The political economy of Uber’s multi-dimensional creative destruction

Over the past week it’s been hard to keep up with the news about Uber. Uber’s creative destruction is rapid, and occurring on multiple dimensions in different places. And while the focus right now is on Uber’s disruption in the shared transportation market, I suspect that more disruption will arise in other markets too. Start … More The political economy of Uber’s multi-dimensional creative destruction

Dynamic pricing is everywhere … even NPR

Chicago’s National Public Radio affiliate, WBEZ, started their fall/winter pledge drive earlier this week. As usual, the station offers a range of “thank you” gifts, with different gifts for different donation amounts. Going beyond the ubiquitous tote bag and coffee mug, this year WBEZ offers a stylish black and red (good color combo when you … More Dynamic pricing is everywhere … even NPR

Illinois NextGrid, platform economics, and a new working paper

Recently the Illinois Commerce Commission kicked off its “utility of the future” initiative, called NextGrid. This 18-month stakeholder study will gather ideas to map out a strategic direction for electricity in Illinois. I spoke on a panel at the kickoff event that focused on platforms and transactive energy; here’s a summary of the panel from … More Illinois NextGrid, platform economics, and a new working paper

OECD on competition and new electricity business models

This article in the OECD Observer by Chris Pike provides a concise overview of some of the current issues and challenges that innovation is creating for existing business and regulatory models in electricity (and cites Kiesling & Munson 2016, thank you for that!). The main argument is that digital innovation is disrupting the traditional regulated retail … More OECD on competition and new electricity business models

Elasticity of supply reduces hotel price spikes

Major sporting events can substantially boost demand for hotel rooms and, given the difficulty of building new hotels on short notice, lead to price hikes and consumer complaints about price gouging. As I wrote four years ago, “Super Bowls usually produce price gouging complaints,” but the complaints were especially high that year given the selection … More Elasticity of supply reduces hotel price spikes

Power Up: The framework for a new era of UK energy distribution

The Adam Smith Institute has published a research report I wrote for them, Power Up: The framework for a new era of UK energy distribution. From the press release: The report … argues that new technologies such as smart grids and distributed energy production can revolutionise old models of energy distribution and pricing, in the … More Power Up: The framework for a new era of UK energy distribution

Technological change, culture, and a “social license to operate”

Technological change is disruptive, and in the long sweep of human history, that disruption is one of the fundamental sources of economic growth and what Deirdre McCloskey calls the Great Enrichment: In 1800 the average income per person…all over the planet was…an average of $3 a day. Imagine living in present-day Rio or Athens or … More Technological change, culture, and a “social license to operate”

Ride sharing and overcoming taxi discrimination

An interesting story from NPR caught my eye: how ride sharing apps make it easier for riders to overcome racial discrimination. The story tells the tale of Skinny Pants Guy, “a dude who was in his mid-20s — slim, with neat, shoulder-length locks, skinny chinos, loafers and a leather briefcase slung across his torso — … More Ride sharing and overcoming taxi discrimination

Platform economics and “unscaling” the electricity industry

A few weeks ago I mused over the question of whether there would ever be an Uber or AirBnB for the electricity grid. This question is a platform question — both Uber and AirBnB have business models in which they bring together two parties for mutual benefit, and the platform provider’s revenue stream can come … More Platform economics and “unscaling” the electricity industry