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Prof. Peter Cramton, PhD


Former member of the International Faculty

Professor of Economics, University of Maryland


Peter Cramton is Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland. Since 1983, he has conducted research on auction theory and practice. This research appears in the leading economics journals. The main focus is the design of auctions for many related items. Applications include spectrum auctions, electricity auctions, and treasury auctions. On the practical side, he is Chairman of Market Design Inc., an economics consultancy founded in 1995, focusing on the design of auction markets. He also is Founder and Chairman of Cramton Associates LLC, which since 1993 has provided expert advice on auctions and market design. Since 2001, he has played a lead role in the design and implementation of electricity auctions in France and Belgium, gas auctions in Germany, and the world’s first auction for greenhouse gas emissions held in the UK in 2002. He has advised numerous governments on market design and has advised dozens of bidders in high-stake auction markets. Since 1997, he has advised ISO New England on electricity market design and was a lead designer of New England’s forward capacity auction. He led the design of electricity and gas markets in Colombia, including the Firm Energy Market, the Forward Energy Market, and the Long-term Gas Market. Since June 2006, he played a leading role in the design and development of Ofcom’s spectrum auctions in the UK. He has advised the UK, the US, and Australia on greenhouse gas auction design. He led the development of the FAA’s airport slot auctions for the New York City airports. He received his B.S. in Engineering from Cornell University and his Ph.D. in Business from Stanford University. 

Academic Positions

  • Professor of Economics—Department of Economics, University of Maryland, August 1996 to present. Affiliate, Agriculture and Resource Economics, 2008 to present.
  • Associate Professor of Economics—Department of Economics, University of Maryland, August 1993 to June 1996.
  • National Fellow—Hoover Institution, Stanford University, September 1992 to August 1993.
  • Associate Professor of Economics and Management—Yale School of Management, Yale University, July 1988 to August 1993.
  • Assistant Professor of Decision Theory—Yale School of Management, Yale University, July 1984 to June 1988.


  • Stanford University, Doctor of Philosophy, June 1984, Graduate School of Business.
  • Dissertation: The Role of Time and Information in Bargaining.
  • Cornell University, Bachelor of Science with distinction, May 1980, School of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering. Graduated first in class.

Courses Taught 

  • Advanced Microeconomics. Doctoral course in the foundations of game theory.
  • Game Theory. Undergraduate introduction to modern game theory.
  • Market Design. An advanced undergraduate course on auction and market design.
  • Methods and Tools of Economic Analysis. Undergraduate introduction to the mathematical tools used in economics.
  • Microeconomic Analysis I. Doctoral core course in microeconomic theory.
  • Intermediate Microeconomics.
  • Negotiation and Competitive Decisions. Developed for management program.
  • Economic Analysis. Taught in management program.
  • Quantitative Analysis for Management Decisions. Taught in management program.
  • Theory of Choice II: Game Theory. Doctoral course in game theory with emphasis on information and dynamics.

Research Interests

  • Auction theory and practice, bargaining theory, dispute resolution, incentives, contract theory, game theory, decision theory, labor economics, industrial organization, experimental economics, information economics, and law and economics.


  • Winner of the AQR Insight Award for most insightful unpublished paper in finance, 2014.
  • Distinguished Service Award, American Association for Homecare, 2012.
  • Resident Scholar, Rockefeller Foundation, Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio, Italy, Spring 2007.
  • Departmental Undergraduate Teaching Award, Spring 1996 (2), Spring 1997 and Spring 2002.
  • Departmental Graduate Teaching Award, Fall 1994, Fall 1998, and Fall 2007.
  • Hoover National Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, 1992-93.
  • Winner of the 1984 Leonard J. Savage Thesis Award for an outstanding dissertation in Bayesian Economics.
  • American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business Doctoral Fellowship, 1983-84.
  • National Association of Purchasing Management Scholarship, 1983-84.
  • Dean’s Award for Service to Stanford University, 1983-84.
  • Two-time recipient of Stanford Merit Fellowship, 1981-83.
  • Elected by the Operations Research faculty as outstanding senior, 1980.

Research Grants

  • “Common Value Auctions with Liquidity Needs,” National Science Foundation, September 2009 to August 2013, $400,000.
  • “Dynamic Matching Mechanisms,” National Science Foundation, August 2005 to July 2008, $264,188.
  • “Slot Auctions for U.S. Airports,” Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation, September 2004 to August 2005, $309,729.
  • “Rapid Response Electronic Markets for Time-Sensitive Goods,” National Science Foundation, July 2002 to June 2005, $2,000,000.
  • “Multiple-Item Auctions,” National Science Foundation, July 2001 to June 2004, $313,872.
  • “Auctions for Multiple Items,” National Science Foundation, April 1998 to March 2001, $318,175.
  • “Auctions and Infrastructure Conference,” National Science Foundation, April 1998 to March 1999, $25,000.
  • “Auctions and Infrastructure,” World Bank, March-June 1998, $25,000.
  • “Applying Strategic Bargaining Models to Union Contract Negotiations,” National Science Foundation, April 1995 to March 1998, $143,637.
  • “Applying Strategic Bargaining Models to Union Contract Negotiations,” National Science Foundation, April 1992 to March 1994, $177,760.
  • “Strikes and Delays in Wage Bargaining: Theory and Data,” National Science Foundation, April 1990 to March 1992, $153,407.
  • “Gaming Exercises in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution,” National Institute of Dispute Resolution, July to August 1988, $6,000.
  • “The Role of Time and Information in Bargaining,” National Science Foundation, July 1986 to June 1988, $40,000.
  • “Public Sector Cases on Negotiation,” Mellon Foundation, July to August 1985, $12,000.

 Contribution to the KPA II: 

Professor Cramton, together with Professor Ockenfels, is directing a market design initiative to promote better markets in Europe. The main focus will be auction and matching markets in communications, energy, financial, information technology and other industries. The initiative encourages research in market design and then applies the research insights to build better markets.