Amazon has recruited a number of economists in recent years, and this is only part of the work of these economists. Amazon's retail and cloud computing businesses are opening to the outside world, and in the process, Amazon is overturning the traditional role of economists within the company and across the economy.
In the past few years, Amazon has hired more than 150 economists with Ph.D. degrees, probably the largest employer in the field, second only to the Fed. Amazon is also the only company that set up a recruitment point at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association in January this year.
Unlike traditional chief economists, Amazon's economists are doing very different jobs. Their work is almost completely confidential and a confidentiality agreement must be signed. However, based on background interviews and Amazon's own situation, the work of integrated economists is critical to Amazon's phenomenal growth in e-commerce.
Amazon's economists are involved in making real estate decisions, setting minimum product prices that can generate profits, accurately determining what users care about, and whether advertising is effective. All of this leverages machine learning algorithms to automate large-scale decisions. Because smaller companies are unable to support such assets, this also allows Amazon to continue to expand its lead.