PhD economists have started to play an increasingly central role in tech companies,
tackling problems such as platform design, pricing, and policy. Major companies, including Amazon, eBay, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Airbnb, and Uber, have large teams of PhD economists working to engineer better design choices.
Second, economists working full time within companies are often under pressure
to deal with immediate issues (such as whether to change prices in a given quarter, or whether a specific advertising campaign was productive). Academics are insulated from these pressures, and so can explore longer-term strategic issues such as whether a company is even tracking the right metrics, or whether it makes sense to shift product composition.