Research

  • Information Technology & Industry Concentration

    James Bessen

    Since the 1980s, US industries have become increasingly dominated by large firms across almost all sectors. Why? One possibility is that large firms have become dominant because antitrust authorities have allowed too many mergers and acquisitions. James Bessen explores another possibility: that leading firms have been better at harnessing information technology (IT) for competitive advantage, allowing them to grow faster. Research Summary
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  • Search Engines and Data Retention: Implications for Privacy and Antitrust

    Lesley Chiou and Catherine Tucker

    Does Big Data give large companies an unfair competitive advantage? New machine learning technologies depend on access to large amounts of data. This means that large companies might be able to use their huge stores of data to provide better products and services than smaller rivals and startups. Or not... Research Summary Read More →

  • Automation and Jobs: When technology boosts employment

    James Bessen

    Will industries use new information technologies to eliminate jobs? Sometimes productivity-enhancing technology increases industry employment instead. In manufacturing, jobs grew along with productivity for a century or more; only later did productivity gains bring declining employment. What changed? Markets became saturated.

    Research Summary: Why Isn't Automation Creating Unemployment?
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  • Foreign Competition and Domestic Innovation: Evidence from U.S. Patents

    David Autor with David Dorn, Gordon H. Hanson, Gary Pisano, and Pian Shu.

    Manufacturing is the locus of U.S. innovation, accounting for more than three quarters of U.S. corporate patents. The rise of import competition from China has represented a major competitive shock to the sector, which in theory could benefit or stifle innovation. In this paper we empirically examine how rising import competition from China has affected U.S. innovation. Read More →

  • Tracking the gig economy: New numbers

    Ian Hathaway with Mark Muro

    The gig economy, as reflected by nonemployer firms, is significant and growing fast. Overall, there has been a clear surge in nonemployer firms’ — a measure of contractor and freelance individuals — business activity in the last decade, which almost certainly reflects, at least in part, the rise of online platforms. Read More →

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