Econ Meets CS via Microsoft Senior Researcher Glen Weyl

Wednesday, August 17, 2016
E. Glen Weyl, Microsoft Senior Researcher

Microsoft Senior Researcher and Visiting Research Scholar E. Glen Weyl will teach a new course this academic year called Designing the Digital Economy geared towards both economics and computer science students. The unique course will be the first of its kind offered at any university.  Weyl will instruct students how to combine economics and computer science skills for designing digital market places like Amazon, Uber and Microsoft’s online advertising platform. 

“As the digital economy spreads,” Weyl said, “students are increasingly aspiring to analyze, work in or even find marketplaces that take advantage of technology to make possible new types of transactions.  But to do so, students need to combine skills few disciplinary majors offer.  In this course I hope to encourage students to collaborate across fields to make a real impact on this growing area.”

Such interdisciplinary collaborations have been a hallmark of Weyl’s research, and not just with computer science.  His research has combined ideas from statistics, physics, biology, sociology and philosophy to harness emerging technologies to find practical solutions to fundamental economic problems. He has repeatedly worked to translate his economic ideas into practical policy proposals like a new system of voting and a replacement for private property in the age of sharing. In the spirit of partnership, most of his practical engagements in recent years have been in collaboration with co-author and University of Chicago Law Professor, Eric Posner.   

Weyl will be a visiting senior research scholar and lecturer in both the Department of Economics and the Yale Law School this academic year. Before joining Microsoft, Weyl was an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago Economics Department and Law School, where he was named an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow.  He will bring his Sloan Fellowship to Yale to collaborate with Yale students on a range of projects about how to expand the scope of markets to address the pressing social problems of inequality, immigration and the disruptions created by technology.  While most of his high school friends studied at Yale, Weyl instead attended rival Princeton, where he graduated as Valedictorian in 2007 before receiving his PhD in economics in 2008.  

For more information on Weyl’s course (Econ 421a), visit the Economics Course Descriptions page.

Note: An article about Weyl and other tech economists appeared in the September 3, 2016 edition of the New York Times.