An Economist Goes to the Game: How to Throw Away $580 Million and Other Surprising Insights from the Economics of Sports

by Paul Oyer
Book Site | Publisher | Amazon

Are ticket scalpers good for teams? Should parents push their kids to excel at sports? Why do Koreans dominate women’s golf, while Kenyans and Ethiopians dominate marathon racing? Why would Michael Jordan, the greatest player in basketball, pass to Steve Kerr for the game-winning shot?

Paul Oyer shows the many ways economics permeates the world of sports. His topics range from the business of sport to how great athletes use economic thinking to outsmart their opponents to why the world’s greatest sports powerhouse (at least per capita) is not America or China but the principality of Liechtenstein. Economics explains why some sports cannot stop the use of performance-enhancing drugs while others can, why hundred-million-dollar player contracts are guaranteed in baseball but not in football, how one man was able to set the world of sports betting on its ear—and why it will probably never happen again. This book is an entertaining guide to how a bit of economics can make you a better athlete and a more informed fan.

Roadside MBA

Roadside MBA: Backroad Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Executives and Small Business Owners

by Michael Mazzeo, Paul Oyer, Scott Schaefer. Business Plus, 2014
Book Site | Muiltimedia Project | Reviews | Where to Buy

While playing hooky from a conference in Boston a few years back, three former colleagues from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management hopped in a car and headed on a road trip. They pulled into a shoe store in Maine and noticed that the sales help was unusually pushy. After a few questions, they discovered the store had a “secret shopper” program, in which employees would be marked down if they were not sufficiently aggressive with customers. A lightbulb went off.

Instead of teaching the tried-and-true case studies involving GE and Microsoft, these three wise men decided to pull their heads out of their ivory towers and go in search of insights about product differentiation, pricing, brand management, building a team, and a host of other topics. Why take your cues on employee compensation from Wall Street when you can learn from a Main Street company like Couer D’Alene’s best crime-scene cleaner? Want to learn about scaling a business? Come meet Dr. Burris, the flying orthodontist, who operates multiple, profitable practices in rural Arkansas.

Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned from Online Dating

Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned from Online Dating​

by Paul Oyer. Harvard Business Review Press, 2014
Publisher | Amazon

After more than twenty years, economist Paul Oyer found himself back on the dating scene—but what a difference a few years made. Dating was now dominated by sites like Match.com, eHarmony, and OkCupid. But Oyer had a secret weapon: economics.

It turns out that dating sites are no different than the markets Oyer had spent a lifetime studying. Monster.com, eBay, and other sites where individuals come together to find a match gave Oyer startling insight into the modern dating scene. The arcane language of economics—search, signaling, adverse selection, cheap talk, statistical discrimination, thick markets, and network externalities—provides a useful guide to finding a mate. Using the ideas that are central to how markets and economics and dating work, Oyer shows how you can apply these ideas to take advantage of the economics in everyday life, all around you, all the time.