Economic experts built a better bucket.

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Robert Kurzban

Founder and CEO

Rob has a Ph.D. from the University of California Santa Barbara as well as a Master of Public Administration from the Fels Institute of Government (UPenn). He first learned about auction design during his two years at the Economic Science Laboratory at the University of Arizona, where he worked with Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith. In 2018, he began volunteering with non-profit organizations in Philadelphia, including the Garces Foundation. When he is not writing books or starting new businesses, he fosters dogs with the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society.

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Vernon L. Smith

Expert Consultant

Vernon Smith won the Nobel Prize in 2002 for his work using laboratory experiments to understand and explain economic behavior. Now a professor at Chapman University, Smith’s work laid the foundations for the fields of experimental and behavioral economics, which inform many modern practical applications, including the use of behavioral “nudges” to guide people toward making better decisions. Smith was a pioneer in studying auctions, and his work informed the design of the auctions that were used for impactful areas such as the allocation of bands of the electromagnetic spectrum.  

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Bart J. Wilson

Expert Consultant

Bart Wilson is the Donald P. Kennedy Endowed Chair of Economics and Law at Chapman University. He has published dozens of papers drawing on insights from experimental economics on topics including cooperation, property rights, electricity markets and of course, auctions. His latest book, published by Oxford University Press, is The Property Species: Mine, Yours, and the Human Mind. Wilson is the director of the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy and an ardent fan of the Green Bay Packers. 

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Jeff Carpenter & Peter Matthews

Specialized Expert Consultants

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Jeff and Peter were among the first people to conduct controlled scientific experiments designed to determine which kinds of auctions raise the most money for charities. The result of their early work, validated both in the experimental laboratory and real world setting was the insight that “all-pay” formats such as raffles, in which bidders pay regardless of whether they win or lose, raise more money than auction formats in which only the winner pays for the prize. While some all-pay mechanisms are not especially appropriate for the for-profit world, Jeff and Peter’s well-cited research shows that charities that wish to maximize their revenues should incentivize all bidders to contribute something.  Recently, Jeff and Peter have returned to real-world settings to show that their novel variations on the all-pay theme can improve still further on the methods typically used as charity fundraisers.