+21 votes
asked ago in General Economics Questions by (6.9k points)
To put it another way, what are some areas that seem important but tractable, and therefore might yield productive research questions that could lead to a paper and maybe more?

I’ll open the discussion with one potential answer, below, and I hope others will follow.
commented ago by (110 points)
To add to the last two posts:

Twenty-first century financial market design is a great area for dissertation research. There are lots of incremental changes in rules and practice, and many opportunities to better understand those changes  and to propose improvements. One example of which I am aware is Jun Aoyagi, a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley, who has a paper on Strategic Speed Choice when the exchange imposes small delays. There surely are others already working on related topics, but I conjecture there is additional room for dozens of dissertations in this field.

The earlier suggestion about designing markets for personal data also strikes me as important and promising. The book by Posner and Weyl is useful background, and it frames the question nicely, but it doesn't really tackle market design. Individual users are numerous and tiny relative to giant firms like Amazon, Google and Facebook  on the other side of the market. I wonder whether there is a role for intermediaries to sign up large numbers of users and sell the bundled data at a competitive price. In any case, there seems to be room here for basic theoretical modeling, for specific applications and for everything in between.

17 Answers

0 votes
answered ago by (6.9k points)
Here's a blog post whose last line is "I anticipate that dealing with addictive drugs will be one of the important market design issues of the next decades."  https://marketdesigner.blogspot.com/2019/08/drug-wars-and-drug-addiction-black.html
0 votes
answered ago by (360 points)
In my opinion, we need some dissertations on engaging our Commerce Clause regarding Cannabis and rendering it as conveniently taxable as alcohol or tobacco, to see how much tax revenue we can generate by being more market friendly rather than going against market trends.
commented ago by (140 points)
See Economist Weyl and Posner on a Georgist market design for land use.   Instead of granting cannabis grow licenses and then assessing some crudely determined fixed tax, why not have an annual or periodic auction for a fixed number of cannabis grow licenses measured in sq ft of canopy.     https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=12668&context=journal_articles