Matthew Wildrick Thomas

Matthew Wildrick Thomas

Economics Ph.D. Candidate at Northwestern University

I'm Matthew W. Thomas, an Economics PhD candidate at Northwestern University. I am currently interested in microeconomic theory including contests, lobbying, and labor. This page is here to share my academic and non-academic projects.

Working Papers

Asymmetric All-Pay Auctions with Spillovers (with Maria Betto)

R&R at Theoretical Economics, 2022

What happens when the prize in an all-pay auction depends on players' bids?


When opposing parties compete for a prize, the sunk effort players exert during the conflict can affect the value of the winner’s reward. These spillovers can have substantial influence on the equilibrium behavior of participants in applications such as lobbying, warfare, labor tournaments, marketing, and R&D races. To understand this influence, we study a general class of asymmetric, two-player all-pay contests where we allow for spillovers in each player’s reward. The link between participants’ efforts and rewards yields novel effects – in particular, players with higher costs and lower values than their opponent sometimes extract larger payoffs.

Covert Discrimination in All-pay Contests (with Maria Betto)

Can you design a symmetric contest such that one player is favored?

PDF Slides

A contest designer may wish to disadvantage a stronger player to improve competitiveness. We show this can be done in all-pay auctions such that the game is fair (i.e. symmetric) ex-ante. Yet, the stronger player is endogenously offered a lower prize in expectation. Thus, discrimination is covert.

Academic Code

Integral Equations (inteq)

Python package to numerically solve common integral equations


All-Pay Contests in Python (allpy)

Python package to estimate the equilibria of all-pay contests with spillovers


Approximate Randomization Tests in R (rART)

R package for Approximate Randomization Tests with a Small Number of Clusters


Informal Notes

Optimization of Functionals and the Calculus of Variations

Notes about how to optimize over a space of functions instead of numbers

Optimal Fair Contests

Thoughts on efficient revenue maximizing symmetric contests

Tullock Lottery Contests with Direct and Covert Discrimination

Summary of existing results on the design of asymmetric Tullock contests


Nonlinear War of Attrition with Complete Information

Simple derivation of equilibria in a general two player war of attrition


Mechanisms to Fund Open Source

Notes on VCG and issues with current applications of quadratic voting

Professional Projects

Crowdmark Labeler

Python package I made as a TA to add student names to Crowdmark PDFs


Jekyll Citations

Ruby gem I made as an RA to generate bibliographies in Jekyll


Kellogg R Workshop Slides

Slides I made for MBA workshops on R


Personal Projects

MWT's Share

Send files and shorten links



Mini LaTeX/pandoc bundle for CI


Hash Viewer

Share math and text without storing it


Econ Ipsum

Generate academic-sounding filler text


MathJaX Bookmarklet

Display math on any webpage


MWT's Mirrors

Mirrors for open source software

Code Snippets

Jekyll utterances

Allows you to use GitHub issues for blog comments in Jekyll

CUDA Theil-Sen

Python function for GPU accelerated regression of censored data


Wolfram function that identifies and animates images with ML


Wolfram function that converts ISO 3166-1 codes to country data

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