Harvard Business School
Morgan Hall 427
Boston, MA 02163
NBER Program Affiliations:
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: Harvard University
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|January 2020||Consumer Protection in an Online World: An Analysis of Occupational Licensing|
with Andrey Fradkin, Bradley Larsen, Erik Brynjolfsson: w26601
We study the effects of occupational licensing on consumer choices and market outcomes in a large online platform for residential home services. We exploit exogenous variation in the time at which licenses are displayed on the platform to identify the causal effects of licensing information on consumer choices. We find that the platform-verified licensing status of a professional is unimportant for consumer decisions relative to review ratings and prices. We confirm this result in an independent consumer survey. We also use variation in regulation stringency across states and occupations to measure the effects of licensing on aggregate market outcomes on the platform. Our results show that more stringent licensing regulations are associated with less competition and higher prices but not w...
|February 2018||The Welfare Effects of Peer Entry in the Accommodation Market: The Case of Airbnb|
with Andrey Fradkin: w24361
We study the effects of enabling peer supply through Airbnb in the accommodation industry. We present a model of competition between flexible and dedicated sellers - peer hosts and hotels - who provide differentiated products. We estimate this model using data from major US cities and quantify the welfare effects of Airbnb on travelers, hosts, and hotels. The welfare gains are concentrated in locations (New York) and times (New Years Eve) when hotels are capacity constrained. This occurs because peer hosts are responsive to market conditions, expand supply as hotels fill up, and keep hotel prices down as a result.
|August 2015||Peer-to-Peer Markets|
with Liran Einav, Jonathan Levin: w21496
Peer-to-peer markets such as eBay, Uber, and Airbnb allow small suppliers to compete with traditional providers of goods or services. We view the primary function of these markets as making it easy for buyers to find sellers and engage in convenient, trustworthy transactions. We discuss elements of market design that make this possible, including search and matching algorithms, pricing, and reputation systems. We then develop a simple model of how these markets enable entry by small or flexible suppliers, and the resulting impact on existing firms. Finally, we consider the regulation of peer-to-peer markets, and the economic arguments for different approaches to licensing and certification, data, and employment regulation.
Published: Liran Einav & Chiara Farronato & Jonathan Levin, 2016. "Peer-to-Peer Markets," Annual Review of Economics, vol 8(1), pages 615-635.
|May 2013||Sales Mechanisms in Online Markets: What Happened to Internet Auctions?|
with Liran Einav, Jonathan D. Levin, Neel Sundaresan: w19021
Consumer auctions were very popular in the early days of internet commerce, but today online sellers mostly use posted prices. Data from eBay shows that compositional shifts in the items being sold, or the sellers offering these items, cannot account for this evolution. Instead, the returns to sellers using auctions have diminished. We develop a model to distinguish two hypotheses: a shift in buyer demand away from auctions, and general narrowing of seller margins that favors posted prices. Our estimates suggest that the former is more important. We also provide evidence on where auctions still are used, and on why some sellers may continue to use both auctions and posted prices.