Talk: “Disruptive’’ market algorithms, humans, and society by Heinrich Nax, ETH Zurich

Event time: 
Friday, November 22, 2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Room 107 See map
24 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven
Event description: 

Title: “Disruptive’’ market algorithms, humans, and society 

Speaker: Heinrich H. Nax, ETH Zurich (visiting Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale)


How do internet market platforms and allocation and pricing algorithms used on them change normative considerations in society – such as concerning what allocations and prices are considered fair? These algorithms have been shown to impact the human end user, and through reputation and rating mechanisms also to alter human behavior. Moreover, these innovations are changing prevalent societal norms and have led, in some cases, to multiple conflicting standards. 

Challenges are twofold. On the one hand we have to revisit the algorithm design, and on the other hand we have to revisit current policy and governance positions. The goal of this talk is to discuss the above issues through some concrete example (e.g. Uber’s surge pricing, etc.), and to discuss a number of questions from multiple perspectives:  

·       From a mechanism design and algorithmic perspective, how do these market platforms compare with traditional marketplaces (e.g. ride-sharing apps vs traditional taxi companies)?

·       From a social science and regulatory perspective, how have behaviors and social norms changed through these platforms (e.g. instead of tipping we leave positive reviews or comments, instead of waiting in line we pay a higher price to get the ride, etc.)?