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About the Author(s)

Matthew Backus Profile

Matthew Backus is an industrial organization economist and a faculty research fellow in the NBER’s Industrial Organization Program since 2016. He is the Phillip H. Geier Associate Professor in the Economics Division of Columbia Business School. Prior to starting his position at Columbia, he was an assistant professor at Cornell University, 2013–15, and a postdoctoral researcher at eBay Research Labs, 2012–13. He completed his PhD in economics at the University of Michigan in 2012.

Backus’s research focuses on antitrust, productivity, communication, bargaining, and auctions. He has studied the relationship between competition and productivity, conduct testing and evaluation of the common ownership hypothesis, demand estimation in dynamic auction platform environments, as well as bargaining and negotiations using e-commerce data.

A resident of the Upper West Side in New York City, where he and his border collie are regulars at Riverside Park, Backus enjoys cooking, motorcycles, science fiction, and volunteering for good causes.

Steven Tadelis is Professor of Economics, Business and Public Policy and the Sarin Chair in Strategy and Leadership at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. His research focuses on e-commerce, industrial organization, the economics of incentives and organizations, and procurement contracting.

Prior to starting his position at Berkeley-Haas, Tadelis was an assistant professor at Stanford University for eight years after receiving his PhD in economics from Harvard University. He also held positions as a senior director and distinguished economist at eBay Research Labs, 2011–13, and vice president of economics and market design at Amazon, 2016–17. At Amazon, he applied economic research tools to a variety of product and business applications, working with technologists, machine learning scientists, and business leaders.

He is affiliated with the NBER’s Industrial Organization Program.


1. “Transparency and Negotiated Prices: The Value of Information in Hospital-Supplier Bargaining,” Grennan M, Swanson A. NBER Working Paper 22039, February 2016, and Journal of Political Economy 128(4), April 2020, pp.1234–1268; “The Efficiency of Real-World Bargaining: Evidence from Wholesale Used-Auto Auctions,” Larsen B. NBER Working Paper 20431, August 2014, and forthcoming in The Review of Economic Studies; “The Microstructure of the US Housing Market: Evidence from Millions of Bargaining Interactions,” Mateen H, Qian F, Zhang Y. Stanford University Working Paper, November 2020; “Multilateral Trade Bargaining: A First Look at the GATT Bargaining Records,” Bagwell K, Staiger R, Yurukoglu A. NBER Working Paper 21488, August 2015, and American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 12(3), July 2020, pp. 72–105; “Pirates of the Mediterranean: An Empirical Investigation of Bargaining with Asymmetric Information,” Ambrus A, Chaney E, Salitskiy I. Quantitative Economics 9(1), April 2018, pp. 217–246. Go to ⤴︎
3. “Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model,” Rubenstein A. Econometrica 50(1), January 1982, pp. 97–109.   Go to ⤴︎
4. “Sequential Bargaining in the Field: Evidence from Millions of Online Bargaining Interactions,” Backus M, Blake T, Larsen B, Tadelis S. NBER Working Paper 24306, February 2018, and The Quarterly Journal of Economics 135(3), August 2020, 1319–1361.   Go to ⤴︎
5. “Cheap Talk, Round Numbers, and the Economics of Negotiation,” Backus M, Blake T, Tadelis S. NBER Working Paper 21285, June 2015, and published as “On the Empirical Content of Cheap-Talk Signaling: An Application to Bargaining,” Journal of Political Economy 127(4), August 2019, pp. 1599–1628.   Go to ⤴︎
6. “Communication and Bargaining Breakdown: An Empirical Analysis,” Backus M, Blake T, Pettus J, Tadelis S. NBER Working Paper 27984, October 2020.     Go to ⤴︎
7. “Multilateral Trade Bargaining: A First Look at the GATT Bargaining Records,” Bagwell K, Staiger R, Yurukoglu A. NBER Working Paper 21488, August 2015, and American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 12(3), July 2020, pp. 72–105.   Go to ⤴︎

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