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
Director, Big Data, Strategic Decisions: Analysis to Action
Co-Director, Harnessing AI for Breakthrough Innovation and Strategic Impact
Co-Director, AI Essentials: Key Concepts and Opportunities
Co-Director, Data-Driven Decision Making

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

Book Chapters

Working Papers


Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

Accelerate your understanding of artificial intelligence and gain real-world insights to help transform your business.
Harness the power of data analytics to improve decisions, gain a competitive edge, and enhance your company’s performance, products, and processes.
Discover the business side of data and learn how to ask the right questions to inform decision making and improve business outcomes.
Learn to lead with confidence in this rigorous, general management program for executives on the verge of achieving even greater things.
Experience an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to artificial intelligence and learn how your organization can apply it for strategic advantage.
Examine the implications of workplace modality decisions informed by cutting-edge research from Stanford GSB faculty and best practices from peers.

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

School News