Hsin-Tien (Tiffany) Tsai

Assistant Professor

Department of Economics, National University of Singapore 

Office: 1 Arts Link, AS2 #04-45, 117568 

Email: ttsai@nus.edu.sg

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Research Fields: Industrial Organization, Digital Economy, Applied Microeconomics

I am interested in empirical industrial organization. My research often center around the role of intermediation, vertical relationships, and information asymmetry and its design within markets such as online retailing, digital platforms, and financial markets.


Published & Forthcoming Papers

Steering via Algorithmic Recommendations, with Nan Chen

The RAND Journal of Economics, forthcoming. [Online Appendix]

This article studies whether self-preferencing affects algorithmic recommendations on dominant platforms. We focus on the dual role of Amazon.com as a platform owner and retailer. We find that products sold by Amazon receive substantially more “Frequently Bought Together” recommendations across popularity deciles. To establish causality, we exploit within-product variation generated by Amazon stockouts. We find that when Amazon is out of stock, identical products sold by third-party sellers face an eight-percentage-point decrease in the probability of receiving a recommendation. The pattern can be explained by the economic incentives of steering but not explained by consumer preference. Furthermore, the steering lowers recommendation efficiency.  

Advantageous Selection with Intermediaries: A Study of GSE-Securitized Mortgage Loans

The RAND Journal of Economics, 54(4), 668-694, 2023.

This research studies the effects of mortgage subsidies and asymmetric information in the US mortgage market. I exploit discontinuities in interest rates generated by pricing rules and find patterns consistent with advantageous selection. I estimate an industry model that highlights the relationship between mortgage subsidies, intermediary lenders’ incentives, and borrowers’ advantageous selection. The model shows that mortgage subsidies enable advantageous selection, creating a deadweight loss of $7.90 billion. The counterfactual analysis reveals that pricing borrowers’ private information eliminates advantageous selection only if mortgages are not subsidized. Without the mortgage subsidy, pricing borrowers’ private information improves efficiency by $728.58 million.

Working Papers

Price Competition Under Information (Dis)Advantage, with Nan Chen

Mobile Apps and Targeted Advertising: Competitive Effects of Data Sharing, with Ding Li, revise and resubmit,  Journal of the European Economic Association

The Real Impact of FinTech: Evidence from Mobile Payment Technology, with Sumit Agarwal, Wenlan Qian, Yuan Ren, and Bernard Yeung, revise and resubmit, Management Science

Selected Work In Progress

Selective Entry in Cross-Border E-Commerce, with Nan Chen

Distributional Effects of Car Ownership Restrictions, with Kwok Hao Lee

Other Publication

Welfare Implications of Congestion Pricing: Evidence from SFpark, with Pnina Feldman and Jun Li, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 24(2), 1091–1109, 2021.