Blake Riley | Curriculum Vitae

PhD Candidate
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
214 David Kinley Hall
1407 W. Gregory
Urbana, Illinois 6180

briley2 at
blakejriley at


  • PhD in Economics, University of Illinois, 2009–2016 (expected)
  • BA in Economics, BS in Mathematics, Arizona State University, 2005–2009

Research Fields

Microeconomic theory, mechanism design, market design, mathematical and computational economics.

Job Market Paper

Mechanisms for Making Accurate Decisions in Biased Crowds

This paper studies mechanisms for finding the true answer to a binary question using the opinions of biased agents. Taking majority rule as a baseline, I study peer-prediction decision rules, which ask agents to predict the opinions of others in addition to providing their own. Incorporating first-order beliefs into the decision rule has the potential to recognize the correct answer even when the majority is wrong. However, I show the majority rule is essentially the only deterministic, neutral, anonymous, and interim dominance solvable mechanism. I then characterize all randomized peer-prediction mechanisms with these properties, using this result to show majority rule is the optimal mechanism in this class. Finally, I consider a simple, non-incentive-compatible decision rule based on the median prediction that implements majority rule when all agents are strategic and improves on majority rule when an unknown subpopulation is honest.

Research Papers

  • Minimum Truth Serums with Optional Predictions, (working paper)
  • Uncoordinated Matching Markets, with Juan Fung (in progress)

Awards and Recognition

  • Summer Research Fellowship, 2012–2014
  • Future of Humanity Institute Thesis Proposal Award, 2013
  • Department Fellowship, 2009–2011
  • National Merit Finalist Scholarship, 2005–2009

Teaching Experience

  • Econ 500: Microeconomic Theory I
       Teaching Assistant, Fall 2014–2015
  • Graduate Student Math Camp
       Instructor, August-September 2014
  • Econ 502: Microeconomic Theory II
       Teaching Assistant, Spring 2012–2015
  • Econ 202: Economic Statistics
       Teaching Assistant, Fall 2013
  • Econ 102: Microeconomic Principles
       Instructor, Fall 2011-2012
       Teaching Assistant, Spring 2011

Professional Activities

  • ACM Conference on Economics and Computation, Workshop on Social Computing and User Generated Content (peer-reviewed), June 2014
  • Conference on Economic Design, July 2013
  • Communications Seminar, Coordinated Science Lab, UIUC, April 2013
  • Missouri Valley Economic Association Conference, October 2012

Work Experience

  • Joint Legislative Budget Committee, Phoenix, AZ
       Staff Intern, 2007-2009