Susan Athey

The Economics of Technology Professor

Professor of Economics (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences
Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
Academic Area:

Additional Administrative Titles

Director, Golub Capital Social Impact Lab

Research Statement

Susan Athey’s research is in the areas of the economics of digitization, marketplace design, and the intersection of machine learning and econometrics. She has studied a range of application areas, including timber auctions, online advertising, the news media, and the application of technology for social impact.

Research Interests

  • Economics of Digitization
  • Machine Learning and Causal Inference
  • Adaptive Experiments and Multi-Armed Bandits
  • Industrial Organization
  • Economics of the News Media
  • Marketplace Design
  • Platform Markets
  • Online Advertising
  • Design and Measurement of Digital Interventions for Social Impact
  • Market Shaping for Innovation

Teaching Statement

Athey teaches classes about digital marketplaces, platform economics, machine learning, and using technology for social impact.


Professor Athey is The Economics of Technology Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business. She received her bachelor’s degree from Duke University and her PhD from Stanford, and she holds an honorary doctorate from Duke University. She previously taught at the economics departments at MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Science and is the recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded by the American Economics Association to the economist under 40 who has made the greatest contributions to thought and knowledge.

Her current research focuses on the economics of digitization, marketplace design, and the intersection of econometrics and machine learning. She has worked on several application areas, including timber auctions, internet search, online advertising, the news media, and the application of digital technology to social impact applications.

As one of the first “tech economists,” she served as consulting chief economist for Microsoft Corporation for six years, and has served on the boards of multiple private and public technology firms. She also served as a long-term advisor to the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, helping architect and implement their auction-based pricing system. She was a founding associate director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, and she is the founding director of the Golub Capital Social Impact Lab at Stanford GSB. In 2022, she took leave from Stanford to serve as Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division. Professor Athey is the 2023 President of the American Economics Association, where she previously served as vice president and elected member of the Executive Committee.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Economics, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 1995
  • BA, Economics, Computer Science, and Mathematics, Duke University, 1991

Academic Appointments

  • Professor, Stanford University Graduate School of Business, 2013-present
  • Professor of Economics, Harvard, 2006-2012
  • Holbrook Working Professor of Economics, Stanford, 2004-2006
  • Associate Professor of Economics, Stanford, 2001-2003
  • Castle Krob Career Development Associate Professor of Economics, MIT, 1998-2001
  • Assistant Professor of Economics, MIT, 1995-1997

Awards and Honors

  • Honorary degree, London Business School, 2022
  • Adam Smith Award, National Association of Business Economists, 2020
  • CME Group-Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Prize in Innovative Quantitative Applications, 2020
  • R. Michael and Mary Shanahan Faculty Fellow for 2020–21
  • Von Neumann Prize, Rajk László College for Advanced Studies, 2019
  • Fellow, International Association of Applied Econometrics, elected 2019
  • Fellow, Game Theory Society, elected 2017
  • Jean-Jacques Laffont Prize, 2016
  • Codirector, Digital Business: Data, Decisions & Platform Strategy Initiative, Stanford GSB, 2015
  • Spence Faculty Fellow, Stanford GSB, 2013–14
  • Fellow, Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory, 2013
  • Member, National Academy of Science, elected 2012
  • Honorary degree, Duke University, 2009
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, elected 2008
  • John Bates Clark Medal, 2007
  • Fellow, Econometric Society, elected 2004
  • Guggenheim Faculty Scholar, Stanford University, 2004–06
  • Elaine Bennett Research Award, 2001
  • Sloan Foundation Research Fellow, 2000
  • Undergraduate Economics Association Teaching Award, 1995–96
  • Review of Economic Studies Tour, 1995
  • Stanford University Lieberman Fellow, 1994–95
  • State Farm Dissertation Award in Business, 1994
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 1991–94
  • Jaedicke Scholar, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 1992–93
  • Mary Love Collins Scholarship, Chi Omega Foundation, 1991–92
  • Duke University Alice Baldwin Memorial Scholarship, 1990–91


Journal Articles

Book Chapters

Working Papers

Academic Publications


Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

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Other Teaching

Programs and Non-Degree Courses

This is a team-based course where students will work on a project to improve a product using data and experimentation. We will cover key considerations for designing and executing high-quality research for product innovation to drive business outcomes and social impact. Students will have the opportunity to apply methods from machine learning and causal inference to a real-world scenario provided by a partner organization. Topics include designing research and experiments, data analysis, experimental and non-experimental methods for estimating the impact of product features, as well as management consideration for the delivery of actionable research. The course involves three weekly meetings: two lectures and one lab.

Conferences, Talks & Speaking Engagements

Susan Athey was the keynote speaker at the 2021 UC Berkeley Undergraduate Economics Commencement.

Susan Athey presents “Designing Adaptive Field Experiments” at the University of Chicago, Department of Economics, Advances with Field Experiments Seminar Series.

Susan Athey went to Toulouse to receive the Jean-Jacques Laffont Prize 2016. She tells about her research on “the internet and the news industry” and her relationship with TSE.

Susan Athey discusses how data-driven organizations still need to exercise intuition and judgment to ensure that short-term results don’t override long-term interests.

Susan Athey discusses “Designing Online Advertising Markets at the Algorithmic Game Theory and Practice” at a talk held at the Simons Institute for the Theory Computing, UC Berkeley.

This webinar, convened by the National Academies’ Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy, featured Susan Athey as a panelist.

Stanford GSB Affiliations

Stanford University Affiliations

  • Senior Fellow Stanford Institute of Economic Policy Research
  • Member Program on Computational Social Science

Service to the Profession

Current Activities

  • Member, President’s Committee for the National Medal of Science (Presidential Appointment), 2014-Present
  • Member, National Academies Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy Innovation Policy Form, 2013-present
  • Member, National Academies Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, 2013-present

Past Activities

  • Member, President’s Committee for the National Medal of Science (Presidential Appointment), 2011-2013
  • Member, Nominating Committee for American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2011-2012
  • Cambridge Economics Economics and Computational Day, co-founder, 2011.
  • Council, Game Theory Society, 2009-2012. (elected position)
  • Associate Editor, Theoretical Economics, 2005-2011
  • Council, Econometric Society, 2007-2010. (elected position)
  • Executive Committee, American Economic Association, 2008-2010. (elected position)
  • Advisory Committee on Editorial Appointments, American Economics Association, 2011
  • Co-Editor, American Economic Journals: Microeconomics, 2007-2008
  • Associate Editor, Econometrica, 2006-2007
  • Associate Editor, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2001-2007
  • Editorial Board, Not a Journal Economics, 2001-2008
  • Fellows Nominating Committee, Econometric Society, 2006
  • Elaine Bennett Research Prize Committee (AEA/CSWEP), 2002, 2004, 2006 (Chair)
  • Chair, Program Committee, Winter Meetings of the Econometric Society, 2006
  • National Science Foundation Economics Panel, 2004-2006
  • Co-director, Market Design Program, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, 2004-2006
  • Mentor, CeMent Mentoring Workshop, AEA/CSWEP, 2006
  • Young Faculty Nominating Committee, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
  • Associate Editor, American Economic Review, 2002-2005
  • Associate Editor, RAND Journal of Economics, 2002-2004
  • Foreign Editor, Review of Economic Studies, 2001-2004
  • American Economic Association Nominating Committee, 2003
  • Stanford University Fellow, 2002-2004
  • Co-editor, Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 1997-2001
  • Program Committee, Summer Meetings of the Econometric Society, 1997 and 1998; 8th World Congress of the Econometric Society, 2000; Winter Meetings of the Econometric Society, 2001 and 2005

In the Media

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