Microeconomics, contract theory, law economics, labour economics


A CIRANO Associate Researcher and Fellow since 1998, William Bentley MacLeod is Sami Mnaymneh Professor of Economics, Professor of International and Public Affairs, and an affiliated Law Faculty at Columbia University.

Holding a Ph.D. in Economics from the the University of British Columbia, he is a specialist in law, labour and contract economics, with a focus on how incentives are designed to take into account the complex interplay between reputation effects, market competition, and social norms. Current projects include incentives and school choice, the economics of contract and tort law, the economics of performance pay, and the economics of physician diagnostic choice.

His recent publications include "Reputation and School Choice", American Economic Review, (with M. Urquiola), 2015; "Institutions and Contract Enforcement", Journal of Labor Economics, (with A. Falk and D. Huffman), 2015; "Optimal Contracting in the Shadow of the Law", Rand Journal of Economics, (with S. Chakravarty), 2009; "Performance Pay and Wage Inequality", (joint with T. Lemieux and D. Parent), Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2009; and "First Do Not Harm: Tort Reform and Birth Outcomes", (with J. Currie), Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2008.

He is the recipient of the 2002 H. Gregg Lewis prize awarded by the Society of Labor Economists for his article, "Worker Cooperation and the Ratchet" (with H. Lorne Carmichael).

His teaching career began with a two-year stint teaching mathematics and physics at Okundi Secondary School in Nigeria. He has taught at Queen's University, Université de Montréal, Boston College, University of Southern California, California Institute of Technology and Princeton University, before coming to Columbia. He has held one-year visiting positions at CORE, Belgium, IAE, Barcelona, Russell Sage Foundation, New York, and The Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton.

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CIRANO Publications by William Bentley MacLeod

As an author

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Job Characteristics, Wages and the Employment Contract

William Bentley MacLeod and Daniel Parent


Job Characteristics and the Form of Compensation

William Bentley MacLeod and Daniel Parent

Contract and Labour Market