Infoecon: fwd:AI-Seminar:Buying, Renting and Selling Information Goods

Rohit Khare (
Wed, 30 Jul 1997 11:21:46 -0400 (EDT)

[Yes, I know infoecon is Gordon's list, but I feel compelled to crosspost
anything I find about Hal :-]

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SRI AI Seminar Series
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Title: Buying, Renting and Selling Information Goods

Speaker: Hal R. Varian, UC Berkeley,

Information goods such as books, journals, computer software, videos,
etc. can often be copied, shared, or rented. I outline various
circumstances under which such sharing may increase or decrease
producer profits. If a rental market is present, more copies will be
sold at a lower price; I derive conditions that illustrate when this
is more or less profitable than a sales-only market. When content is
viewed only a few times and transactions costs of rental are low,
rental may be more attractive than sales to both producers and
consumers. Finally, when users have heterogeneous tastes, a rental
market provides a nice way to segment high-value and low value
users. These effects tend to suggest that rental markets may often
increase profits, contrary to widespread views to the contrary.

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Date: Thurs., August 7 Time: 4:15-5:30PM Place: EJ228 SRI International
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Hal R. Varian is the Dean of the School of Information Management and
Systems at the University of California at Berkeley. He is also a
Professor in the Haas School of Business, a Professor in the
Department of Economics, and holds the Class of 1944 Professorship.

He received his S.B. degree from MIT in 1969 and his MA (mathematics)
and Ph.D. (economics) from UC Berkeley in 1973. He has taught at MIT,
Stanford, Oxford, Michigan and other universities around the world.

Professor Varian is fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation, the
Econometric Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He
has served as Co-Editor of the American Economic Review and is
currently on the editorial boards of several journals.

Professor Varian has published numerous papers in economic theory,
industrial organization, financial economics, econometrics and
information economics. He is the author of two major economics
textbooks which have been translated into 9 languages. His recent work
has been concerned with the economics of information technology and
the information economy.


Please arrive at least 10 minutes early in order to sign in and be
shown to the conference room. SRI is located at 333 Ravenswood Avenue
in Menlo Park. Visitors may park in the visitors lot in front of
Building A or E, and should sign in at the lobby of Building E and
call 2641 to be escorted to the meeting room. Directions to SRI, as
well as maps, are available online through the WWW at URL .

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