Research by the Digital Business Initiative

Our research examines competitive strategy and entrepreneurship in digital platform markets, including online advertising, electronic payments, media, and other industries.

We also look at the types of questions that can be answered with data and statistics and what approaches are most appropriate, including:

  • Use of data and designing metrics to influence decision-making policy
  • Data-driven product design and experimentation (“A/B testing”)
  • Marketing analytics
Alberto Abadie, Susan Athey, Guido W. Imbens, Jeffrey M. Wooldridge
June 2017

Previously titled: Finite Population Causal Standard Errors

Consider a researcher estimating the parameters of a regression function based on data for all 50 states in the United States or on...

Susan Athey, Mark Mobius
January 11, 2017

A policy debate centers around the question whether news aggregators such as
Google News decrease or increase traffic to online news sites. One side of the debate, typically espoused...

Lanier Benkard, Przemyslaw Jeziorski, Gabriel Weintraub
The RAND Journal of Economics. October
2015, Vol. 46, Issue 4, Pages 671–708

This article explores the application of oblivious equilibrium (OE) to highly concentrated markets. We define a natural extended notion of OE, called partially oblivious equilibrium (POE), that allows for there...

Susan Athey, Dean Eckles, Guido W. Imbens
June 2015

We study the calculation of exact p-values for a large class of non-sharp null hypotheses about treatment effects in a setting with data from experiments involving members of a single...

Susan Athey, Guido W. Imbens
American Economic Review. May
1 , 2015, Vol. 105, Issue 5, Pages 476–480

Researchers often report estimates and standard errors for the object of interest (such as a treatment effect) based on a single specification of a statistical model. We propose a systematic...

Susan Athey, Scott Stern
Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy (National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, April
1 , 2015, Pages 443–447

This chapter evaluates the nature, relative incidence, and drivers of software piracy. The authors measure piracy for a specific product — Windows 7 — which was associated with a significant...

Bryan Bollinger, Wesley R. Hartmann
April 1, 2015

A fixed cost investment in home automation technology can eliminate consumers’ marginal costs of responding to changing demand conditions. We estimate the welfare effects of a home automation technology using...

Susan Athey, Guido W. Imbens
April 2015

In this paper we study the problems of estimating heterogeneity in causal effects in experimental or observational studies and conducting inference about the magnitude of the differences in treatment effects...

Working Paper|
Wesley R. Hartmann, Daniel Klapper
March 2015
We explore the effects of television advertising in the setting of the NFL’s Super Bowl telecast. The Super Bowl is the largest advertising event of the year and is...
Anita Rao, Wesley R. Hartmann
Quantitative Marketing and Economics.
2015, Vol. 13, Issue 2, Pages 117–134

Movie exhibitors currently face two forces vying for the limited footprint of their properties. Recent advances have enabled exhibitors to satisfy consumers’ long-standing desire for increasingly larger screens. On the...