Professors Spulber, Choi, Greenstein, and Athey on Internet Search and Innovation

By TAP Staff Blogger

Posted on June 19, 2012


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With the convergence of Internet search and social networks, search engines striving to spur ad sales, and the on-going tension between search engines’ need to make money and privacy issues related to data about users and their searches, there is no shortage of issues to debate when it comes to Internet search. This Thursday and Friday (June 21-22, 2012), the Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth is hosting a conference to do just that. The Third Annual Conference on Internet Search and Innovation will provide a forum where economists and legal scholars can discuss high-quality research relevant to Internet search and innovation, as well as examine related public policy issues in antitrust, regulation, and intellectual property.
 
Several TAP scholars will be participating in the conference sessions. Here is a preview.
 
Professor Daniel F. Spulber is the conference organizer, and will provide opening remarks for the two-day event. Professor Spulber is the Research Director of the Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth, the Elinor Hobbs Distinguished Professor of International Business, Professor of Management Strategy, Kellogg School of Management, and Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law (Courtesy). His research areas include entrepreneurship, management strategy, international business, industrial organization, regulated industries (energy, telecommunications, transportation), and law and economics.
 
Professor Jay Pil Choi will discuss two papers in the first session titled, Platform Competition and Internet Search. In “Investment Incentives in Two-Sided Platforms,” Ramon Casadesus-Masanell and Gastón Llanes seek to understand the incentives to invest in proprietary and open platforms. With “Platform Competition under Partial Belief Advantage,” Hanna Halaburda and Yaron Yehezkel examine platform competition in a two-sided market that includes buyers and sellers where one of the platforms benefits from a partial belief advantage – that is, where agents believe that it is more likely that other agents will join this platform, and not the rival.
 
Jay Pil Choi is Professor of Economics at Michigan State University where he offers seminars in the Economics of the Internet and Electronic Commerce. He currently serves as co-editor for the International Journal of Industrial Organization and associate editor for the Economics E-Journal.
                                                                        
Professor Shane Greenstein will chair the second session that will examine How Internet Search Affects Product Markets. This session will be discussing “To Buy or Not to Buy? A Two Stage Model of within Site Search” (by Ammara Mahmood and Catarina Sismeiro), which investigates the within site purchase and search behavior of online customers visiting one of the largest European online travel agencies; “Targeted Search and the Long Tail Effect” (by Huanxing Yang), which develops a new search model to explain the long tail effect – that is, niche products gaining larger market shares; “"A" Business by Any Other Name: Firm Name Choice as a Signal of Firm Quality” (by Ryan C. McDevitt), which examines when a firm's freely chosen name can signal meaningful information about its quality; and, “Bricks, Clicks, Blockbusters, and Long Tails: How Video Rental Patterns Change as Consumers Move Online?” (by Alejandro Zentner, Michael D. Smith, and Cuneyd Kaya), which examines changes in the rental behavior of DVD consumers who move online from brick-and-mortar stores.
 
Shane Greenstein is the Kellogg Chair of Information Technology and Professor of Management and Strategy at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He is a leading researcher in the business economics of computing, communications, and Internet infrastructure.
 
In the final session of the conference, How Does Internet Search Affect Content?, Professor Susan Athey will present her paper (co-authored with Markus Mobius), “The Impact of News Aggregators on Internet News Consumption: The Case of Localization.” Their article analyzes the impact of news aggregators on the quantity and composition of Internet news consumption.
 
Susan Athey is a Professor of Economics at Harvard University and Visiting Researcher at Microsoft Research New England. She is an economic theorist who has made significant contributions to the study of industrial organization. Professor Athey is an expert in a broad range of economic fields – including industrial organization, econometrics, and microeconomic theory – and has used game theory to examine firm strategy when firms have private information. In 2007, Professor Athey was named the first female recipient of the American Economic Association’s prestigious John Bates Clark Medal, awarded every other year to the most accomplished American economist under the age of 40 adjudged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.
 
For more information about the conference, see the Internet Search and Innovation conference page. The conference will be held at the Northwestern University School of Law.

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