Justin M. Rao

I am a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research. A member of our MSR New York City, an interdisciplinary research lab combining social science with computational and theoretical methods, I am currently located at company HQ in Redmond, WA. I completed my Ph.D. in economics in 2010 at UC San Diego. Before that I was younger.

Contact Information

Justin M. Rao (CV)
Microsoft Research
first.last at microsoft.com

Areas of Research

E-commerce and Digital Advertising

Competition and Crowd-out for Brand Keywords in Sponsored Search with Andrey Simonov and Chris Nosko.

The Unfavorable Economics of Measuring the Returns to Adverising. joint with Randall A. Lewis.
Forthcoming at the Quarterly Journal of Economics (formerly titled "On the Near-impossibility of Measuring the Returns to Advertising").
Press coverage Mashable, OvercomingBias, Clickz

Experiments as Instruments: Heterogeneous position effects in sponsored search auctions with Matt Goldman

Do Not Track and Economics of Third-party Advertising. with Ceren Budak (currently on the 2015 job market), Sharad Goel and Giorgos Zervas.

Measuring the Effects of Advertising: The Digital Frontier. joint with Randall Lewis and David Reiley. Forthcoming U. Chicago Press. Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy Also NBER Working Paper 19520 . Working paper version available at SSRN .

Whole page optimization: How page elements interact with the position auction. with Pavel Metrikov, Fernando Diaz and Sebastien Lahaie.
Proceedings of the ACM Economics and Computation Conference, 2014

The Economics of Spam (with David Reiley). Journal of Economic Perspectives Volume 26, No. 3, Summer 2012
Press coverage The Atlantic, The New Statesman, Wall Street Journal, American Public Media (Radio broadcast), Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Gizmodo

Here, There and Everywhere: Correlated Online Behaviors Can Lead to Overestimates of the Effects of Advertising with Randall Lewis and David Reiley. (local copy) Proceedings of World Wide Web Conference 2011 Research Papers
Press coverage The Economist,

Media Economics

Ideological Segregation and the Effects of Social Media on News Consumption. joint with Seth Flaxman (CMU) and Sharad Goel (Stanford).

Fair and Balanced? Quantifying Media Bias through Crowdsourced Content Analysis. joint with Ceren Budak and Sharad Goel.

Behavioral Economics and Decision Making

Expertise in the Field Fades in the Lab: joint with Etan Green and David Rothschild

Avoiding the Ask: A Field Experiment on Altruism, Empathy and Charitable Giving: joint with James Andreoni and Hannah Trachtman. NBER Working Paper 17648 Video available under Talk Videos.
Currently under invited revision for the Journal of Political Economy
Press coverage New York Times Magazine

Fair weather avoidance: unpacking the costs and benefits of "Avoiding the Ask" with Hannah Trachtman, Andrew Steinkruger, Mackenzie Wood, Adam Wooster, James Andreoni and James J. Murphy
Journal of the Economic Science Association , 2015.
Working paper version available for download at NBER

Signaling Smarts? Revealed preferences for self and social perceptions of intelligence. with Clay McManus
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization , 2015.
Working paper version available for download at SSRN

Loss Aversion Around a Fixed Reference Point in Highly Experienced Agents. with Matt Goldman.
Press Coverage ESPN whiteboard animation

Precinct or Prejudice? Understanding Racial Disparities in New York City's Stop-and-Frisk Policy. with Sharad Goel and Ravi Shroff.

The Economics of Faith: Using an Apocalyptic Prophecy to Elicit Religious Beliefs in the Field : with Ned Augenblick, Jesse Cunha and Ernesto Dal Bo. NBER Working Paper 18641 Slides available here

Optimal Stopping in the NBA: An Empirical Model of the Miami Heat . Joint with Matt Goldman

The Good News-Bad News Effect: Asymmetric Processing of Objective Information about Yourself (local copy) with David Eil AEJ Microeconomics July 2011

The Power of Asking: How Communication Affects Selfishness, Empathy and Altruism (joint with James Andreoni Journal of Public Economics. June 2011 (local copy)
Press Coverage: Freakonomics, Vox, Wall Street Journal

Assorted Topics

The Impact of Spam Exposure on User Behavior (joint with Anirban Dasgupta, Kunal Punera and Xuanhui Wang) Proceedings of USENIX Security Conference 2012

Effort vs. Concentration: The Asymmetric Impact of Pressure on NBA Performance (joint with Matt Goldman ) Proceedings of MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference 2012 Video available under Talk Videos
Press Coverage Wall Street Journal (Weekend Edition 3/17/2012), Business Week, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine (Paper awared "ESPN Fan Choice" for best paper in the conference), Co-hosted ESPN "NBA Today" Podcast

Using Gaze Patterns to Measure and Detect Distraction-induced Struggles While Reading (local copy) (joint with Vidhya Navalpakkam and Malcolm Slaney) Proceedings of SIGCHI Conference 2011 Extended Abstracts

Allocative and Dynamic Efficiency in NBA Decision Making (local copy) (joint with Matt Goldman) Proceedings of MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference 2011 This is a preliminary version of ``Optimal Stopping in the NBA".
Press Coverage: Wall Street Journal , ESPN>.com, Slate

Experts' Perceptions of Autocorrelation: The Hot Hand Fallacy Among Professional Basketball Players