Economists (and Economics) in Tech Companies

28 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2018

See all articles by Susan Athey

Susan Athey

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Michael Luca

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

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Date Written: September 11, 2018


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.

Suggested Citation

Carleton Athey, Susan and Luca, Michael, Economists (and Economics) in Tech Companies (September 11, 2018). Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 19-027, Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 18-44, Available at SSRN: or

Susan Carleton Athey

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Michael Luca (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02163
United States


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