RESEARCH

I study the microeconomics of data and AI in the context of mass digitization in imperfect markets, in which information frictions, market power, and consumer irrationality are empirically important.

Conceptually, I focus on the generation and the value of digital in the private sector: how firms collect and use consumer data, as well as its dynamic implications on consumer behaviors, pricing/profit, search and information frictions, and market competitiveness.

Empirically, I focus on applications in insurance and e-commerce retail industries, making use of large datasets often obtained from independent collaborations with firms. I specialize in developing and estimating formal analytical models that account for empirically important features of consumer demand and firm conduct.

My primary field is industrial organization. My research sits at the intersection of IO, quant marketing, digitization, and finance.

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Firms in many markets directly elicit large amounts of data from consumers. The data is used to mitigate information problems, to gain competitive advantages, and to extract rents from consumers. We develop an equilibrium framework to account for these countervailing forces and decompose the value of telematics data in the context of auto insurance.

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What kind of firms collect what types of data? Can such data facilitate growth? If so, by influencing what strategies? We analyze the adoption and the effect of analytics tools by firms on an e-commerce platform. We then conduct a high-stake experiment among non-adopting stores and found evidence of information friction despite low take-up.

Is Growth-Hacking Feasible?

A Training Experiment on 2  million Online Stores (w/ Zhengyun Sun)

Is customizable business training online useful? Why? We conducted a year-long training experiment that influenced 2 million entrants on a large e-commerce platform. We also develop a novel matching technique based on micro-level consumer search data to pin down welfare implications.

The Origin of Moral Hazard and Behavior-Based Pricing in Auto Insurance (w/ Thomas Yu)

How should insurance contracts change when actions directly causing accident are observed? To what degree are high-risk drivers unsafe because they choose to be, versus due to poor innate driving skills? 

Incentivized Behavioral Modification and Learning in Auto Insurance (w/ Shosh Vasserman)

How does driving behavior respond to monetary incentives? Can short-term incentivized safe driving lead to persistent improvements in driving ability?

©2020 by Yizhou Jin.