Stephen Morris

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Primary Section: 54, Economic Sciences
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2021)


Stephen Morris is an economic theorist recognized for his work on the foundations and applications of game theory.  He is known particularly for his work on higher-order beliefs in economics and game theory. He was born in Weybridge, England, and graduated from the University of Cambridge with a degree in Mathematics and Economics in 1985. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University in 1991, after working as an economist for two years for the Government of Uganda. He taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University and Princeton University before joining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2019, where he is currently the Peter A. Diamond Professor of Economics. He served as President of the Econometric Society in 2019 and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Science. 

Research Interests

Stephen Morris has worked on foundational and applied economic theory. He established the equivalence of the common prior assumption and no trade. In political economy, he has studied reputational concerns of politicians and commentators, showing how they can give rise to inefficient economic policies and the stifling of debate.  Much of his research has focused on the role of incomplete information in pure game theory and applications of game theory. He initiated a literature studying the robustness of equilibria to incomplete information, a novel approach to identify focal equilibria that are insensitive to low probability of payoff perturbations. He has applied and generalized global game theory, establishing how an intuitive relaxation of common knowledge implied a compelling selection among equilibria in coordination games. He has studied the implications of relaxing common knowledge assumptions more generally, in both mechanism design and for fixed games. This work provides a foundation for information design, examining what outcomes can be induced by the choice of information structure. Applications include work on auctions, price discrimination and search. 

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