Suraj Shekhar Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Ashoka University

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Welcome to my Homepage! I am an Assistant Professor of Economics at Ashoka University, India. My primary research interest is in theoretical microeconomics - models of asymmetric information, cheap talk games, spinoffs, and the impact of regulatory changes on welfare. I also do empirical work relating to social networks and issues in development economics. I graduated from the doctoral program in Economics at The Pennsylvania State University in 2016.


Signalling, Reputation and Spinoffs (Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, May 2018, Volume 149, 88-105) PDF Internet Appendix

I propose a new channel of spinoff (firm formed when an employee leaves to set up his own firm) formation in which the returns from spinning off are determined endogenously. If high ability workers are scarce, then despite the principal's ability to offer contracts (endogenous cost of signalling), there exists a separating equilibrium where the high type worker signals his ability by forming a spinoff. This result provides theoretical support to the empirical findings of Skogstrom (2012). When moral hazard is introduced in the baseline model of adverse selection, I show that the spinoff equilibrium can generate the strongest incentives to work. This has policy implications for non-compete clauses.

Ethnic Conflicts with Informed Agents: A Cheap Talk Game with Multiple Audiences and Private Signals (Economics Letters, Volume 184, November 2019) PDF Internet Appendix

with Pathikrit Basu and Souvik Dutta

We consider a society on the brink of ethnic conflict due to misinformation. An ‘informed agent’ is a player who has information which may prevent conflict. Can the informed agent achieve peace by communicating privately with the players? The issue is that if the informed agent is known to favour her own ethnicity, she is unable to communicate credibly with the other ethnicity. Despite this, we show that peace can be achieved in equilibrium. Our paper contributes to the literature on cheap talk games with multiple audiences with the novel addition of private signals along with payoff externalities.

Adviser Connectedness and Placement Outcomes in the Economics Job Market (Forthcoming, Labour Economics, Volume 84, October 2023) PDF Internet Appendix

with Michael Rose

We study the role of social networks in the academic job market for graduate students of Economics. We find that the connectedness of a student's advisor in the coauthor network significantly improves her job market outcome. We use two identification strategies and find that a) higher Eigenvector centrality of an adviser leads to her student getting placed at a better ranked institution, and b) larger distance between an adviser and an institution decreases the probability that her students are placed there. Our study sheds light on the importance of social connections in a labour market where information frictions regarding job openings are virtually absent.

Working Papers

The Impact of a Spinoff on the Parent Firm: A Model of Double Adverse Selection with Correlated Types PDF

A principal and her worker's type is correlated via the principal's screening ability (a high ability principal is more likely to hire a high ability worker). The firm's stage payoff depends upon the worker's reputation. This paper provides a new explanation for how a spinoff (firm formed when a worker leaves to set up her own firm) can be beneficial for the parent firm. The key idea is that in any market with sufficiently high worker attrition, a firm's future payoff depends crucially on the belief about the principal's ability to recruit good workers repeatedly. I show that spinoffs are more likely to be formed by high ability workers. Due to the correlation in types, this result implies that spinoff formation can provide a positive signal about the principal's type. I further show that there exists an equilibrium which explains a previously unexplained empirical finding - spinoff formation can hurt the parent firm in the short run, but be beneficial over a longer run. My results have policy implications for non-compete covenants.

What's in a Name? Reputation and Monitoring in the Audit Market PDF Internet Appendix

with Somdutta Basu

Since February 2017, the name of the engagement partner has to be disclosed for all audit reports issued in the USA. We show that this quest for transparency has its pitfalls. Though this rule increases the level of information for investors, it can have negative consequences if we ignore how the rule changes the incentives of the relevant players (auditor partners). We analyze the new rule and study the resulting change in auditor incentives to show that while the consequent higher reputation building incentives can improve audit quality, an unintended consequence of the new rule is that audit partners have a lower incentive to monitor other partners when names are disclosed. This may lead to a fall in audit quality when the rule is implemented. We present several solutions to this problem.

Work in Progress

Credibility and Information (with Srijita Ghosh and Swagata Bhattacharjee)

Moral Hazard in Regulations with Loopholes (with Co Pierre Georg)

Unsolicited Credit Ratings (with Priyanka Sharma)

Returns to English Speaking Ability in India

Social Insurance in Self Help Groups: A Generalized Propensity Score Approach (with Abhirup Sarkar and Souvik Dutta)


Mathematics for Economics (Undergraduate level)

Instructor, Ashoka University, Spring 2020, 2021, 2023

Asymmetric Information Models (Masters level)

Instructor, Ashoka University, Fall 2019, 2020, 2021, Spring 2023

Economics of Information (Undergraduate level)

Instructor, Ashoka University, Fall 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022

Econometrics (Masters level)

Instructor for one-third course, University of Cape Town, 2018

Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy (Undergraduate level)

Instructor, The Pennsylvania State University, 2015

Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and Policy (Undergraduate level)

Teaching Assistant, The Pennsylvania State University, 2014

Growth and Development (Undergraduate level)

Teaching Assistant, The Pennsylvania State University, 2013

Curriculum Vitae

Download CV as PDF


821, AC04 Building
Ashoka University
Rajiv Gandhi Education City
Sonipat, Haryana 131029