . 1992. Takeover Defenses and Shareholder Voting. Economica. 59(234): 199-219.
. 1991. Rational consumers and irrational voters: a review essay on "Black Hole Tariffs and Endogenous Policy Theory". Economics and Politics. 3(1): 73-92.
and . 1991. Monotonicity in Electoral Systems. American Political Science Review. 85(2): 531-537.
and . 1990. Asymmetric Information and the Coherence of Legislation: Correction. American Political Science Review. 84(1): 243-245.
. 1990. Credible Debate Equilibria. Social Choice and Welfare. 7(1): 75-93.
and . 1990. Stable governments and the allocation of policy portfolios. American Political Science Review. 84(3): 891-906.
. 1990. Information Transmission in Debate. American Journal of Political Science. 34(1): 124-152.
. 1989. Sincere Voting in Models of Legislative Elections. Social Choice and Welfare. 6(4): 287-299.
and . 1988. Elections, Coalitions and Legislative Outcomes. American Political Science Review. 82(2): 405-422.
Reprinted in:
Rational Choice Politics, edited by Torun Dewan, Keith Dowding, Kenneth A. Shepsle, vol. 82, London: SAGE Publications, 2009.
. 1987. Interest Groups, Campaign Contributions and Probabilistic Voting. Public Choice. 54(2): 123-140.
and . 1987. Asymmetric Information and the Coherence of Legislation. American Political Science Review. 81(3): 891-918.
. 1987. Sophisticated sincerity: voting over endogenous agendas. American Political Science Review. 81(4): 1323-1330.
Reprinted in:
Rational Choice Politics, edited by Torun Dewan, Keith Dowding, Kenneth A. Shepsle, vol. 81, London: SAGE Publications, 2009.
and . 1987. Interdependent Decision Making in Nonprofit Industries: A Simultaneous Equation Analysis of English Provincial Theatre. International Journal of Industrial Organization. 5(2): 149-174.
. 1987. Parties, Districts and the Spatial Theory of Elections. Social Choice and Welfare. 4(1): 9-23.
. 1986. Legislative Coalitions and Electoral Equilibrium. Public Choice. 50(1-3): 185-211.
. 1985. A Multiperiod Model of Nonprofit Enterprises. Scottish Journal of Political Economy. 32(2): 119-134.
. 1984. Subsidies to the Arts with Multiple Public Donors. Economic Record. 60(171): 381-389.
. 1984. The pure theory of large two-candidate elections: comment on the Ledyard paper. Public Choice. 44(1): 43-48.
. 1984. Two party competition with many constituencies. Mathematical Social Sciences. 7(2): 177-198.
. 1983. The spatial theory of electoral competition: instability, institutions and information. Environment and Planning, Series C: Government and Policy. 1(4): 439-459.
. 1982. Grant-Giving to Provincial Repertory Theatres by the Arts Council of Great Britain. Journal of Cultural Economics. 6(2): 57-79.
. 1982. Restricted Pareto and Rights. Journal of Economic Theory. 26(1): 89-99.
. 1981. Voluntary pressure groups. Economica. 48(190): 143-153.
. 1981. Party Policy and Campaign Costs in a Multiconstituency Model of Electoral Competition. Public Choice. 37(3): 389-403.
. 1980. On Justifying Subsidies to the Performing Arts.
Reprinted in:
. 1980. Individual Contribution to Public Goods. Economics Letters. 5(4): 359-361.
. 1980. On the Impact of Revenue Subsidies on Repertory Theatre Policy. Journal of Cultural Economics. 4(1): 9-17.
. 1979. Fair Rights. Economics Letters. 4(1): 29-32.
Working Papers
and . Policy and Politicians in an OLG model of Occupational Choice.
and . 2008. A Note on Preference Uncertainty and Communication in Committee.
and . Political Institutions and the Choice of Economic Policy Instruments.
and . 2009. Public Disclosure, Private Revelation or Silence: Whistleblowing Incentives and Managerial Policy.
Book Chapters
,  and . 2014. "Unintended acceleration: Toyota's recall crisis." In Management Control Systems, First European Edition, London: McGraw Hill.
. 2008. "Introduction to section on Inequality and Redistribution." In Selected Works of Michael Wallerstein, edited by D. Austen-Smith, J.Frieden, M.Golden, K.Moene,A.Przeworski, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
. 2008. "Political Competition." In New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, edited by Lawrence Blume and Steven N. Durlauf, London, UK: Palgrave MacMillan, 2nd edition.
and . 2007. "Information in Elections." In Positive Changes in Political Science: The Legacy of Richard McKelvey's Most Influential Writings, edited by John H. Aldrich, James E. Alt and Arthur Lupia, 295-314. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
. 2006. "Economic Methods in Positive Political Theory." In Oxford Handbook of Political Economy, edited by Barry W. Weingast and Donald Wittman, 899-914. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
and . 2005. "Deliberation and Voting Rules." In Social Choice and Strategic Decisions: Essays in Honor of Jeffrey S. Banks, edited by David Austen-Smith and John Duggan, Springer-Verlag.
. 1996. "Interest Groups: Money, Information and Influence." In Perspectives on Public Choice, edited by Mueller_Dennis C., Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.
. 1996. "Electing Legislatures." In Collective Decision-Making: Social Choice and Political Economy, edited by Schofield_Norman, Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
. 1996. "Refinements of the Heart." In Collective Decision-Making: Social Choice and Political Economy, edited by Schofield_Norman, Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
. 1993. "Information Acquisition and Orthogonal Argument." In Political Economy: Instittutions, Competition and Representation, edited by Barnett_William A, Hinich_Melvin J, and Schofield_Norman, Canbridge UK: Cambridge University Press.
and . 1989. "Electoral Accountability and Incumbency." In Models of Strategic Choice in Politics, edited by Ordeshook_Peter, Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press.
, , ,  and . 2008. The Politics of Inequality, Labor, and Social Democracy: Selected Works of Michael Wallerstein. Cambridge University Press.
and . 2005. Social Choice and Strategic Decisions: Essays in Honor of Jeffrey S. Banks. Springer-Verlag.
and . 2005. Positive Political Theory II: Strategy and Structure. University of Michigan Press.
and . 1999. Positive Political Theory I: Collective Preference. University of Michigan Press.
Austen-Smith, DavidDaniel Diermeier and Eitan Zemel. 2011. Unintended Acceleration: Toyota’s Recall Crisis. Case 5-311-504 (KEL598).
Austen-Smith, David, Adam Galinsky, K. H. Chung and C. LaVanway. 2007. Unilever’s Mission for Vitality. Case 5-307-501 (KEL364).
Austen-Smith, David and Jeffery C Burrell. 2012. Micawber Capital: For Mission or Profit?. Case 5-112-005 (KEL712).

Print Teaching
Full-Time / Part-Time MBA
Leadership and Crisis Management (KPPI-440-A)

This course counts toward the following majors: Social Enterprise

Formerly SEEK-440-A

In recent decades corporations have increasingly become the dominant source for political and social change. Increased globalization and technological progress have further accelerated this process. Businesses are now held accountable by standards other than legal compliance or financial performance. Successful business leaders have recognized that these challenges are best mastered by a commitment to values-based management. However, simply "doing the right thing" is not enough. Rather, companies increasingly find themselves as targets of aggressive legal action, media coverage and social pressure. Organizations must be prepared to handle rapidly changing environments and anticipate potential threats. This requires a deep understanding of the strategic complexities in managing various stakeholders and constituencies. To confront students with these challenges in a realistic fashion, the class is structured around a rich set of challenging case studies and crisis simulation exercises.

Executive MBA
Ethics and Executive Leadership (KPPIX-472-0)
Ethics and Executive Leadership examines the anatomy of leadership in modern organizations, highlighting the ethical challenges facing corporate leaders in the rapidly changing business environment.

Strategic Crisis Management (KPPIX-910-0)
Strategic Crisis Management provides conceptual tools for managers in high-pressure, complex crisis situations. Topics include management and media, dealing with activists and interest groups, and surviving legal, legislative and regulatory challenges.

Executive Education
Women's Senior Leadership Program
With an emphasis on practical learning and talent development, this four-part program — strategically paced over the course of a year — equips women with the knowledge and tools needed to elevate themselves to the C-suite and beyond. Strengthen and broaden your leadership talents through this rigorous program of intensive classroom instruction, individual career appraisals, personal coaching, case studies and simulations.
View Program