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Working papers
ESMT Working Paper
ESMT Working Paper No. 20-03 (R2)
Forthcoming in Management Science.
Francis de Véricourt, Huseyin Gurkan, Shouqiang Wang (2021)
Subject(s)
Health and environment; Information technology and systems
Keyword(s)
Public health, epidemic control, information design, strategic behavior
This paper explores how governments may efficiently inform the public about an epidemic to induce compliance with their confinement measures. Using an information design framework, we find the government has an incentive to either downplay or exaggerate the severity of the epidemic if it heavily prioritizes the economy over population health or vice versa. Importantly, we find that the level of economic inequality in the population has an effect on these distortions. The more unequal the disease's economic impact on the population is, the less the government exaggerates and the more it downplays the severity of the epidemic. When the government weighs the economy and population health sufficiently equally, however, the government should always be fully transparent about the severity of the epidemic.


Pages
41
ISSN (Print)
1866–3494
Subject(s)
Management sciences, decision sciences and quantitative methods; Product and operations management; Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s)
Data, machine learning, data product, pricing, incentives, contracting
This paper explores how firms that lack expertise in machine learning (ML) can leverage the so-called AI Flywheel effect. This effect designates a virtuous cycle by which, as an ML product is adopted and new user data are fed back to the algorithm, the product improves, enabling further adoptions. However, managing this feedback loop is difficult, especially when the algorithm is contracted out. Indeed, the additional data that the AI Flywheel effect generates may change the provider's incentives to improve the algorithm over time. We formalize this problem in a simple two-period moral hazard framework that captures the main dynamics between machine learning, data acquisition, pricing, and contracting. We find that the firm's decisions crucially depend on how the amount of data on which the machine is trained interacts with the provider's effort. If this effort has a more (resp. less) significant impact on accuracy for larger volumes of data, the firm underprices (resp. overprices) the product. Interestingly, these distortions sometimes improve social welfare, which accounts for the customer surplus and profits of both the firm and provider. Further, the interaction between incentive issues and the positive externalities of the AI Flywheel effect have important implications for the firm's data collection strategy. In particular, the firm can boost its profit by increasing the product's capacity to acquire usage data only up to a certain level. If the product collects too much data per user, the firm's profit may actually decrease. As a result, the firm should consider reducing its product's data acquisition capacity when its initial dataset to train the algorithm is large enough.
Pages
48
ISSN (Print)
1866–3494