Visualizing the Contraction Mapping Theorem

Published in Qeios, 2024

After my 2022 ECMA paper got accepted in January 2022, I got burnt out. I stopped doing research and spent most of my time playing tennis. I became a captain of a USTA 7.0 mixed doubles team (I had just become 4.0), and my wife and I recruited strong players, organized practices, and advanced to sectionals twice. In one of the Southern California sectionals, we narrowly lost in the semifinal.

My coauthor Jim Rauch was the recruitment chair when I got hired at UCSD in 2013. He was also the department chair from 2013 to 2016, so I had a lot of interaction with him. When we chatted in June 2022, he mentioned he was interested in a project to animate the contraction mapping theorem to help build intuition. We knew it had zero career benefit but it sounded fun, so I wrote up some pedagogical material and Matlab codes and Jim made the video.

We tried to publish this in journals on economic education but we got desk-rejected each time and the paper became dormant. Later, I was asked to review a paper at Qeios. Because I had never heard of that journal, I thought it was a predatory journal, but upon inspection its business model seemed interesting: they publish anything, but reviews are open and (to prevent abuse) not anonymous. So we posted our paper there, and we are happy that our paper and video have been well received.

Convergence of value functions

Direct Link