Richeng Piao, Ph.D.: Economist, Data Scientist, and AI Researcher

In my role as an economist and data scientist, my research journey is an ongoing exploration of the complex interplay between technological advancements and economic dynamics. My academic foundation, combined with a deep engagement in data science, provides a unique lens through which I examine the digital economy.

Core Research Focus:

  1. Advanced Empirical Economic Models:
    • My expertise lies in demand estimation and market simulations within various sectors, particularly focusing on how technological advancements alter consumer behavior and market structures.
  2. AI’s Role in Industrial Organization:
    • A central theme of my research is the exploration of AI in the context of antitrust and market regulation. This includes studying the transformative effects of AI on pricing mechanisms and the resultant market shifts.
  3. In-Depth Study of Airbnb’s Pricing Tool:
    • My current project involves a sophisticated analysis of Airbnb’s “Smart Pricing Tool.” Utilizing machine learning to cluster host characteristics from 2022 data, I aim to predict usage patterns of this tool. The subsequent phase employs fuzzy RDD and instrumental variables on 2023 data to delineate the tool’s causal effects on market dynamics.
  4. Consumer Identity and Demographic Analysis:
    • Moving forward, my research will leverage machine learning to extract demographic insights from consumer reviews, particularly in the context of Airbnb. This innovative approach aims to refine the BLP demand estimation models by incorporating nuanced demographic variations.
  5. Development and Analysis of AI Pricing Agents:
    • A future endeavor is the creation and study of sophisticated AI pricing agents. This research will explore how these agents operate in competitive markets, with a focus on enhancing market simulation accuracy and understanding new competitive dynamics.

Methodological Approach and Tools:

My methodological approach blends traditional economic analysis with modern data science techniques. Proficient in Python, R, and Stata, I employ these tools for data modeling, econometric analysis, and predictive analytics. My approach is characterized by a relentless pursuit of data-driven insights and a commitment to empirical rigor.

Vision and Contribution:

My vision is to foster a deeper understanding of the digital economy, providing insights that are invaluable for policymakers, businesses, and academia. Through my research, I aim to contribute to the body of knowledge on how technology, especially AI, is reshaping economic landscapes. This involves not just addressing current economic phenomena but also anticipating future trends and challenges in the rapidly evolving digital world.