Arindrajit Dube, Jeff Jacobs, Suresh Naidu, Siddharth Suri, 21 May 2018

Monopsony refers to the market power that employers wield in labour markets. This column explores monopsony power in online labour markets, using observational and experimental data from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform. Both datasets suggest an employer labour supply elasticity of close to 0.1, suggesting that a 10% reduction in wages would only see a 1% drop in willing labour. This points to substantial employer market power in a supposedly frictionless setting. 

Christian Helmers, Pramila Krishnan, Manasa Patnam, 25 January 2016

The growth of e-commerce has seen an enormous increase in the choice of products available online. With recent evidence from psychology suggesting that too much choice can impede decision making, this column examines whether consumers’ online choices are consistent with models of limited attention. High-frequency, transaction-level data from an online retail store reveal that consumers are influenced by recommendations. This suggests consumers do indeed have limited attention and simplify decision making by focusing on a subset of available products.

Brian Baugh, Itzhak Ben-David, Hoonsuk Park, 05 May 2014

Several US states have recently implemented laws requiring the collection of sales tax on online purchases. In practice, however, only Amazon.com has been affected. This column shows that households living in these states have reduced their Amazon expenditures by 9.5%. It also shows that the decline in Amazon purchases is offset by a 2% increase in purchases at local brick-and-mortar retailers and a 19.8% increase in purchases through the online operations of competing retailers.

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