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Economic Frontiers is a podcast about the frontier of economics research regarding technology, innovation, and digitization. Each episode brings in a leading researcher or research team for a discussion of their work and its broader implications.

This podcast is sponsored by the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE). The IDE is an effort focused on the impact of digital technology on businesses, the economy, and society. Drawing on MIT Sloan’s strengths in technology and innovation, its internationally recognized faculty, and more than a decade of research and partnership with MIT Sloan’s Center for Digital Business, the IDE is analyzing the broad sociological changes brought about by the advance and spread of digital technology.

Economic Frontiers MIT_IDE

    • Wirtschaft

Economic Frontiers is a podcast about the frontier of economics research regarding technology, innovation, and digitization. Each episode brings in a leading researcher or research team for a discussion of their work and its broader implications.

This podcast is sponsored by the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE). The IDE is an effort focused on the impact of digital technology on businesses, the economy, and society. Drawing on MIT Sloan’s strengths in technology and innovation, its internationally recognized faculty, and more than a decade of research and partnership with MIT Sloan’s Center for Digital Business, the IDE is analyzing the broad sociological changes brought about by the advance and spread of digital technology.

    EF13: Using Matching Algorithms to Find Refugees Homes with Alexander Teytelboym

    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.

    • 33 Min.
    EF12: Platforms with Marshall Van Alstyne

    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?

    • 39 Min.
    EF11: Digital Experimentation and Peer Effects with Dean Eckles

    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.

    • 1 Std. 6 Min.
    EF10: Streaming, Sharing, and Stealing with Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang

    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.

    • 53 Min.
    EF9: The Economics of the Blockchain and Digital Currencies with Christian Catalini

    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.

    • 45 Min.
    EF8: Digital Labor Markets and Information Systems with Sonny Tambe

    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.

    • 26 Min.