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New Innovations in Payments
Marc Rysman, Boston University
Scott Schuh, West Virginia University

Rysman and Schuh discuss prospects for innovation in payments. They discuss recent research into consumer payments and what can be learned about consumer behavior around new payment options. They consider three new innovations in payments: mobile payments, faster payments and digital currencies. For each, the researchers describe prospects and boundaries to adoption.

This paper was distributed as Working Paper 22358, where an updated version may be available.

Designing Online Marketplaces
Michael Luca, Harvard University and NBER

Luca studies how online marketplaces have proliferated over the past decade, evolving far beyond the pioneers such as eBay and Amazon. Specialized platforms such as Airbnb, Uber, and Upwork have created new markets where none existed and pushed a growing fraction of the economy online. In contrast with most offline markets, online marketplaces are designed by organizations whose rules shape market outcomes. Market designers wield considerable power. Their rules determine whether a given platform is better for newcomers or experienced participants, or buyers or sellers, and whether participants abide by or break the law. Over time platforms have become increasingly “social,” providing information not only about the products or services being sold but also about buyers and sellers. The sharing of user information can increase trust (one market-design goal), but it may also facilitate discrimination (an unintended side effect). This paper provides an economist’s toolkit for designing an online marketplace, focusing on building trust and reputation while avoiding discrimination and inequality.

The Random Long Tail and the Golden Age of Television
Joel Waldfogel, University of Minnesota and NBER

Digitization has reduced the costs of production, distribution, and promotion in music, movies, and books, with major consequences for both the number of new products made available as well as the realized quality of the best new products. Cost reductions, along with relaxed gatekeeping constraints, make possible the creation of additional content. Then because of the inherent unpredictability of new product appeal, some of the new products turn out to be surprisingly good. This paper uses new data from a variety of sources to explore the evolution of television quality in the digital era. Waldfogel documents substantial growth in the number of new shows created and distributed, and an increase in the quality of the best work. He finds that new kinds of shows — made possible by digitization — account for substantial and growing shares of the most successful shows.

Frontiers of Health Policy: Digital Data and Personalized Medicine
Amalia R. Miller, University of Virginia and NBER
Catherine Tucker, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NBER

This paper argues that due to two unstoppable forces some of the most pressing future questions in health policy will relate to the use of digital technologies to analyze data concerning patient health. The first force is the shift away from a system where patient data was essentially temporary and not intended to be reused or easily accessed again, to a new digital world where patient data is easily transferred and accessed repeatedly. The second force is a fundamental deepening of the nature of patient data that enables increased personalization of healthcare for each individual patient based on not only their detailed medical history but also their likely future medical history that can be projected for their genetic makeup. Miller and Tucker summarize their research investigating the potential consequences of policies in this new world where patient data is both virtually costless to store, share, and individualize. They emphasize that issues of data management and privacy are now at the forefront of health policy considerations.

Adoption of New Information and Communications Technologies in the Workplace Today
Timothy F. Bresnahan, Stanford University and NBER
Pai-Ling Yin, Amazon


Christopher Adams, Congressional Budget Office
Jeffrey Alexander, SRI International
Gary W. Anderson, National Science Foundation
Anwar Aridi, George Washington University
Suresh Balakrishnan, University System of Maryland
Mark Boroush, National Science Foundation
Ron Borzekowski, Amazon
Ovidiu Bujorean
Octavian Carare, Federal Communications Commission
Elias Carayannis, George Washington University
Maria Carina Ugarte, George Washington University
Julie Carlson, Federal Trade Commission
Christopher Colford, The World Bank
Richard Conroy, National Institutes of Health
Daniel Correa, Stanford University
Judith Dempsey, Federal Communications Commission
Juan Figueroa, Nation Science Foundation
Emil Friberg, Government Accountability Office
Ravi Gupta, The World Bank
James Hansley, Hansley Associates, Inc.
Robert Hershey, Robert L. Hershey, P.E.
Derek Hill, National Science Foundation
Cassandra Ingram, Bureau of the Census
Chris Jackson, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Gary Jones, Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
James Kadtke, National Nanotechnology Coordinating Office
Eugene Kiselev, Federal Communications Commission
Evgeny Klochikhin, American Institutes for Research
Tim Kochanski, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Jonathan Levy, Federal Communications Commission
Nancy Lutz, National Science Foundation
Suzanne Majewski, Department of Justice
Alicia McLeod, REDI
Peter Meyer, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Suzanne Munck, Federal Trade Commission
Omar Nayeem, Federal Communications Commission
Susan Nelson, U.S. Department of the Treasury
Bonnie Nichols, National Endowment for the Arts
Jason O'Connor, Federal Trade Commission
Ryan Pfirrman-Powell, National Institute of Health
Jonathan Porat, Small Business Administration
Ruth Raubitschek, Department of Justice
Juan Riveros, Quadrant Economics LLC
David Rixter, HCR Consulting
Sally Rood, National Governors Association
Ted C. Rosenbaum, Federal Trade Commission
Rena Rosenzveig, Federal Trade Commission
Seth Sacher, Federal Trade Commission
Akbar Sadeghi, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Rodger Sadler, Cote Capital
David Schimmelpfennig, Department of Agriculture
Johanna Schneider, National Institutes of Health
James A. Schuttinga, National Institutes of Health
Miriam Segal, Small Business Administration
Chad Shirley, Congressional Budget Office
Susan Singer, Federal Communications Commission
Donald Spicer, University System of Maryland
Jessica Stahl, Federal Reserve Board
Peter Stenberg, Department of Agriculture
Roland Stephen, SRI International
Miron Straf, Virginia Tech
David Talan, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Joseph Teter, Naval Surface Warfare Center
Neil Thakur, National Institutes of Health
Krista Toumi, American University
Brad Wible, Science Magazine
Jason Wiens, The Kauffman Foundation
Timothy Wojan, National Science Foundation
John Yun, Federal Trade Commission

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