Adam James Smith
I am a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My research fields are in Industrial Organization, digital economics, and applied microeconomics.
I am on the job market for 2019-2020 and will be available for interviews at the NABE meeting in November 2019 and the ASSA meetings in January 2020.
“Product Visibility on a Digital Goods Platform” (job market paper - draft coming soon!)
Abstract: This paper explores the tradeoff digital goods platforms face when deciding whether to allocate visibility to established products of known quality or to new products of unknown quality, where quality must be learned by observing the behavior of consumers. Using high frequency data on views and downloads from Nexus Mods, a platform for user generated content for the popular video game Skyrim, I estimate a structural model of search, downloads, and expectation formation. I find that the platform is currently over-experimenting: by reducing the visibility of new mods they could substantially increase downloads for medium popularity mods without impairing their ability to learn the quality of new mods. The current level of experimentation would be (download) optimal if the number of new mods arriving was higher. Consumer search behavior is sensitive to the level of experimentation, suggesting platforms need to consider equilibrium effects when deciding on how much visibility to give new products.