David Sappington, Ph.D.

David Sappington, Ph.D.

Eminent Scholar of Economics

Warrington College of Business

2011 Awardee

David Sappington analyzes the design of reward structures to motivate actors to undertake actions that may not be inherently in their own self interest.

Such design can entail particular subtleties in regulated industries where legal and institutional considerations complicate the design of sound, effective regulatory policy.

Among other questions, Sappington asks: How can members of a team be motivated to contribute to the team’s success when the individual contributions of team members cannot be measured? How can industry producers be motivated to assist their competitors, as they have been ordered to do in the telecommunications industry? And how can a supplier of electricity be motivated to convince its customers to use less of the very product that it sells: electricity?

Sappington employs his theoretical research to inform practical policy prescriptions. He has served as an advisor to and chief economist for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. He has also advised the OECD, the World Bank, and the primary regulatory agencies in Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru. In addition, Sappington is active on the editorial boards of seven journals and has served as the President of the International Industrial Organization Society.