Paul Oyer

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

Additional Administrative Titles

  • Director, Harnessing AI and Big Data: Analysis to Action
Director, Big Data, Strategic Decisions: Analysis to Action
Co-Director, Harnessing AI for Breakthrough Innovation and Strategic Impact
Director, Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative

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 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 and the 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 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, 2002-2009
  • Assistant Professor of Economics, Stanford GSB, 2000-2002
  • 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, 1991-1992
  • Product Manager, 3Com Corporation, Santa Clara, CA, 1990-1991
  • Production Planner, 3Com Corporation, Santa Clara, CA, 1989-1990
  • Research Associate, Booz Allen and Hamilton, Inc., New York, NY, 1985-1987

Awards and Honors

  • Dhirubhai Ambani Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship for 2016-2017
  • Lacob Family Faculty Fellow, Stanford GSB, 2013-2014
  • Fred H. Merrill Professor of Economics, Stanford GSB, 2011-present
  • Louise and Claude N. Rosenberg, Jr. Faculty Scholar, 2008-2009
  • Morgridge Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, 2000-2001


Journal Articles

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. Great Britain: North Holland, 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.


Michael Mazzeo, Paul Oyer, Scott Schaefer Business Plus, June 10, 2014.

Book Chapters

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

Working Papers

The Gender Earnings Gap in the Gig Economy: Evidence from over a Million Rideshare Drivers | PDF
Cody Cook, Rebecca Diamond, Jonathan Hall, John A. List, Paul Oyer, June 72018
Dinner Table Human Capital and Entrepreneurship | PDF
Hans K. Hvide, Paul Oyer, December 142017
Firm/Employee Matching: An Industry Study of American Lawyers | PDF
Paul Oyer, Scott Schaefer, October 2012
Personnel Economics
Edward Lazear, Paul Oyer, October 2007


Degree Courses


This class features GSB instructors discussing their research and its applications to the business world. Each session will present one speaker. To earn the 1 unit credit, students must commit to attend at least 6 out of the 8 talks. This is done...

This class is an opportunity to hear a Last Lecture from esteemed GSB instructors. Each session will present one speaker. To earn the 1 unit credit, students must commit to attend at least 7 out of the 9 talks. This is done on the honor system....

MGTECON 200 is a base-level course in microeconomics. It covers microeconomic concepts relevant to management, including the economics of relationships, pricing decisions, perfect competition and the "invisible hand," risk aversion and risk...

Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

Conferences, Talks, and Speaking Engagements

  • Video: How Economics Can Help You Find Love Online
    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."
  • Audio: The Economics of 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 University Affiliations

Stanford GSB

Service to the Profession

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

Insights by Stanford Business

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 6, 2019
Communication mistakes, job-stealing robots, and career-gap explanations captured reader attention this year.
July 2, 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 7, 2019
At a Future of Work forum, experts say demographic shifts, not artificial intelligence, create the biggest challenges for today’s workplace.
December 3, 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 7, 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 8, 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 7, 2014
In an excerpt from his new book, an economist explains why it’s important to show you really mean what you say.
July 1, 2010
An economist finds that random factors play a large role in determining the kinds of jobs MBAs take upon graduation.
February 1, 2004
Research shows that CEOs promoted from within are much more likely to retain the senior management team.
August 1, 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 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 6, 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.