25 May 2018

2017/18 Rybczynksi Prize Essay

Big Data is changing how consumer markets work

James Plunkett

From the way prices are set to the way customers are acquired, consumer markets are entering a new and unfamiliar phase.

How should the state interact with consumer markets? When, how and on what basis, should the government intervene? These are some of the oldest questions in modern economics and they are becoming relevant again. Big data and new analytic methods are changing important aspects of the market economy, from the way prices are set to the way customers are acquired and retained. In time, this will require new approaches to economic regulation and policymaking.