Stanford University Scholar Named Chief Economist for the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Justice Department

Susan Athey, the Economics of Technology Endowed Professor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, has been named chief economist at the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice. While serving in the federal government, Professor Athey will remain a member of the faculty on a part-time basis. She will step down as associate director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence.

Professor Athey is a 1991 graduate of Duke University, where she was a triple-major in economics, mathematics, and computer science. After earning her Ph.D at Stanford, she went on to become a professor of economics and business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. From 2008 to 2013, Dr. Athey was chief economist for Microsoft Inc. She then joined the faculty at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2013.

In her new job as chief economist of the antitrust division at the DOJ, Dr. Athey will be trying her hand at addressing the problems of the digital economy from the top down. “Government laws and policies affect everything from how competition works to what mergers go through, to what investments people make,” Dr. Athey says.

Professor Athey hopes to help governments adapt to an era of rapidly changing technology, particularly around the use of data in industry and in government. “Because technology such as artificial intelligence moves so quickly, it’s hard for the government to keep up,” she says. “We have to figure out how all branches of government are going to be prepared to guide us through a different age.”

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