Paul Oyer

The Mary and Rankine Van Anda Entrepreneurial Professor and Professor of Economics

Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
Academic Area:

Additional Administrative Titles

Co-Director, Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative
Co-Director, Data-Driven Decision Making
Co-Director, Harnessing AI for Breakthrough Innovation and Strategic Impact

Research Statement

Paul Oyer studies the economics of organizations and human resource practices. His work has looked at the use of broad-based stock option plans, how firms use non-cash benefits, how firms respond to limits on their ability to displace workers, and how labor market conditions affect their entire careers when MBAs and PhD economists leave school. Oyer’s current projects include studies of the “Gig Economy” and a study of how people’s backgrounds determine the decision to become an entrepreneur and the success of ventures that they start.

Research Interests

  • Labor Economics
  • Personnel Economics
  • Incentives
  • Matching Firms and Workers


In addition to his positions at Stanford, Paul Oyer is a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research. His is the former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Labor Economics.

Paul does research in the field of personnel economics, focusing on firms’ incentive systems, as well as hiring and firing. More recently, Paul’s work has focused on the “Gig Economy” and the decision to become an entrepreneur. In addition, he is the author of An Economist Goes to the Game, an economic guide to playing and watching sports, Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned from Online Dating, an entertaining explanation of numerous key ideas in microeconomics using examples from online dating and labor markets, and Roadside MBA (with Michael Mazzeo and Scott Schaefer), a Strategy guide for small businesses.

Before moving to the GSB in 2000, Paul was on the faculty of the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. In his pre-academic life, he worked for the management consulting firm of Booz, Allen, and Hamilton, as well as for the high technology firms 3Com Corporation and ASK Computer Systems. He holds a BA in math and computer science from Middlebury College, an MBA from Yale University, and an MA and PhD in economics from Princeton University. Paul is married to Kathryn Stoner, a Stanford Political Scientist. He has two grown children, two step-children, and two ill-behaved but sweet Retrievers.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Economics, Princeton University, 1996
  • MA in Economics, Princeton University, 1994
  • MBA, Yale University School of Management, 1989
  • BA, Middlebury College, Mathematics and Computer Science, 1985

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Economics, Stanford GSB, 2009-present
  • Associate Professor of Economics, Stanford GSB, 2002–09
  • Assistant Professor of Economics, Stanford GSB, 2000–02
  • Assistant Professor of Management and Strategy, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, 1996–2000
  • Faculty Research Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University, 1998–2000
  • Affiliate, Center for the Study of Industrial Organization, Northwestern University, 2000

Professional Experience

  • Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research, 2003–present
  • Market Analyst, ASK Computer Systems, Mountain View, CA, 1991–92
  • Product Manager, 3Com Corporation, Santa Clara, CA, 1990–91
  • Production Planner, 3Com Corporation, Santa Clara, CA, 1989–1990
  • Research Associate, Booz Allen and Hamilton, Inc., New York, NY, 1985–87

Awards and Honors

  • Dhirubhai Ambani Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship for 2016–17
  • Lacob Family Faculty Fellow, Stanford GSB, 2013–14
  • Fred H. Merrill Professor of Economics, Stanford GSB, 2011–present
  • Louise and Claude N. Rosenberg, Jr. Faculty Scholar, 2008–09
  • Morgridge Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, 2000–01


Journal Articles

Cody Cook, Rebecca Diamond, Jonathan Hall, John A. List, Paul Oyer
The Review of Economic Studies
October 2021 Vol. 88 Issue 5 Pages 2210–2238
Rebecca Diamond, Paul Oyer, Cody Cook
AEA Papers and Proceedings
May 2019 Vol. 109 Pages 372-376
Paul Oyer, Scott Schaefer
ILR Review
March 1, 2019 Vol. 72 Issue 2 Pages 446-479
Paul Oyer, Scott Schaefer
Handbook of Labor Economics, Volume 4B
2011 Pages 1769-1823
Paul Oyer
Journal of Finance
February 2008 Vol. 63 Issue 6 Pages 2601–2628
Paul Oyer, Scott Schaefer
Journal of Financial Intermediation
2006 Vol. 15 Issue 4 Pages 511-534
Paul Oyer
Journal of Economic Perspectives
2006 Vol. 20 Issue 3 Pages 143-160
Michael Greenstone, Paul Oyer, Annette Vissing-Jorgensen
Quarterly Journal of Economics
2006 Vol. 121 Issue 2 Pages 399-460
Paul Oyer, Scott Schaefer
Journal of Financial Economics
2005 Vol. 76 Issue 1 Pages 99-133
Paul Oyer
Journal of Finance
August 2004 Vol. 59 Issue 4 Pages 1619-1650
Paul Oyer, Scott Schaefer
American Economic Review
June 2002 Vol. 92 Issue 3 Pages 683-705
Paul Oyer
Journal of Labor Economics
July 2000 Vol. 18 Issue 3 Pages 405-426
Kevin F. Hallock , Paul Oyer
Journal of Corporate Finance
December 1999 Vol. 5 Issue 4 Pages 303-321
Paul Oyer
Quarterly Journal of Economics
February 1998 Vol. 113 Issue 1 Pages 149-185

Book Chapters

Edward Lazear, Paul Oyer
The Handbook of Organizational Economics
December 2012 Pages 479-519

Working Papers

Cody Cook, Rebecca Diamond, Jonathan Hall, John A. List, Paul Oyer June 7, 2018
Hans K. Hvide, Paul Oyer December 14, 2017
Edward Lazear, Paul Oyer October 2007


Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

Discover the business side of data and learn how to ask the right questions to inform decision making and improve business outcomes.
Make more informed and strategic decisions for your organization with a deeper understanding of the artificial intelligence landscape and its real-world applications.

Conferences, Talks & Speaking Engagements

Paul Oyer explains how Nobel Prize-winning economic theories can help you find true love online in his book “Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned from Online Dating.”

Paul Oyer, Stanford economist and the author of “Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned from Online Dating,” explains the marketplace of online love.

Stanford GSB Affiliations

Service to the Profession

  • Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Labor Economics, November 2012-November 2019
  • Editor, Journal of Labor Economics, 2007-2012

Insights by Stanford Business

February 16, 2023
Latino-owned businesses have weathered the pandemic and the Great Resignation. Now they’re looking for new ways to grow and innovate.
December 06, 2022
Our favorite episodes from the past year delve into business topics from workplace communication and power to technology, finance, and economics.
July 19, 2022
In this episode, we explore how economic concepts show up in everyday communication.
July 12, 2022
The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat. The joy of calculating the optimal strategy for soccer penalty kicks.
July 11, 2022
Here’s a list of shows to add to your summer listening.
July 07, 2022
The latest books from Stanford GSB faculty and lecturers.
January 28, 2022
Research finds Latino entrepreneurs leaning into tech, bolstering employee benefits.
October 19, 2021
Offices, commutes, and gigs have been disrupted — for now.
January 29, 2021
A new report details the barriers to loan approval for Latino-owned businesses — and points to ways to break them down.
November 20, 2020
Access to superabundant data has transformed the methods of scholastic inquiry — and possibly the basic tenets of inquiry itself.
January 31, 2020
Latinos are launching businesses at an unprecedented pace, but barriers — some long-standing, some brand new — keep them from reaching their potential.
December 06, 2019
Communication mistakes, job-stealing robots, and career-gap explanations captured reader attention this year.
July 02, 2019
Escape the heat with books recommended by Stanford business professors.
June 27, 2019
An economist and a business advisor discuss what might happen if the gap between rich and poor continues to grow.
April 30, 2019
AI can transform almost every industry. The biggest uncertainty may be the humans behind it.
March 07, 2019
At a Future of Work forum, experts say demographic shifts, not artificial intelligence, create the biggest challenges for today’s workplace.
December 03, 2018
From tips for career satisfaction to an economist’s stint as an Uber driver, here are the stories that caught our readers’ attention.
April 19, 2018
Stanford GSB professors recommend their favorite books and articles related to the concept.
February 16, 2018
In studying the gig economy, Paul Oyer opts for a hands-on-the-wheel approach.
February 07, 2018
Latinos are starting businesses at a higher rate than other ethnic groups, but scaling remains a challenge.
March 30, 2015
Larger, more prestigious firms are more likely to take a chance on you.
December 12, 2014
An industrial mixer company combines product and process innovation.
December 11, 2014
Explore 10 Stanford Business stories from 2014, including pieces on happiness and networking.
December 08, 2014
A small dairy shows how product differentiation can be the key to success.
June 10, 2014
In an excerpt from their new book, three economists share what they learned about small businesses in America.
January 07, 2014
In an excerpt from his new book, an economist explains why it’s important to show you really mean what you say.
July 01, 2010
An economist finds that random factors play a large role in determining the kinds of jobs MBAs take upon graduation.
February 01, 2004
Research shows that CEOs promoted from within are much more likely to retain the senior management team.
August 01, 2001
A study says they're lousy motivators, but can serve as salary buffers to keep workers from leaving when compensation rises in the labor market.

School News

January 12, 2023
Students and graduates leveraged a strong job market to find roles that matched their skills and passions.
January 19, 2022
Stanford GSB students and graduates find success in a strong job market, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
January 14, 2021
Despite the economic challenges of the global pandemic, the job market for Stanford GSB graduates remained robust.
January 11, 2021
“Eddie’s natural ability to see, analyze, and explain all the economics of any given situation was truly remarkable, and a textbook example of comparative advantage.”
August 06, 2020
If you want to move a business school’s curriculum online in a single weekend, you better practice what you teach.
December 11, 2019
The newest employment report announces career outcomes of Class of 2019 graduates.
April 17, 2019
Participants will gain a better understanding of AI and how to leverage the technologies for their organizations.
July 25, 2018
The Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative is amassing a huge database and network to nourish the fast-growing sector.
February 20, 2018
Big Data, Strategic Decisions: Analysis to Action will empower senior-level executives to use data analytics to improve decisions and gain a competitive advantage.
November 17, 2017
The presentation at the 2017 reunion weekend includes the first group award for volunteers.