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Economists (and economics) in tech companies

Sep 2018
Working Paper
18-032
By  Susan Athey, Michael Luca

As technology platforms have created new markets and new ways of acquiring information, economists have come to play an increasingly central role in tech companies — tackling problems such as platform design, strategy, pricing, and policy. Over the past five years, hundreds of PhD economists have accepted positions in the technology sector. In this paper, we explore the skills that PhD economists apply in tech companies, the companies that hire them, the types of problems that economists are currently working on, and the areas of academic research that have emerged in relation to these problems.