Hal Varian: 2016 Plenary Session


Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Location: McCaw Hall, Arrillaga Alumni Center

"Computer Mediated Transactions"



These days nearly every economic transaction involves a computer in some form or other.What does this mean for economics?I argue that the ubiquity of computers enables new and more efficient contractual forms, better alignment of incentives,more sophisticated data extraction and analysis, creates an environment for controlled experimentation, andallows for personalization and customization.I review some of the long and rich history of these phenomena and describe some of their implications for current and future practices.


Hal R. Varian is the Chief Economist at Google. He started in May 2002 as a consultant and has been involved in many aspects of the company, including auction design, econometric, finance, corporate strategy and public policy.

He is also an emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley in three departments: business, economics, and information management. He received his S.B. degree from MIT in 1969 and his MA and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1973. Professor Varian has published numerous papers in economic theory, econometrics, industrial organization, public finance, and the economics of information technology