Social Science and Technology Seminar Spring 2019
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Chuck Eesley, Associate Professor, Management Science & Engineering, Stanford Technology Ventures Program
Riitta Katila, Professor, Management Science & Engineering, Stanford Technology Ventures Program
Tim Bresnahan, Professor, Department of Economics
Woody Powell, Professor, Department of Education
April 16, 2019
Moshe Barach (Minnesota) - presentation in the Gunn SIEPR Bldg, Doll 3rd Floor Conference Room
Steering in Online Markets: The Role of Platform Incentives and Credibility
Platform marketplaces can potentially steer buyers to certain sellers by recommending or guaranteeing those sellers. Money-back guarantees— which create a direct financial stake for the platform in seller performance— might be particularly effective at steering, as they align buyer and platform interests in creating a good match. We report the results of an experiment in which a platform marketplace—an online labor market—guaranteed select sellers for treated buyers. The presence of a guarantee strongly steered buyers to these guaranteed sellers, but offering guarantees did not increase sales overall, suggesting financial risk was not determinative for the marginal buyer. This preference for guaranteed sellers was not the result of their lower financial risk, but rather because buyers viewed the platform’s decision to guarantee as informative about relative seller quality. Indeed, a follow-up experiment showed that simply recommending the sellers that the platform would have guaranteed was equally effective at steering buyers.
May 7, 2019
Gustavo Manso (Berkeley) - Location: SIEPR 224
Heterogeneous Innovation and the Antifragile Economy
Abstract: Schumpeter (1939) claims that recessions are periods of “creative destruction”, concentrating innovation that is useful for the long-term growth of the economy. However, previous research finds that standard measures of firms’ innovation, such as R&D expenditures or patenting, concentrate in booms. We argue that these standard measures do not capture shifts in firms’ innovative search strategies. We introduce a model of firms’ choice between exploration vs. exploitation over the business cycle and find evidence that firms shift towards exploration during contractions and exploitation during expansions. Results are stronger for firms in more cyclical industries and with weaker financial constraints.
May 23, 2019
Gautam Ahuja (Cornell) - Location: John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn SIEPR Building at 366 Galvez Street, SIEPR 224, 2nd Floor Conference Room
Research Risk-Taking and Ownership of Public Corporations
Abstract: In this paper we examine the significance of increasing ownership of US corporations by "passive" (as opposed to active) investors. We specifically focus on the issue of risk-taking in research. We argue and find support for the argument that higher levels of passive ownership may be associated with a decline in research risk-taking. In a broad sample of research intensive industries we find evidence consistent with this proposition and attempt to separate the treatment effects from selection effects in this setting.