Erik Brynjolfsson

Erik Brynjolfsson (born 1962) is an American academic, author and inventor. He is the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Professor and a Senior Fellow [1] at Stanford University where he directs the Digital Economy Lab at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI, with appointments at SIEPR,[2] the Stanford Department of Economics and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a best-selling author of several books. He is known for his contributions to the world of IT productivity research and work on the economics of information and the digital economy more generally.

Erik Brynjolfsson
Erik Brynjolfsson at MIT Sloan CIO Symposium 2013 (cropped).jpg
At the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium 2013
Born1962 (age 58–59)
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materHarvard
Known forProductivity paradox
The Long Tail
Bundling of Information Goods
AwardsJohn D.C. Little Award for Best Paper in Marketing Science
Scientific career
FieldsInformation Systems
Technological Change
InstitutionsStanford University
Notable studentsShuman Ghosemajumder
Lorin Hitt
Yu (Jeffrey) Hu
Michael D. Smith
Marshall Van Alstyne
Xiaoquan (Michael) Zhang


Erik Brynjolfsson was born to Marguerite Reman Brynjolfsson and Ari Brynjolfsson, a nuclear physicist. He earned his A.B., magna cum laude, in 1984 and his S.M. in Applied Mathematics and Decision Sciences at Harvard University in 1984. He received a Ph.D. in Managerial Economics in 1991 from the MIT Sloan School of Management.[3]

Brynjolfsson served on the faculty of MIT from 1986 to 2020, where he was a Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy,[4] and Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business. Previously, he was at Harvard from 1985 to 1995 and Stanford from 1996 to 1998. In 2001 he was appointed the Schussel Family Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He lectures and consults worldwide, and serves on corporate boards. He taught the popular course 15.567, The Economics of Information: Strategy, Structure, and Pricing, at MIT [5] and hosts a related blog, Economics of Information. He was also a contributing member to the Winter, 2004 Boston Ski and Sports Club (BSSC) Championship flag football team. In February 2020, Stanford announced that Brynjolfsson would join its faculty in July. [6]

His research has been recognized with nine "best paper" awards by fellow academics, including the John DC Little Award for the best paper in Marketing Science.[7] Brynjolfsson is the founder of two companies and has been awarded five U.S. patents. Along with Andrew McAfee, he was awarded the top prize in the Digital Thinkers category at the Thinkers 50 Gala on November 9, 2015.[8]

Brynjolfsson is of Icelandic descent.[9]


Brynjolfsson's is one of the most widely cited scholars studying the economics of information systems.[10] He was among the first researchers to measure productivity contributions of IT and the complementary role of organizational capital and other intangibles. Brynjolfsson has done research on digital commerce, the Long Tail , bundling and pricing models, intangible assets and the effects of IT on business strategy, productivity and performance. [11]

More recently, in his books The Second Machine Age and Race Against the Machine, Brynjolfsson and his co-author Andrew McAfee have argued that technology is racing ahead, and called for greater efforts to update our skills, organizations and institutions more rapidly. [12]

Information technology and productivityEdit

Brynjolfsson wrote an influential review of the "IT Productivity Paradox" [13] and in separate research, documented a correlation between IT investment and productivity. His work provides evidence that the use of Information Technology is most likely to increase productivity when it is combined with complementary business processes and human capital.[14]

Selected publicationsEdit

AI, machine learning and the economyEdit

Measuring the digital economyEdit

Computers, productivity and organizational capitalEdit

  • McAfee, Andrew and Brynjolfsson, Erik (June, 2017) Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing the Digital Revolution, W.W. Norton & Company, ISBN 978-0-393-25429-7
  • Brynjolfsson, Erik and McAfee, Andrew (January, 2014) The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, W.W. Norton & Company, ISBN 978-0-393-23935-5
  • Brynjolfsson, Erik and McAfee, Andrew (October 2011) Race Against The Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy. Digital Frontier Press. ISBN 0-9847251-1-3
  • Brynjolfsson, Erik and Saunders, Adam (October 2009) Wired for Innovation: How Information Technology is Reshaping the Economy. The MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-01366-5
  • Wu, Lynn and Brynjolfsson, Erik (August 2013) "The Future of Prediction: How Google Searches Foreshadow Housing Prices and Sales". NBER Conference Technological Progress & Productivity Measurement, 2009; WISE, 2009; ICIS, 2009.
  • Brynjolfsson, Erik and Hitt, Lorin (June 2003) "Computing Productivity: Firm-level Evidence,Review of Economics and Statistics.
  • Brynjolfsson, Erik and Hitt, Lorin (Fall 2000) "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 23–48.
  • Bresnahan, Timothy, Brynjolfsson, Erik and Hitt, Lorin (February, 2002) "Information Technology, Workplace Organization and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm Level Evidence" Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 117, pp. 339–376.
  • Brynjolfsson, Erik, Hitt, Lorin and Yang, Shinkyu (2002)"Intangible Assets: Computers and Organizational Capital", Brookings Papers on Economic Activity: Macroeconomics, 137–199.

Bundling and pricing of information goodsEdit

  • Bakos, Yannis and Brynjolfsson, Erik (December, 1999) "Bundling Information Goods: Pricing, Profits and Efficiency", Management Science, Vol. 45, No. 12, pp. 1613–1630.
  • Bakos, Yannis and Brynjolfsson, Erik (January, 2000) "Bundling and Competition on the Internet", Marketing Science, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 63–82.

Internet commerce and the long tailEdit

  • Brynjolfsson, Erik, Smith, Michael and Hu, Yu (November, 2003) "Consumer Surplus in the Digital Economy: Estimating the Value of Increased Product Variety at Online Booksellers," Management Science, Vol 49, No. 11.
  • Brynjolfsson, Erik, Hu, Yu and Rahman, Mohammad (November, 2009) "Battle of the Retail Channels: How Product Selection and Geography Drive Cross-channel Competition", Management Science, Vol. 55, No. 11.
  • Brynjolfsson, Erik, Hu, Yu and Simester, Dunan (2006) "Goodbye Pareto Principle, Hello Long Tail: The Effect of Search Costs on the Concentration of Product Sales"


  1. ^ "Report of the Stanford University President". Stanford. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  2. ^ See
  3. ^ Curriculum Vitae Erik Brynjolfsson Archived March 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine February, 2010.
  4. ^ "MIT Sloan CIO Symposium: Erik Brynjolfsson". MIT Sloan CIO Symposium. May 18, 2015. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
  5. ^ "The Economics of Information: Strategy, Structure and Pricing | Sloan School of Management | MIT OpenCourseWare". Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  6. ^ University, © Stanford; Stanford; California 94305 (February 24, 2020). "Erik Brynjolfsson to Join Stanford Faculty". Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. Retrieved March 2, 2020.
  7. ^ "Erik Brynjolfsson". INFORMS. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  8. ^ "Thinkers 50". Thinkers 50. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  9. ^ "SÍMTALIР... ER VIÐ ERIK BRYNJÓLFSSON Tölvuvæðing og framleiðni". Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  10. ^ "Google Scholars in Economics of Information systems". Google Scholar. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  11. ^ "SIEPR Profile of Erik Brynjolfsson". Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  12. ^ "Washington Post Review of The Second Machine Age". Washington Post. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  13. ^ "Productivity Paradox". Communications of the ACM. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  14. ^ "IT and Workplace Organization". Quarterly Journal of Economics. Retrieved July 4, 2021.

External linksEdit