Hi! My name is

Maria Betto.

I am an Economics PhD candidate at Northwestern University. My research interests are in Microeconomic Theory, including Choice and Decision TheoryAuctionsInformation and Mechanism Design.



Northwestern University

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Economics, Jun '23 (expected) 
Master of Arts (MA) in Economics, Jun '18

Job market paper: Perceptiveness and Choice

Advising committee: Marciano Siniscalchi (co-chair), Alesssandro Pavan (co-chair) and Wojciezch Olzweski

Fields: Microeconomic Theory, Econometrics, Industrial Organization

Fundacao Getulio Vargas

Master of Science (MS) in Business Economics, Jan '17

Master thesis: Dynamic Markets for Lemons

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economic Sciences, Dec '14

Best student of the '14 graduating cohort (valedictorian)


Northwestern University

Teaching Assistant, Sep '18 - present

Introduction to Microeconomics (ECON 202-0), Intermediate Microeconomics (ECON 310-1 and ECON 310-2), Game Theory (MMSS 311-1), Game Theory (PhD-level, ECON 410-3)

Fundacao Getulio Vargas

Teaching Assistant, August '13 - Dec '16

Microeconomics, Game Theory, 
Econometrics,  Probability and Statistics, Finance and Industrial Organization.



Perceptiveness and Choice

Job market paper

Not all choices are obvious. When they are not, a decision-maker's perceptiveness determines how well she can resolve the complex trade-offs between alternatives and thus reach a decisive conclusion. This paper leverages the theory of fuzzy sets to introduce this notion to standard choice theory. In particular, fuzziness is used to provide a maximum level of perceptiveness, on a [0, 1] scale, with which one can say that an alternative is just as good as another -- i.e. an agent has to be more perceptive than that to realize that this is not true. I develop an axiomatic characterization of rationality for fuzzy binary relations, which I then show is equivalent to both a Fuzzy Weak Axiom (FWARP) and a representation by a family of nested, interval-valued utilities. While a fully perceptive individual is rational in the classical sense, lower perceptiveness generates coarser preference rankings where only the starkest of comparisons can be properly and accurately perceived. I illustrate the model with applications to Game Theory, and provide a novel explanation for the status quo bias where the size of the bias naturally increases with task complexity.

Working paper (soon)Slides (soon)

Choice over Assessments

with Matthew Thomas


Extendend abstract (soon)Working paper (soon)Slides (soon)

All-Pay Auctions with Spillovers

with Matthew Thomas (TE, forthcoming)

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.

PaperSlides (soon)


Notes on the Symmetric All-Pay Auction

TA notes on graduate-level Game Theory

Detailed notes on the equilibrium construction of the symmetric all-pay auction.


A gentle introduction to the Edgeworth Box

TA slides on undergraduate-level intermediate Microeconomics

Slides with basic concepts and examples for working through Edgeworth Box-type problems.



Department of Economics

Northwestern University
2211 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60201
Phone: +1 847 491 8200