Contact Information:

H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management
Tepper School of Business
Carnegie Mellon University
4800 Forbes Avenue, HBH 3028
Pittsburgh PA, 15213
Voice: 412-268-5978
Fax: 412-268-5338
Office: Hamburg Hall 3028
Assistant: Gretchen Hunter (Hamburg Hall 3007,


  • January-15: My paper with Uttara Ananthakrishnan and Beibei Li was accepted at the Winter Conference on Business Intelligence. The paper analyzes fraudulent reviews online and discusses how review portals can detect fraudulent reviews and whether they should censor such reviews or display them with a notation that they are potentially fraudulent.

  • January-15: My paper with Seth Stephens-Davidowitz and Hal Varian was presented at the AEA meetings. The paper uses a natural experiment involving which teams quality for the Super Bowl, to study the causal impact of movie advertisements on box office sales. The experiment relies on the fact that viewership is higher in cities of teams that quality for the Super Bowl and that the qualifying teams aren’t known at the time studios purchase their advertisements. Our estimates suggest that movies in our sample experience an $8.4 million increase in ticket sales from a $3 million Super Bowl advertisement.

  • December-14: I was interviewed on NPR about the Sony hack. If you are interested, click on Listen to this episode. My piece starts around 6 minutes into the show.

  • December-14: My paper with Anuj Kumar and Rahul Telang titled “Information Discovery and the Long Tail of Motion Picture Content” appeared in the December issue of MIS Quarterly. The paper empirically shows that information discovery in pay cable broadcast windows allows consumers to discovery movies they didn’t discover in the theatrical window and shifts consumption toward “long tail” titles and away from blockbusters.

  • November-14: My paper with Jing Gong and Rahul Telang was accepted for publication at the Journal of Retailing. The paper analyzes cross-channel effects between movie sales and movie rentals on iTunes.

  • September-14: My paper with Liye Ma, Alan Montgomery, and Param Vir Singh titled “The Effect of Pre-Release Movie Piracy on Box Office Revenue” appeared in the September issue of Information Systems Research. The paper analyzes the impact of piracy on box office revenue, finding that pre-release movie piracy reduces box office revenue by 19% relative to piracy that is delayed until after release.

  • September-14: Liron Sivan, Rahul Telang, and I have a new paper analyzing whether making infringing content less prominent in search results has an impact on consumers’ decisions to consume legal versus infringing content. We have a blog entry about the paper at the Technology Policy Institute’s blog site, but the basic finding is that consumers are surprisingly sensitive to the prominence of legal versus infringing content: When legal content is displayed more prominently, consumers are more likely to purchase through legal channels than they otherwise would be; and when infringing content is displayed more prominently, consumers are more likely to consume infringing content than they otherwise would be.

  • September-14: My paper with Brett Danaher, Rahul Telang, and Siwen Chen analyzing the impact of the HADOPI law in France was published in this month’s Journal of Industrial Economics. In the paper we show that the HADOPI law caused a 20-25% increase in digital music sales in France relative to a set of other European control group countries, but that the increase in sales is temporally associated with the education surrounding the law as opposed to the enactment or enforcement of the law.

  • August-14: I moderated a panel at the Technology Policy Institute’s Aspen Forum on “Copyright Protection: Government vs. Voluntary Arrangements.” The video of the panel is available here.

  • August-14: An article in today’s Wall Street Journal mentions research my colleagues and I did on pre-release piracy. The original research paper is here. It is forthcoming in the peer-reviewed journal Information Systems Research.

  • June-14: My co-authors and I updated our paper titled “The Impact of Popularity on Sales of Movies in Video-on-Demand: a Randomized Experiment.” This paper analyzes how “likes” affect movie sales by conducting an experiment with a major cable company’s Video-On-Demand service to manipulate the number of likes shown to consumers. We find that search costs, rank and number of likes are significant determinants of sales. For search costs, our experiments show that movies sell 3 times more on average when they are shown on the first screen of the VOD system than when the same movie is shown in lower screens.

  • May-14: I participated in a panel sponsored by the Technology Policy Institute on “The Evolving Media Landscape: What do the Data Show?”

  • April-14: I participated in a panel sponsored by Congressmen Bob Goodlatte and Adam Schiff on “Education, Enforcement, and the Economics of Piracy and Counterfeiting.”

  • March-14: Our Megaupload paper appeared in the March issue of the International Journal of Industrial Organization. The paper shows that shutting down Megaupload caused an increase in digital movie sales of between 6.5-8.5% over the 18 weeks following the shutdown in the 12 countries in our dataset. Our placebo tests also show that the effect of the shutdown was not characteristic of the January timeframe, supporting a causal interpretation of our results.

  • February-14: Rahul Telang and I were awarded a Google Faculty Research Award for a project titled “Promoting Movies in Digital Channels: Impact of Targeted Movie Promotion on Sales and Piracy in Digital Movie Markets.”