Abstract: This presentation will review research from two papers about Bitcoin. The first paper uses data from the MIT digital currency experiment to shed light on consumer behavior regarding commercial, public and government surveillance. We find that the effect of small incentives may explain the privacy paradox, where people say they care about privacy but are willing to relinquish private data quite easily. The second paper analyzes empirical evidence about the adoption and usage of Bitcoin, as well as forces that underly Bitcoin pricing.
Speaker Bio: Susan Athey is The Economics of Technology Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business. She received her bachelor's degree from Duke University and her Ph.D. from Stanford, and she holds an honorary doctorate from Duke University. She previously taught at the economics departments at MIT, Stanford and Harvard. In 2007, Professor Athey received the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded by the American Economic Association to “that American economist under the age of forty who is adjudged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.” She was elected to the National Academy of Science in 2012 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008. Professor Athey’s research focuses on the economics of the internet, online advertising, the news media, marketplace design, virtual currencies and the intersection of computer science, machine learning and economics. She advises governments and businesses on marketplace design and platform economics, notably serving since 2007 as a long-term consultant to Microsoft Corporation in a variety of roles, including consulting chief economist.