Assistant Professor, The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School

Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, The Johns Hopkins University (courtesy)

Research interests: Economic Theory, Social Networks, Trust and Cooperation, Influence, Social Media, Privacy...

E-mail: i.p.fainmesser [at] gmail [dot] com

Twitter: @ItayFainmesser



A byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic and of social distancing is a sharp increase in online activity. This magnifies existing digital privacy challenges and introduces new ones. There is a lot that we don't yet understand, but some that we do. A short interview that I gave on the issue is available here. It is based on my paper Digital Privacy with Andrea Galeotti and Ruslan Momot.


Thank you to Luohan Academy for covering our work in their Frontiers magazine. While it is correct that we recommend enforcement against online adversaries, our policy recommendations also include regulation of digital businesses, in particular, holding businesses liable for damage to users and a minimal level of data protection requirement. Scroll down for a video of a short talk in which I cover our main results and policy recommendations.


Update: the Privacy Workshop at Princeton was a great learning experience. Here's a 25-minute video of my talk:


Looking forward to this week's Privacy Workshop at Princeton, with a wonderful set of speakers that I hope to learn a lot from.


The 4th Conference on Social and Political Economics is coming up. This year's conference will be at The Carey Campus on April 24-25 and will be titled The Sharing/Gig Economy. The program and free registration are here.


My co-author, Ruslan Momot, is on the US market in Operations Management. In a new paper, Ruslan and I, together with Andrea Galeotti, develop a framework to study Digital Privacy. We find that—contrary to public opinion—advertisement-driven companies do not invariably retain more of their users’ data than do transaction-driven companies, and that measuring the direct damage inflicted by malicious parties on users significantly underestimates the welfare loss and the loss of consumer surplus due to adversarial activity.


From La Réclame on my work with Andrea Galeotti on The Market for Online Influence (in French):


From the HUB on my work with Andrea Galeotti on The Market for Online Influence:


I'm co-organizing (with Chen Cheng, Marcelo Fernandez, and Yiqing Xing) the 3rd Conference on Social and Political Economics. This year's conference will be on Hopkins' Homewood Campus on May 3-4 and will be titled (De)centralization and Incentives. The program and free registration are here.

Econ conference 11 x 17 poster March 22.pdf


In a new paper, joint with Dominique Lauga and Elie Ofek, we study a model of Ratings, Reviews, and the Marketing of New Products. We show that whether consumers share just ratings or full reviews online has implications to the firm's pricing and advertising efforts, and affects profits and welfare.


In a recent paper, joint with Andrea Galeotti, we develop a model of The Market for Online Influence and study the growing practice of Influencer Marketing. The paper was covered by Changing Business Magazine and by the London Business School Review. Here's a trailer: