Daniel Spulber on the Law and Economics of Internet Search

By TAP Staff Blogger

Posted on July 12, 2010


Last month, Daniel Spulber, Professor of Law at the Kellogg School of Management, participated in the Searle Center’s Research Symposium on the Economics and Law of Internet Search at Northwestern University. He spent a few minutes with TAP to discuss his thoughts on the law and economics of internet search. He talked about why the average person should care about internet search; the relationship between online search advertising and individual privacy; and the economic implications of the search market structure.

The full interview can be viewed below.

Professor Spulber’s research areas include entrepreneurship, management strategy, international business, industrial organization, regulated industries (energy, telecommunications, transportation), and law and economics.

In The Map of Commerce: Internet Search, Competition, and the Circular Flow of Information, Professor Spulber looks at how consumers, search engines, and sellers of goods use information. This paper explores how online buyers and sellers each reveal information about themselves through search services. A search firm’s market power affects how much consumers benefit from online exchanges, and can also affect privacy. Advertisers can use information to introduce price discrimination, and may prefer a dominant search engine. Professor Spulber proposes that more competition between search firms would encourage firms to reveal how they are tracking consumers.