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34 minutes | Jun 27, 2017
EF13: Using Matching Algorithms to Find Refugees Homes with Alexander Teytelboym
In this podcast, Alex Teytelboym (Associate Professor at Oxford University) discusses his work on matching theory and refugee resettlement. The ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa have created a huge international refugee crisis. Over 100,000 refugees are permanently resettled each year, yet most are assigned to communities in a haphazard way. Alex believes that by using economic matching theory, and by carefully listening to the needs of communities and refugees, we can help more people and improve the quality of life for host towns. We begin the podcast by discussing various concepts in matching theory before moving to the refugee setting. Alex tells us how his proposed matching algorithms can help families with heterogeneous needs find places to live while taking into account the desires and capabilities of host regions.
39 minutes | Mar 20, 2017
EF12: Platforms with Marshall Van Alstyne
Show notes: ide.mit.edu/news-events-media?type_1=podcast What is a platform and do platforms represent a new form of industrial organization? Marshall Van Alstyne, professor at Boston University and research associate at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, joins us for a conversation on these topics. We start by discussing the fundamental economics of platforms. Next, we attempt to tackle the following questions: What generates market power on platforms? Do platforms improve efficiency by internalizing externalities or do they create distortions? What are the sources of demand side network effects? Does Google create a competitive bottleneck? When is regulation of platforms appropriate? When should a firm adopt a platform strategy?
67 minutes | Feb 21, 2017
EF11: Digital Experimentation and Peer Effects with Dean Eckles
Show notes: ide.mit.edu/news-events-media?type_1=podcast This podcast is all about digital experimentation. We discuss why it's useful, why it's harder that it seems, and best practices. Our guest is Dean Eckles, who is an assistant professor at MIT Sloan and previously worked at Facebook as a research scientist. We begin the conversation by describing how the human-computer interaction approach to studying digital systems differs from the marketing approach. We then discuss digital experiments, and how they can be used to both study policy and to learn about behavior. We then discuss when 'big data' is necessary for experiments to be informative and the possibility of non-parametric methods for inference. Next, we move on to Dean's research on peer effects between users on Facebook. We finish with advice for researchers collaborating with the private sector.
53 minutes | Feb 6, 2017
EF10: Streaming, Sharing, and Stealing with Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang
Show notes: ide.mit.edu/news-events-media?type_1=podcast In this podcast we discuss how technology has reshaped competition in the media industry. Our guests are Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang of Carnegie Mellon University. They've recently written a book called Streaming, Sharing, and Stealing, which describes the frontier of research regarding digital media distribution. This conversation touches on fundamental topics such as price discrimination by studios and publishers, how prices should be set and what the optimal organizational structure should be for companies. We also delve into more topic specific issues such as cross-channel substitution, privacy, and bargaining between studios and digital retailers. We also discuss the special role of data in affecting the industry structure.
45 minutes | Jan 23, 2017
EF9: The Economics of the Blockchain and Digital Currencies with Christian Catalini
Show notes: ide.mit.edu/news-events-media?type_1=podcast In this podcast we discuss the economics of the blockchain and digital cryptocurrencies. Our guest is Christian Catalini, Assistant Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. We begin the conversation by discussing the MIT Digital Currencies Research Study, which enabled the study of the determinants of the diffusion of bitcoin and the role of early adopters. We then transition to a discussion about what is different about the blockchain from an economics perspective. Specific subtopics include credential verification, micro payments, and smart contracts. We also discuss anonymity, pseudo-anonymity, and z-cash. Lastly, we speculate about possible government uses of cryptocurrencies.
27 minutes | Jan 9, 2017
EF8: Digital Labor Markets and Information Systems with Sonny Tambe
Show notes: ide.mit.edu/news-events-media?type_1=podcast In this podcast we discuss how data from labor platforms like LinkedIn allows us to understand the economy in new ways and how labor and technology intersect more broadly. Our guest is Prasanna (Sonny) Tambe of NYU's Stern School of Business. Sonny's specialty is in using new data to study how workers and technologies spread across firms. We start this conversation by discussing the Workshop on Information Systems and Economics (WISE), the conference we were both attending. Next, we move on to a discussion the advantages of platform data over administrative and survey data in labor economics. We then discuss several of Sonny's papers. These include a paper on the importance of geography for collaboration in open source and the factors affecting agglomeration economies in the technology sector. We then discuss worker training, coding bootcamps, and information systems degrees at business schools. Lastly, Sonny speculates on the unanswered questions in the field and on the potential effects of AI.
53 minutes | Dec 6, 2016
EF7: Media Economics and Technology with Ananya Sen
Show notes: ide.mit.edu/news-events-media?type_1=podcast In this podcast we discuss the economics of the media and its intersection with technological change. Our guest is Ananya Sen of MIT's Initiative on the Digital Economy. Ananya is an expert in using new types of data and clever statistical methods to study the effects of the media. We start by discussing the literature on the effects of media on outcomes such as voter turnout and academic achievement. Next, we move on to a discussion of media slant and whether it’s driven by the preferences of viewers or the preferences of the newspaper’s owners or supplies. We finish by talking about how digital technology is affecting the structure of the media. Perhaps surprisingly, Ananya tells us that the existing literature on filter bubbles and polarization suggests that people are not more polarized online than offline.
42 minutes | Feb 17, 2016
EF6: Digital Advertising and Privacy with Catherine Tucker
Show notes: http://ide.mit.edu/news-events-media?type_1=podcast In this podcast we talk about multiple aspects of digital advertising, privacy, and big data. Our guest is Catherine Tucker of MIT's Sloan School of Management. Catherine is one of the world's foremost experts on digital advertising and privacy. We begin this conversation by discussing why digital advertising is interesting and the unique perspectives that academics bring to the topic. We then move on to specific aspects of digital advertising, such as re-targeting, ad blockers, and the effectiveness of native ads on Twitter. Lastly, we discuss whether big data brings a sustainable competitive advantage to companies that possess it.
64 minutes | Dec 17, 2015
EF5: How the Internet Became Commercial w/ Shane Greenstein
Show Notes: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/ide/podcasts/ In this podcast we talk about the economic history of the internet. Our guest is Shane Greenstein of Harvard Business School. Shane has recently written a book on this topic called How the Internet Became Commercial: Innovation, Privatization, and the Birth of a New Network. We talk about the misleading perception that government single-handedly created the internet, the idea of internet exceptionalism by businesses, and the importance of a diversity of platforms and products for the health of the internet. We also touch on topics on topics such as the three waves of big data, commercialization strategies by universities and predictions about which technologies now are most like the internet in the early 90's.
40 minutes | Nov 30, 2015
EF4: Intellectual Property and Patent Trolls w/ Lauren Cohen and Scott Kominers
Show notes: http://ide.mit.edu/news-events-media/podcasts/ef4-intellectual-property-and-patent-trolls-w-lauren-cohen-and-scott This podcast discusses the economics of intellectual property and patents. We are joined by Lauren Cohen of Harvard Business School and Scott Kominers of the Harvard Society of Fellows. We start the conversation by discussing why patents are so important. We then talk about the recent rise of non-practicing entities (often called patent trolls), who collect patents with the sole intent of using them to sue other companies. We then go into detail about Lauren and Scott's research on whether these non-practicing entities do more good than harm. In the process, Lauren and Scott explain the hilarious case of the Samsung Ice Skating Rink in Marshall, Texas and what they think is the best way to change the patent system to prevent abuse from patent trolls.
47 minutes | Nov 16, 2015
EF3: Marketplace Design and Strategy w/ Greg Lewis
Show notes: http://ide.mit.edu/news-events-media/podcasts/ef3-marketplace-design-and-strategy-w-greg-lewis This podcast is about economic issues related to online marketplaces and platforms. We are joined by Greg Lewis, Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research, who is one of the leading experts in this new and growing field. Why have companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and eBay been hiring a lot of economists? We discuss the unique perspective that industrial organization economists have in using data to make strategic and market design decisions. We then discuss how the search ranking algorithm and other platform policies can be used as strategic tools to incentivize platform participants. Next, we talk about why it's difficult to measure the effects of changes to a platform even when experiments are possible. We then move on to a conversation about platform fees and the chicken and egg problem in platforms. Lastly, we discuss emerging issues such as competition in cloud computing.
33 minutes | Nov 9, 2015
EF2: The Economic Importance of Good Management
Show notes: http://ide.mit.edu/news-events-media/podcasts/ef2-economic-importance-good-management John Van Reenen, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, joins us to discuss the economics of management, productivity, and information technology. Listen to this episode if you want to learn about how economists think about measuring management quality. We discuss the latest evidence the causal effects of "modern" management on productivity and worker satisfaction. We then move onto to the big picture questions regarding whether management explains cross-country differences in outcomes. Furthermore, we talk about interesting differences between how American and European firms have adopted to information technology and why this matters. We also touch upon how economics research has changed over time and whether the increasing access of managers to information will make the world a better place.
38 minutes | Oct 29, 2015
EF1: The Economics of Networks with Ben Golub
Show notes: http://ide.mit.edu/news-events-media/podcasts/ef1-economics-networks-w-ben-golub We discuss the intersection of economics and networks. Does the structure of networks matter? How do beliefs and behaviors spread? Can we use the knowledge of a network to more efficiently achieve our objectives? Ben Golub, assistant professor of economics at Harvard, joins us to discuss his research and thoughts on these issues. We touch on issues regarding identifying "central" individuals, privacy, online trust, and whether beliefs spread through a network eventually converge to the truth.
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