Agreeing on Groupon

Harry Truman famously begged for a one-handed economist. Why? He was sick of his economic advisers saying "on the other hand." Charles Schultz expressed similar frustration here. The idea that economists hedge their bets or disagree constantly with one another is a feature of the discipline. We see it today over issues such as the deficit and health …

Business class vs. Economy online news

Newspapers like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal are currently experimenting with paywalls that prevent non-paying customers from accessing some content. But what if all customers could access the same content, but the "economy" (i.e. free) visitors saw ads and other clutter while the "business class" customers got a cleaner experience? Would that be a viable model? …

Pay what you want experiments. From Stephen King to Kickstarter

Back in 2000, Stephen King tried something new in selling a novel, The Plant. He decided to offer it exclusively online — in digital format — knowing that there was effectively no protection against copying. Of course, King was well aware that selfishness may be against him and so decided to offer his book in installments. …

Finding Yahoo's way

Last year I had the pleasure of presenting a seminar at Yahoo Research. One of the things that interested me about that part of Yahoo was the fact that it had, in my field of economics, made some very significant hires from academia. In a time where some academically oriented labs had fallen aside, Yahoo …