Thursday, March 14, 2019

Amazon gets an edge with its secret squad of PhD economists | CNN

Later in the article: "Other tech companies that also make effective use of economists — like Uber, which has a 30-person team — speak with frank admiration of the apparatus Amazon has built."
"Amazon is now a large draw from the relatively small talent pool of PhD economists, which in the United States grows by about only 1,000 new graduates every year. Although the definition of "economist" is fuzzy, the discipline is generally understood as the study of how people use resources and respond to incentives.
In the past few years, Amazon has hired more than 150 PhD economists, making it probably the largest employer in the field behind institutions like the Federal Reserve, which has hundreds of economists on staff. It was the only company with a recruiting booth at the American Economics Association's annual conference in January, handing out free pens and logoed stress balls.
Unlike economists in academia or government, the work of Amazon's economists is almost entirely secret, and staff are required to sign non-disclosure agreements to keep it that way. But according to background interviews and Amazon itself, integrating economists has been critical to the company's phenomenal growth in e-commerce."
Amazon gets an edge with its secret squad of PhD economists | CNN

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