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About Joshua Gans
At Rotman, he teaches MBA and Commerce students Network and Digital Market Strategy. He has also co-authored (with Stephen King and Robin Stonecash) the Australasian edition of Greg Mankiw's Principles of Economics (published by Cengage), Core Economics for Managers (Cengage), Finishing the Job (MUP) and Parentonomics (New South/MIT Press).
While Joshua's research interests are varied he has developed specialities in the nature of technological competition and innovation, economic growth, publishing economics, industrial organisation and regulatory economics. This has culminated in publications in the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, RAND Journal of Economics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Public Economics, and the Journal of Regulatory Economics. Joshua serves as an associate editor of Management Science and the Journal of Industrial Economics and is on the editorial boards of the BE Journals of Economic Analysis and Policy, Economic Analysis and Policy, Games and the Review of Network Economics. In 2007, Joshua was awarded the Economic Society of Australia's Young Economist Award. In 2008, Joshua was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, Australia. Details of his research activities can be found here.
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A guide to the pandemic economy: essential reading about the long-term implications of our current crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a firehose of information (much of it wrong) and an avalanche of opinions (many of them ill-founded). Most of us are so distracted by the everyday awfulness that we don't see the broader issues in play. In this book, economist Joshua Gans steps back from the short-term chaos to take a clear and systematic look at how economic choices are being made in response to COVID-19. He shows that containing the virus and pausing the economy—without letting businesses fail and people lose their jobs—are the necessary first steps.
Gans outlines the phases of the pandemic economy, from containment to reset to recovery and enhancement. Warning against thinking in terms of a “tradeoff” between public health and economic health, Gans explains that containment gives us the opportunity to develop effective testing that will make it safe for people to interact. Once the virus is contained, we will need to pivot toward innovating, and, finally, we will come together to plan how to protect ourselves from future pandemics. He looks at policy tools that might aid an economic recovery, distinguishing between economic losses during a pandemic and a recession.
Gans lays out the economic choices accessibly but with urgency, leaving politics out of it. Economics in the Age of COVID-19 is essential reading for anyone interested in the long-term implications of our current crisis.
"What does AI mean for your business? Read this book to find out." -- Hal Varian, Chief Economist, Google
Artificial intelligence does the seemingly impossible, magically bringing machines to life--driving cars, trading stocks, and teaching children. But facing the sea change that AI will bring can be paralyzing. How should companies set strategies, governments design policies, and people plan their lives for a world so different from what we know? In the face of such uncertainty, many analysts either cower in fear or predict an impossibly sunny future.
But in Prediction Machines, three eminent economists recast the rise of AI as a drop in the cost of prediction. With this single, masterful stroke, they lift the curtain on the AI-is-magic hype and show how basic tools from economics provide clarity about the AI revolution and a basis for action by CEOs, managers, policy makers, investors, and entrepreneurs.
When AI is framed as cheap prediction, its extraordinary potential becomes clear:
- Prediction is at the heart of making decisions under uncertainty. Our businesses and personal lives are riddled with such decisions.
- Prediction tools increase productivity--operating machines, handling documents, communicating with customers.
- Uncertainty constrains strategy. Better prediction creates opportunities for new business structures and strategies to compete.
Penetrating, fun, and always insightful and practical, Prediction Machines follows its inescapable logic to explain how to navigate the changes on the horizon. The impact of AI will be profound, but the economic framework for understanding it is surprisingly simple.
An expert in management takes on the conventional wisdom about disruption, looking at companies that proved resilient and offering managers tools for survival.
“Disruption” is a business buzzword that has gotten out of control. Today everything and everyone seem to be characterized as disruptive—or, if they aren't disruptive yet, it's only a matter of time before they become so. In this book, Joshua Gans cuts through the chatter to focus on disruption in its initial use as a business term, identifying new ways to understand it and suggesting new tools to manage it.
Almost twenty years ago Clayton Christensen popularized the term in his book The Innovator's Dilemma, writing of disruption as a set of risks that established firms face. Since then, few have closely examined his account. Gans does so in this book. He looks at companies that have proven resilient and those that have fallen, and explains why some companies have successfully managed disruption—Fujifilm and Canon, for example—and why some like Blockbuster and Encyclopedia Britannica have not. Departing from the conventional wisdom, Gans identifies two kinds of disruption: demand-side, when successful firms focus on their main customers and underestimate market entrants with innovations that target niche demands; and supply-side, when firms focused on developing existing competencies become incapable of developing new ones.
Gans describes the full range of actions business leaders can take to deal with each type of disruption, from “self-disrupting” independent internal units to tightly integrated product development. But therein lies the disruption dilemma: A firm cannot practice both independence and integration at once. Gans shows business leaders how to choose their strategy so their firms can deal with disruption while continuing to innovate.
How to get more innovation and more equality.
Is economic inequality the price we pay for innovation? The amazing technological advances of the last two decades—in such areas as artificial intelligence, genetics, and materials—have benefited society collectively and rewarded innovators handsomely: we get cool smartphones and technology moguls become billionaires. This contributes to a growing wealth gap; in the United States; the wealth controlled by the top 0.1 percent of households equals that of the bottom ninety percent. Is this the inevitable cost of an innovation-driven economy? Economist Joshua Gans and policy maker Andrew Leigh make the case that pursuing innovation does not mean giving up on equality—precisely the opposite. In this book, they outline ways that society can become both more entrepreneurial and more egalitarian.
All innovation entails uncertainty; there's no way to predict which new technologies will catch on. Therefore, Gans and Leigh argue, rather than betting on the future of particular professions, we should consider policies that embrace uncertainty and protect people from unfavorable outcomes. To this end, they suggest policies that promote both innovation and equality. If we encourage innovation in the right way, our future can look more like the cheerful techno-utopia of Star Trek than the dark techno-dystopia of TheTerminator.
What every parent needs to know about negotiating, incentives, outsourcing, and other strategies to solve the economic management problem that is parenting.
Like any new parent, Joshua Gans felt joy mixed with anxiety upon the birth of his first child. Who was this blanket-swaddled small person and what did she want? Unlike most parents, however, Gans is an economist, and he began to apply the tools of his trade to raising his children. He saw his new life as one big economic management problem—and if economics helped him think about parenting, parenting illuminated certain economic principles. Parentonomics is the entertaining, enlightening, and often hilarious fruit of his “research.”
Incentives, Gans shows us, are as risky in parenting as in business. An older sister who is recruited to help toilet train her younger brother for a share in the reward given for each successful visit to the bathroom, for example, could give the trainee drinks of water to make the rewards more frequent. (Economics later offered another, better toilet training solution: outsourcing. For their third child, Gans and his wife put it in the hands of professionals—the day care providers.) Gans gives us the parentonomic view of delivery (if the mother shares her pain by yelling at the father, doesn't it really create more aggregate pain?), sleep (the screams of a baby are like an offer: “I'll stop screaming if you give me attention”), food (a question of marketing), travel (“the best thing you can say about traveling with children is that they are worse than baggage”), punishment (and threat credibility), birthday party time management, and more.
Parents: if you're reading Parentonomics in the presence of other people, you'll be unable to keep yourself from reading the funny parts out loud. And if you're reading it late at night and wake a child with your laughter—well, you'll have some guidelines for negotiating a return to bed.
The book outlines ways of changing our housing policies to increase affordability, our health insurance system for greater efficiency, our education system to provide more resources and our transportation system to alleviate environmental costs.
Whether big or small, companies incessantly face challenges that can threaten their bottom line and even their survival. These threats keep corporate leaders up at night. What can companies do to stay alive?
Survive and Thrive: Winning Against Strategic Threats to Your Business features a collection of essays by strategy professors at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, Canada's #1 business school. The essays take the reader on a tour through some of the most vexing threats to business today, threats that put the very existence of organizations into question. From disruptive innovation, to social media disasters, to mistaken technical investments, to gender discrimination, to misunderstood competition, companies need to be able to anticipate crises and prepare to deal with them head on. Across this collection of essays, readers will get warnings about four mistakes that companies commonly make - failing to appreciate interactions within systems, getting stuck in existing ways of doing business, falling victim to cognitive biases, and getting derailed by short-term incentives.
But, Survive and Thrive isn't just about mistakes. Its primary goal is to provide step-by-step actions to help companies stay alive. Executives will find principles and practices for anticipating potential threats and creating responses that permit their businesses to not only survive but thrive.
Editor Joshua S. Gans is a professor of Strategic Management and holds the Jeffrey S. Skoll Chair of Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Rotman School of Management. He is also chief economist of the University of Toronto's Creative Destruction Lab. Gans wrote The Disruption Dilemma, Information Wants to be Shared, and several other books.
Editor Sarah Kaplan, Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the Rotman School of Management, is also Distinguished Professor of Gender and the Economy and a professor of Strategic Management at Rotman. She co-wrote the business bestseller Creative Destruction.
The book provides an economic treatment and concludes that the only way to have a long lasting sustainable means of diminishing publisher market power is to unlock the knowledge from within journals rather than open access to the journals themselves.
If you want an overview of the long-lasting debates in this area with a clear presentation of economic evidence and findings and some thought-provoking ideas, this is book is for you.
Information is much more complicated than that. What information really wants—what makes it more valuable, useful, and immediate, Joshua Gans argues—is to be shared.
Using the tools and logic of information economics, Gans shows how sharing enhances most information’s value. He also shows how the business models of traditional media companies, gatekeepers who have relied on scarcity and control, have collapsed in the face of new technologies. Equally important, he argues that sharing can revive moribund, threatened industries even as he examines platforms that have, almost accidentally, thrived in this new environment.
Provocative, intriguing, and useful, Information Wants to Be Shared will change the way you think about your ideas and the media you use to consume and produce them.
HBR Singles provide brief yet potent business ideas, in digital form, for today's thinking professional.
The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a firehose of information (much of it wrong) and an avalanche of opinions (many of them ill-founded). Most of us are so distracted by the everyday awfulness that we don't see the broader issues in play. In this book, economist Joshua Gans steps back from the short-term chaos to take a clear and systematic look at how economic choices are being made in response to COVID-19. He shows that containing the virus and pausing the economy--without letting businesses fail and people lose their jobs--are the necessary first steps.