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The Year in Review

21 for 21: A Collection of Publications from the Past Year

Browse our year-end recap of working papers and journal articles from Stanford Digital Economy Lab researchers and affiliates.

December 18, 2021
2-minute read

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During the past year, Stanford Digital Economy Lab researchers and affiliates published working papers and journal articles covering a range of topics related to the digital economy. From digital resilience to predictive analytics to racial segregation, these publications demonstrate how AI, machine learning, and other brilliant technologies are shaping society and the future of work.

Scroll down to find a collection of these remarkable working papers and articles from 2021. Looking for publications from previous years? Go here.

The Power of Prediction: Predictive Analytics, Workplace Complements, and Business Performance


Researchers Erik Brynjolfsson, Wang Jin, and Kristina McElheran surveyed more than 30,000 manufacturers and discovered a sizable increase in productivity among plants that use tools to automate prediction. In “The Power of Prediction,” the research team outlines their findings and offers reasons why some companies using predictive analytics aren’t seeing such gains. Recognized for excellence by the Strategic Management Society and the National Association of Business Economists.

Digital Resilience: How Work-From-Home Feasibility Affects Firm Performance


Digital technologies are making some tasks, jobs, and firms more resilient to unanticipated shocks. S-DEL researchers extracted data from more than 200 million US job postings to construct an index that measure a firms’ resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic by assessing the work-from-home (WFH) feasibility of their labor demand.

Using Language Models to Understand Wage Premia


Does the text content of a job posting predict the salary offered for the role? There is ample evidence that even within an occupation, a job’s skills and tasks affect the job’s salary. Using a dataset of salary information linked to posting data. postdoctoral fellow Sarah Bana is applying natural language processing (NLP) techniques to build a model that predicts salaries from job posting text.

NEWS

S-DEL and SIEPR to Evaluate the Future of Work in California

July 19, 2021
4 min read

Automation is on the rise. The nature of work is rapidly changing. And businesses and California policymakers are dealing with a growing set of challenges and opportunities presented by the state’s evolving workforce and job market.

The Stanford Digital Economy Lab (S-DEL) and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) are embarking on research that will help evaluate how artificial intelligence and machine learning will impact the future of work in California for the next century. The project begins this summer and will be led by S-DEL Director Erik Brynjolfsson and SIEPR Director Mark Duggan.  

The work will be performed in collaboration with California 100, an initiative to envision and shape the long-term success of the state. Incubated at the University of California and Stanford University, the California 100 initiative will focus on creating policy recommendations to ensure the state’s sustainability, innovation, and equity for the next century. 

“The vision of the California 100 initiative aligns perfectly with the Lab’s vision of building a technology-driven economy that benefits everyone,” said Brynjolfsson. “We look forward to being a part of a project that helps companies and workers in California take on the challenges and opportunities posed by digitization and automation.”

Stanford researchers will develop a Future of Work Dashboard that draws on S-DEL’s data and insights to illustrate the transformation of jobs throughout California. The dashboard will sample a range of occupations across different regions, wage levels, education levels, and skill bundles to assess the resilience of each job to automation. The data will also highlight the most valuable skills in each occupation, suggest adjacent lines of work, and provide a comprehensive outlook for each position.

Future of Work Dashboard

The Future of Work Dashboard will utilize data from ongoing Stanford Digital Economy Lab research, including the following research areas and projects.

Outline of head/AI

Suitability for Machine Learning Rubric

The Suitability for Machine Learning (SML) Rubric project offers a theoretical framework for how occupations will change and predicts which occupations are exposed to advances in machine learning and robotics methods.

Wooden blocks connecting people

Job2Vec

Using data from 200 million online job postings, S-DEL is training a natural language processing model to learn the language of jobs.

Warehouse worker in mask

Economic and Productivity Impacts of COVID-19

SDEL’s research team is examining how businesses and workers are adapting to COVID-19 measures, such as lockdowns and remote working, brought on by the pandemic.

Researchers will address issues tied to tax policy and minimum wage and their impact on innovation and automation. “Rigorous, data-driven research is the foundation for creating good economic policy,” Duggan said. “Our work at SIEPR has long informed policy decisions at the local, state, and federal levels, and this is an opportunity for us to make important contributions to California’s economic future.”

Stanford’s research and insights will inform a broad set of policy recommendations that will be developed in conjunction with research from other universities and research institutions. The research will be completed in December 2021.

Follow us on Twitter for updates about the California 100 initiative, as well as other S-DEL research projects. 

Future of Work in California report cover

A New Social Compact for Workers in California


A March 2021 report released by the Future of Work Commission detailed what must be done to ensure inclusive and long-term economic growth in California. The Commission, which included Stanford HAI co-director Fei-Fei Li and HAI advisors Mary Kay Henry and James Manyika, devoted 18 months to meeting and listening to workers, employers, researchers, and other members of civil society to understand the current state and future of work and workers in California.

“We look forward to being a part of a project that helps companies and workers in California take on the challenges and opportunities posed by digitization and automation.”

ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON
Director, Stanford Digital Economy Lab

News + Events

Save the date: Stanford HAI’s 2021 Fall Conference is going to be radical

Stanford HAI’s 2021 Fall Conference, “Policy & AI: Four Radical Proposals for a Better Society,” will debate data cooperatives, algorithmic audits, and more.


2021 HAI Fall Conference
Policy & AI: Four Radical Proposals for a Better Society
November 9-10, 2021
Virtual event

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Last spring, scholars at Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI put forth a call: What are the most radical policy proposals focused on emerging technologies that could respond to the challenges and opportunities of an AI-powered future?

This November, some of the most ambitious proposals will be discussed and debated during the Stanford HAI 2021 Fall Conference, “Policy and AI: Four Radical Proposals for a Better Society.” The proposals include:

“Universal Basic Income to Offset Job Losses Due to Automation”
Andrew Yang, politician and former presidential candidate

“Data Cooperatives Could Give Us More Power Over Our Data”
Divya Siddarth, associate political economist and social technologist at Microsoft

“Middleware Could Give Consumers Choices Over What They See Online”
Francis Fukuyama, senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

“Third-Party Auditor Access for AI Accountability”
Deborah Raji, fellow, Mozilla Foundation, and CS PhD student, UC Berkeley

During the online conference, each proposal will be vetted by a panel of experts from academia, industry, government, and civil society. Audience members will be encouraged to ask questions and join the conversation.

This year’s conference will feature a keynote speech by Eric Lander, the President’s Science Advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Erik Brynjolfsson
Conference Co-host
Director, Stanford Digital Economy Lab
Senior Fellow, Stanford HAI

Daniel Ho
Conference Co-host
Professor, Stanford Law School
Associate Director, Stanford HAI

Stanford Digital Economy Lab Director Erik Brynjolfsson and Daniel E. Ho, Stanford Law School professor and Stanford HAI associate director, will co-host the conference.

“I’m excited about the range of incredible speakers who will be engaging in these four ambitious proposals,” said Ho. “Proposers include public intellectuals like Frank Fukuyama and rising stars like Deb Raji, and the panels represent a true range of backgrounds, from politicians to social scientists, and technologists to technology skeptics.”

Brynjolfsson defined the term radical in the context of the conference. “We chose proposals to be ‘radical’ in the sense that they are not small technocratic fixes,” he said. “They are ambitious proposals that grapple with fundamental problems and will require a change in outlook to adopt. At the same time, we don’t want proposals that are simply pie-in-the-sky dreams that have no hope of being implemented.”

Registration for the virtual two-day event is free and open to everyone.

Four Policy Proposals

This year’s conference features four policy proposals that respond to the issues and opportunities created by artificial intelligence. Each policy proposal will be a radical challenge to the status quo and capable of having a significant and far-reaching positive impact on humanity. The proposals will be presented to a panel of experts from multiple disciplines and backgrounds, who will vet, debate, and judge the merits of each proposal.

Francis Fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama
Middleware Could Give Consumers Choices Over What They See Online


A group of researchers, including Stanford professor Francis Fukuyama, are advocating for a competitive market in middleware to lessen internet platforms’ power over democratic political debate.

Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang
Universal Basic Income to Offset Job Losses Due to Automation


Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang proposes giving every American adult $1,000 a month to avert an economic crisis.

Divya Siddarth

Divya Siddarth
Data Cooperatives Could Give Us More Power Over Our Data


Economist Divya Siddarth and her colleagues propose creating data cooperatives that would function as intermediary fiduciaries who would negotiate with companies and other entities to establish guidelines around the use of our shared data.

Deb Raji

Deb Raji
Third-Party Auditor Access for AI Accountability


Deb Raji, a fellow at the Mozilla Foundation and PhD student at UC Berkeley, proposes legal protections and regulatory involvement to support organizations that uncover algorithmic harm.

“We hope to provide a rigorous perspective on four visions for how to address core challenges in the technology ecosystem. Policymakers should come away with ideas that are outside the box, which might not be implemented immediately, but can shape the long-term future as policy windows open up.”

DANIEL HO
Stanford Law School professor and Stanford HAI associate director

December 8, 2021

Recap:
Our Fall 2021 Seminar Series

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From deep-learning image analysis to the end of political order as we know it, our fall 2021 Seminar Series covered a wide range of topics related to the digital economy.

Our weekly Seminar Series features researchers and experts discussing topics focused on AI and the digital economy. A big thanks to all the colleagues and collaborators who joined us throughout the quarter to share their time and insights.




November 1, 2021
Laura Veldkamp
Columbia Business School


November 15, 2021
Sendhil Mullainathan
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business


December 6, 2021
Tomás Pueyo
Unchartered Territories


NEWS

Capgemini Signs On as First Stanford Digital Economy Lab Corporate Affiliate

September 16, 2021
1 min read

Capgemini, a global firm that focuses on consulting, digital transformation, technology, and engineering services, has signed on to become the first member of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab Corporate Affiliate Program

The newly launched corporate program will create opportunities for industry professionals to network with leading academics and discuss key topics related to the digital economy. The events and activities are designed to promote knowledge-sharing, brainstorming, and to discuss datasets that could further S-DEL’s research portfolio.

​​“We are delighted to have Capgemini as the inaugural corporate affiliate member, and we are looking forward to working with their experts and clients to find innovative and actionable solutions,” said Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab. “Industry engagement is essential to understanding the opportunities and obstacles ahead. With collaborators like Capgemini, we will be better able to help policymakers, businesses, and professionals rise to the challenges created by digitization and address the digital divide.”

As a corporate affiliate, Capgemini will draw from its Applied Innovation Exchange and global client database to collaborate with S-DEL researchers on a diverse set of topics. Their first collaboration may focus broadly on Digital Platforms, one of the Lab’s five research focus areas, with a specific project to be scoped together over the coming months.

“Collaboration between industry and academia is key to addressing the many questions that the digital economy has raised, and will continue to raise, in the years to come,” said Andreas Sjöström, Leader of Capgemini’s Applied Innovation Exchange in San Francisco. “We’re greatly looking forward to our work with the researchers at the Stanford Digital Economy Lab, and combining our resources, knowledge, and insights with their own to drive true innovation and create meaningful, positive change for all.”

Is your company interested in becoming an S-DEL Corporate Affiliate? Contact Christie Ko at christieko@stanford.edu

Two people brainstorming (illustration)

Become a Corporate Affiliate


Stanford Digital Economy Lab Corporate Affiliates receive invitations to our events and have the opportunity to talk with Lab faculty, staff, students, and fellows. Corporate Affiliates may also have the option to engage in Lab research projects.

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