NBER

Kevin R. Williams

Yale School of Management
165 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06520
Tel: 203/444-5576

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NBER Program Affiliations: IO
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: Yale University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2020Measuring Movement and Social Contact with Smartphone Data: A Real-Time Application to COVID-19
with Victor Couture, Jonathan I. Dingel, Allison E. Green, Jessie Handbury: w27560
Tracking human activity in real time and at fine spatial scale is particularly valuable during episodes such as the COVID-19 pandemic. In this paper, we discuss the suitability of smartphone data for quantifying movement and social contact. We show that these data cover broad sections of the US population and exhibit movement patterns similar to conventional survey data. We develop and make publicly available a location exposure index that summarizes county-to-county movements and a device exposure index that quantifies social contact within venues. We use these indices to document how pandemic-induced reductions in activity vary across people and places.
February 2020Intertemporal Price Discrimination in Sequential Quantity-Price Games
with James D. Dana Jr.: w26794
This paper develops an oligopoly model in which firms first choose capacity and then compete in prices in a series of advance-purchase markets. We show that when the elasticity of demand falls across periods, strong competitive forces prevent firms from utilizing intertemporal price discrimination. We then enrich the model by allowing firms to use inventory controls, or sales limits assigned to individual prices. We show that competing firms can profitably use inventory controls. Thus, although typically viewed as a tool to manage demand uncertainty, we show that inventory controls can also facilitate price discrimination in oligopoly.
May 2019Aiming for the Goal: Contribution Dynamics of Crowdfunding
with Joyee Deb, Aniko Oery: w25881
We study reward-based crowdfunding campaigns, a new class of dynamic contribution games where consumption is exclusive. Two types of backers participate: buyers want to consume the product while donors just want the campaign to succeed. The key tension is one of coordination between buyers, instead of free-riding. Donors can alleviate this coordination risk. We analyze a dynamic model of crowdfunding and demonstrate that its predictions are consistent with high-frequency data collected from Kickstarter. We compare the Kickstarter mechanism to alternative platform designs and evaluate the value of dynamically arriving information. We extend the model to incorporate social learning about quality.

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