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Beyond Big Data

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This talk describes the new directions in computers and communication and their implications for the analysis of massive amounts of data, development of customized marketing plans that go hand in glove with sophisticated digital assistants, continuous computerized experiments to distinguish causation from correlation, and the role of monitoring in market research and the conduct of efficient transactions. Taking full advantage of the potential of these new directions will require increasing sophistication in knowing what to do with the massive amounts of data that are now available.

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  1. For an idea of Google’s current efforts, see Singhal [2012].

  2. “Material used to generate leads and sell advertising developed and designed by art directors and/or copyrighters in an ad agency.”

  3. For a discussion of how modern technology is affecting the restaurant industry, see Lohr [2013].


  • Lohr, Steve . 2013. How Surveillance Changes Behavior: A Restaurant Worker’s Case Study. The New York Times (August 26).

  • Scism, Leslie . 2013. State Farm is There: As you Drive. Wall Street Journal (August 15).

  • Singhal, Amit . 2012. Breakfast with Google’s Search Team.!.

  • Stross, Randall . 2012. So You’re a Good Driver? Let’s Go to the Monitor. The New York Times (24 November 2012).

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Presented at the NABE Annual Meeting, September 10, 2013, San Francisco, CA.

*Hal R. Varian is the chief economist at Google. Since 2002 he has been involved in many aspects of the company, including auction design, econometric analysis, finance, corporate strategy, and public policy. He also holds academic appointments at the University of California, Berkeley in three departments: business, economics, and information management. He has taught at MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Michigan, and other universities. He is a fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation, the Econometric Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was co-editor of the American Economic Review from 1987 to 1990 and holds honorary doctorates from the University of Oulu in Finland and the University of Karlsruhe in Germany. He has published numerous papers in economic theory, industrial organization, financial economics, econometrics, and information economics and several books. He received his S.B. from MIT and his M.A. in mathematics and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

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Varian, H. Beyond Big Data. Bus Econ 49, 27–31 (2014).

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