Anthony Lee Zhang


I'm a PhD student in Economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Here's my CV. You can reach me at

Working papers

Depreciating Licenses, with Glen Weyl, January 2018. Previously circulated under the title "Ownership of the Means of Production." Online appendix.

A large body of work in economics studies optimally allocating assets using auctions; comparatively little work analyzes how to design licenses governing the assets that are auctioned. In this paper, we argue that license design faces a fundamental tradeoff. Long-term or perpetual licenses improve incentives for owners to invest to maintain and improve assets, but short-term licenses are better for allocative efficiency. We propose a new license, called the depreciating license, which improves on this tradeoff. Depreciating license owners periodically announce valuations at which they are willing to sell their licenses, and pay a percent of these valuations as license fees. This encourages reallocation while creating high and time-stationary investment incentives.

A Mechanism Design Approach to Identification and Estimation, with Brad Larsen, July 2018.

In many trading games, such as auctions and bargaining, agents take actions which affect the probability that they receive a good and monetary transfer payments they make or receive. In this paper, we show that agents' choices on a menu of probabilities and transfers available in equilibrium can be used to identify agents' values in many such trading games. This "empirical menu" approach can accomodate various extensions, such as certain kinds of unobserved heterogeneity and partially observed actions. We apply these results to study bargaining efficiency, competition and surplus division in used car bargaining.

Short papers

Redesigning Spectrum Licenses, with Paul Milgrom and Glen Weyl, Regulation, 2017, 40(3): 22–26.

Implementability, Walrasian Equilibria, and Efficient Matchings, with Piotr Dworczak, Economics Letters, 2017, 153 pp. 57–60.


Notes and derivations