Three essays on digital economy
- This dissertation investigates various trending topics in the digital economy, specifically the rising business of e-commerce influencers and remote work arrangements for knowledge workers. In Chapter 1, I study the economics of influencer markets with evidence from China's leading livestreaming platform. I begin by documenting some facts about the industry. For example, consumer attention is scarce and concentrated at the top. Modeling the demand for influencers as bundling choices from consumers, I find superstar influencers have positive net consumer traffic spillover on some competing influencers. By studying an exogenous shock where the top superstar was banned, I find influencers compete on prices but no clear evidence of competing on product variety. Also, the other major influencers could not recover from the demand loss due to losing a superstar, even when they supplied more labor time by livestreaming longer. Hence the shock to the market structure has a long-standing effect on the platform. My findings have managerial implications for platforms that run influencer markets. Using influencers to grow a platform is path-dependent, and superstar influencers may disintermediate the platform. Given the complementarity between superstars and other influencers, the platform should also be very careful when steering consumers away from the superstars. I use a structural model to distinguish how the complementarity/substitutability and correlation between unobserved consumer preferences drive consumers' choice of influencers. In Chapter 2, we evaluate the overall effectiveness of the brand. The livestream may cannibalize sales volumes from other channels, and high commission fees and deep discounts may even shrink the margin. This paper identifies the net effect of the sales pitch by top broadcasters using customers' streaming data from a leading livestream platform in China. Broadcasters launch a sequence of products during one show and sometimes have intermission periods during two products. What customers see depends on their time of entering the showroom. We compare two groups of customers, one entering the showroom during a product interval and the other during its follow-up intermission, to examine the net effect of the sales pitch by broadcasters. We find that customers increase their tendencies of product-page browsing by 1.92% (relative to 9.11% for those who do not see the live sales pitch) and their purchase likelihood by 0.88% (relative to 0.66%). Effects are more pronounced for low-involvement and hedonic products, and customers aged between 30 to 50 are mostly affected. Further analysis suggests a positive intensive margin, as customers entering earlier convert more within a product period. In Chapter 3, we evaluate a randomized control trial of a hybrid work arrangement on 1612 graduate engineers, marketing and finance employees of a large technology firm. There are four key results. First, the hybrid work arrangement was highly valued by employees on average, reducing attrition by 33% and improving job-satisfaction measures. Second, hybrid reduced working hours on home days and increased them on office days and the weekend, altering the structure of the working week. Third, hybrid increased messaging and video calls, even when all employees were in the office, reflecting a move towards more electronic communication. Finally, there were large differences in the valuations of hybrid between managers and non-managers. Non-managers were more likely to volunteer into the hybrid experiment, to work from home on eligible days, to predict positive impacts on productivity, and to reduce their attrition under hybrid. In contrast, managers were less likely to volunteer, less likely to work from home on eligible days, predicted a negative average impact of hybrid on productivity, and saw increased attrition rates under hybrid.
|Type of resource
|electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
|1 online resource.
|Bloom, Nick, 1973-
|Bloom, Nick, 1973-
|Hoxby, Caroline Minter
|Degree committee member
|Hoxby, Caroline Minter
|Stanford University, School of Humanities and Sciences
|Stanford University, Department of Economics
|Statement of responsibility
|Submitted to the Department of Economics.
|Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2023.
- © 2023 by Ruobing Han
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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