Episode 28

#28 Game Theory, Industrial Organization & Policy Design, with Shosh Vasserman

In times of crisis, designing an efficient policy response is paramount. In case of natural disasters or pandemics, it can even determine the difference between life and death for a substantial number of people. But precisely, how do you design such policy responses, making sure that risks are optimally shared, people feel safe enough to reveal necessary information, and stakeholders commit to the policies?

That’s where a field of economics, industrial organization (IO), can help, as Shosh Vasserman will tell us in this episode. Shosh is an assistant professor of economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Specialized in industrial organization, her interests span a number of policy settings, such as public procurement, pharmaceutical pricing and auto-insurance.

Her work leverages theory, empirics and modern computation (including the Stan software!) to better understand the equilibrium implications of policies and proposals involving information revelation, risk sharing and commitment. 

In short, Shoshana uses theory and data to study how risk, commitment and information flows interplay with policy design. And she does a lot of this with… Bayesian models! Who said Bayes had no place in economics?

Prior to Stanford, Shoshana did her Bachelor’s in mathematics and economics at MIT, and then her PhD in economics at Harvard University.

This was a fascinating conversation where I learned a lot about Bayesian inference on large scale random utility logit models, socioeconomic network heterogeneity and pandemic policy response — and I’m sure you will too!

Our theme music is « Good Bayesian », by Baba Brinkman (feat MC Lars and Mega Ran). Check out his awesome work at https://bababrinkman.com/ !

Thank you to my Patrons for making this episode possible!

Yusuke Saito, Avi Bryant, Ero Carrera, Brian Huey, Giuliano Cruz, Tim Gasser, James Wade, Tradd Salvo, Adam Bartonicek, William Benton, Alan O'Donnell, Mark Ormsby, Demetri Pananos, James Ahloy, Jon Berezowski, Robin Taylor, Thomas Wiecki, Chad Scherrer, Vincent Arel-Bundock, Nathaniel Neitzke, Zwelithini Tunyiswa, Elea McDonnell Feit, Bertrand Wilden, James Thompson, Stephen Oates, Gian Luca Di Tanna, Jack Wells, Matthew Maldonado, Ian Costley, Ally Salim, Larry Gill, Joshua Duncan, Ian Moran and Paul Oreto.

Visit https://www.patreon.com/learnbayesstats to unlock exclusive Bayesian swag ;)

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About the Podcast

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Learning Bayesian Statistics
A podcast on Bayesian inference - the methods, the projects and the people who make it possible!

About your host

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Alexandre Andorra

Hi! I'm your host, Alex Andorra. By day, I'm a Bayesian modeler at the PyMC Labs consultancy. By night, I don't (yet) fight crime, but I'm an open-source enthusiast and core contributor to the awesome Python packages PyMC and ArviZ.

An always-learning statistician, I love building models and studying elections and human behavior. I also love Nutella a bit too much, but I don't like talking about it – I prefer eating it.

My goal is to make this podcast as interesting and useful to you as possible. So, hit me on Twitter or email with your questions and suggestions!