Research

Publications

"Digital Addiction" (PDF) with Hunt Allcott and Matthew Gentzkow, American Economic Review, 112 (7): 2424-63.

Many have argued that digital technologies such as smartphones and social media are addictive. We develop an economic model of digital addiction and estimate it using a randomized experiment. Temporary incentives to reduce social media use have persistent effects, suggesting social media are habit forming. Allowing people to set limits on their future screen time substantially reduces use, suggesting self-control problems. Additional evidence suggests people are inattentive to habit formation and partially unaware of self-control problems. Looking at these facts through the lens of our model suggests that self-control problems cause 31 percent of social media use.

Our op-ed in the Washington Post, short summary in The Research On That. Media coverage: NPR Morning Edition, The Indicator from Planet Money, Fast Company, The Atlantic


"Gotta Have Money to Make Money? Bargaining Behavior and Financial Need of Microentrepreneurs" (PDF) with Morgan Hardy and Gisella Kagy, American Economic Review: Insights, 4 (1): 1-17.

Bargaining over real prices with microenterprise owners in Ghana, we show that sellers with less per capita household liquidity agree to lower sale prices. This relationship is robust across firms and within firms over time, even after controlling for a plethora of time-varying observables. A computerized bargaining experiment, with randomized initial payout sizes, corroborates the real-bargaining findings. This pattern can be explained by an application of classical bargaining theory that includes endowments and utility functions with decreasing absolute risk aversion. The potential poverty multiplying implications of pricing behavior is a key frontier in understanding barriers to the profitability of microenterprises.

Our post in VoxDev. J-PAL Summary.  

Working Papers

"The Economics of Social Media" (current draft) with Guy Aridor, Rafael Jimenez, and Ro'ee Levy (proposal accepted at the Journal of Economic Literature)

"Closing the Distance: The Effects of Social Media Content on Support for Racial Justice" (current draft)

Mention: Slow Boring

"The Profitability of Diversity in the Media" (new draft coming soon)

"Knowledge is (Bargaining) Power – How Consumer Information Affects Pricing Mechanisms" (current draft

Ongoing Projects

"Flexibility through Delay" with Hunt Allcott, Matthew Gentzkow, Peter Maxted, and Carl Meyer 

"Reaching Across the Political Aisle: Overcoming Challenges in Using Social Media for Recruiting Politically Diverse Respondents" with Maggie Macdonald, Megan A. Brown, Nejla Asimovic, Rajeshwari Majumdar, Laura Huber, Sarah Graham, Joshua A. Tucker, and Jonathan Nagler