Shane Greenstein

Martin Marshall Professor of Business Administration

Shane Greenstein is the MBA Class of 1957 Professor of Business Administration and co-chair of the HBS Digital Initiative. He teaches in the Technology, Operations and Management Unit. Professor Greenstein is also co-director of the program on the economics of digitization at The National Bureau of Economic Research.

 

Shane Greenstein is the MBA Class of 1957 Professor of Business Administration and co-chair of the HBS Digital Initiative. He teaches in the Technology, Operations and Management Unit. Professor Greenstein is also co-director of the program on the economics of digitization at The National Bureau of Economic Research.

Encompassing a wide array of questions about computing, communication, and Internet markets, Professor Greenstein’s research extends from economic measurement and analysis to broader issues. His most recent book focuses on the development of the commercial Internet in the United States. He also publishes commentary on his blog, Digitopoly, and his work has been covered by media outlets ranging from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to Fast Company and PC World.

Professor Greenstein previously taught at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, and at the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign. He received his PhD from Stanford University in 1989 and his BA from University of California at Berkeley in 1983, both in economics. He continues to receive a daily education in life from his wife and children.

The Commercialization of Internet Infrastructure

  1. Net Neutrality: A Fast Lane to Understanding the Tradeoffs

    Shane Greenstein, Martin Peitz and Tommaso Valletti

    The last decade has seen a strident public debate about the principle of "net neutrality." The economic literature has focused on two definitions of net neutrality. The most basic definition of net neutrality is to prohibit payments from content providers to internet service providers; this situation we refer to as a one-sided pricing model, in contrast with a two-sided pricing model in which such payments are permitted. Net neutrality may also be defined as prohibiting prioritization of traffic, with or without compensation. The research program then is to explore how a net neutrality rule would alter the distribution of rents and the efficiency of outcomes. After describing the features of the modern internet and introducing the key players, (internet service providers, content providers, and customers), we summarize insights from some models of the treatment of internet traffic, framing issues in terms of the positive economic factors at work. Our survey provides little support for the bold and simplistic claims of the most vociferous supporters and detractors of net neutrality. The economic consequences of such policies depend crucially on the precise policy choice and how it is implemented. The consequences further depend on how long-run economic trade-offs play out; for some of them, there is relevant experience in other industries to draw upon, but for others there is no experience and no consensus forecast.

    Keywords: Internet; Policy;

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane, Martin Peitz, and Tommaso Valletti. "Net Neutrality: A Fast Lane to Understanding the Tradeoffs." Journal of Economic Perspectives 30, no. 2 (Spring 2016): 127–150. View Details
  2. How the Internet Became Commercial: Innovation, Privatization, and the Birth of a New Network

    Shane Greenstein

    In less than a decade, the Internet went from being a series of loosely connected networks used by universities and the military to the powerful commercial engine it is today. This book describes how many of the key innovations that made this possible came from entrepreneurs and iconoclasts who were outside the mainstream—and how the commercialization of the Internet was by no means a foregone conclusion at its outset. Shane Greenstein traces the evolution of the Internet from government ownership to privatization to the commercial Internet we know today. This is a story of innovation from the edges. Greenstein shows how mainstream service providers that had traditionally been leaders in the old-market economy became threatened by innovations from industry outsiders who saw economic opportunities where others didn't—and how these mainstream firms had no choice but to innovate themselves. New models were tried: some succeeded, some failed. Commercial markets turned innovations into valuable products and services as the Internet evolved in those markets. New business processes had to be created from scratch as a network originally intended for research and military defense had to deal with network interconnectivity, the needs of commercial users, and a host of challenges with implementing innovative new services.
  3. Issues in Data Caps and Usage-Based Pricing

    Brad Burnham, Shane Greenstein, Neil Hunt, Kevin McElearney, Marc Morial, Dennis Roberson and Charles Slocum

    Citation:

    Burnham, Brad, Shane Greenstein, Neil Hunt, Kevin McElearney, Marc Morial, Dennis Roberson, and Charles Slocum. "Issues in Data Caps and Usage-Based Pricing." Report, U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Open Internet Advisory Committee, Economic Impacts Working Group, May 2013. View Details
  4. Measuring the Broadband Bonus in 20 OECD Countries

    Shane Greenstein and Ryan McDevitt

    This paper provides estimates of the economic value created by broadband Internet using measures of new gross domestic product and consumer surplus. The study finds that the economic value created in 30 OECD countries correlates roughly with the overall size of their broadband economies. In addition, price and quality data from the United States suggest that widespread adoption of broadband Internet has occurred without a dramatic decline in prices, which reflects an unobserved increase in broadband quality that conventional government statistics do not capture.

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane, and Ryan McDevitt. "Measuring the Broadband Bonus in 20 OECD Countries." OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 197, OECD Publishing, April 2012. View Details
  5. Nurturing the Accumulation of Innovations: Lessons from the Internet

    Shane Greenstein

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane. "Nurturing the Accumulation of Innovations: Lessons from the Internet." In Accelerating Energy Innovation: Insights from Multiple Sectors, edited by Rebecca Henderson and Richard G. Newell, 189–224. National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report. University of Chicago Press, 2011. View Details
  6. The Economic Geography of Internet Infrastructure in the United States

    Shane Greenstein

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane. "The Economic Geography of Internet Infrastructure in the United States." Chap. 8 in Handbook of Telecommunications Economics, Volume 2: Technology Evolution and the Internet, edited by Sumit K. Majumdar, Ingo Vogelsang, and Martin Cave, 289–364. Elsevier/North-Holland, 2005. View Details
  7. Determinants of the Regional Distribution of Information Technology Infrastructure in the United States

    Shane Greenstein and Mercedes Lizardo

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane, and Mercedes Lizardo. "Determinants of the Regional Distribution of Information Technology Infrastructure in the United States." In The Electronic Village: Public Policy Issues of the Information Economy, edited by Dale Orr and Thomas Wilson. C.D. Howe Institute, 1999. View Details

The Economics of Digitization

  1. Invention and Agglomeration in the Bay Area: Not Just ICT

    Chris Forman, Avi Goldfarb and Shane Greenstein

    We document that the Bay Area rose from 4% of all successful US patent applications in 1976 to 16% in 2008. This is partly driven by the increase in the prevalence of information and communication technology; however, even for patents unrelated to information and communication technology, we see a disproportionate increase in the share of US patents from the Bay Area. We interpret this growth as a trend to coagglomeration in invention across technologies, and we explore different dimensions of this trend.

    Keywords: Technology; Patents; San Francisco;

    Citation:

    Forman, Chris, Avi Goldfarb, and Shane Greenstein. "Invention and Agglomeration in the Bay Area: Not Just ICT." American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings 106, no. 5 (May 2016): 146–151. View Details
  2. The Reference Wars: Encyclopedia Britannica's Decline and Encarta's Emergence

    Shane Greenstein

    The experience of Encyclopædia Britannica provides the canonical example of the decline of an established firm at the outset of the digital age. Competition from Microsoft’s Encarta in 1993 led to sharp declines in the sales of books, which led to the distressed sale of the firm in 1996. This essay offers new source material about the actions at both Encarta and Britannica, and it offers a novel interpretation of events. Britannica’s management did not misperceive the opportunities and threats, and Britannica did not lack technical prowess. This narrative stresses that Britannica’s management faced organizational diseconomies of scope between supporting lines of business in the old and new markets, which generated internal conflicts. These conflicts hindered the commercialization of new technology and hastened its decline.

    Keywords: digital; Britannica; Software; Books;

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane. "The Reference Wars: Encyclopedia Britannica's Decline and Encarta's Emergence." Strategic Management Journal (forthcoming). View Details
  3. Geographic Implications of the Internet

    Shane Greenstein, Avi Goldfarb and Chris Forman

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane, Avi Goldfarb, and Chris Forman. "Geographic Implications of the Internet." In The New Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography, edited by Gordon Clark, Maryann Feldman, Meric Gertler, and Dariusz Wojcik. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming. View Details
  4. Measuring Consumer Preferences for Video Content Provision via Cord-Cutting Behavior

    Shane Greenstein and Jeff Prince

    The television industry is undergoing a generational shift in structure; however, many demandside determinants are still not well understood. We model how consumers choose video content provision among: over-the-air (OTA), paid subscription to cable or satellite, and online streaming (also known as over-the-top, or OTT). We apply our model to a U.S. dataset encompassing both the digital switchover for OTA and the emergence of OTT, along with a recession, and use it to analyze cord-cutting behavior (i.e., dropping of cable/satellite subscriptions). We find high levels of cord cutting during this time, and evidence that it became relatively more prevalent among low-income and younger households – suggesting this group responded to changes in OTA and streaming options. We find little evidence of households weighing relative content offerings/quality when choosing their means of video provision during the timespan of our data. This last finding has important ramifications for strategic interaction between content providers.

    Keywords: Technology; Service Delivery; Consumer Behavior; Television Entertainment; Service Industry;

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane, and Jeff Prince. "Measuring Consumer Preferences for Video Content Provision via Cord-Cutting Behavior." Journal of Economics & Management Strategy (forthcoming). View Details
  5. Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy

    Avi Goldfarb, Shane Greenstein and Catherine Tucker

    As the cost of storing, sharing, and analyzing data has decreased, economic activity has become increasingly digital. But while the effects of digital technology and improved digital communication have been explored in a variety of contexts, the impact on economic activity—from consumer and entrepreneurial behavior to the ways in which governments determine policy—is less well understood. Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy explores the economic impact of digitization, with each chapter identifying a promising new area of research. The Internet is one of the key drivers of growth in digital communication, and the first set of chapters discusses basic supply-and-demand factors related to access. Later chapters discuss new opportunities and challenges created by digital technology and describe some of the most pressing policy issues. As digital technologies continue to gain in momentum and importance, it has become clear that digitization has features that do not fit well into traditional economic models. This suggests a need for a better understanding of the impact of digital technology on economic activity, and Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy brings together leading scholars to explore this emerging area of research.

    Keywords: Technology; Economics;

    Citation:

    Goldfarb, Avi, Shane Greenstein and Catherine Tucker, eds. Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy. University of Chicago Press, 2015. View Details
  6. Digital Dark Matter and the Economic Contribution of Apache

    Shane Greenstein and Frank Nagle

    Researchers have long hypothesized that research outputs from government, university, and private company R&D contribute to economic growth, but these contributions may be difficult to measure when they take a non-pecuniary form. The growth of networking devices and the Internet in the 1990s and 2000s magnified these challenges, as illustrated by the deployment of the descendent of the NCSA HTTPd server, otherwise known as Apache. This study asks whether this experience could produce measurement issues in standard productivity analysis, specifically, omission and attribution issues, and, if so, whether the magnitude is large enough to matter. The study develops and analyzes a novel data set consisting of a 1% sample of all outward-facing web servers used in the United States. We find that use of Apache potentially accounts for a mismeasurement of somewhere between $2 billion and $12 billion, which equates to between 1.3% and 8.7% of the stock of prepackaged software in private fixed investment in the United States and a very high rate of return to the original federal investment in the Internet. We argue that these findings point to a large potential undercounting of the rate of return from IT spillovers from the invention of the Internet. The findings also suggest a large potential undercounting of "digital dark matter" in general.

    Keywords: open source; Apache; Economic measurement; Digital economics; Measurement and Metrics; Open Source Distribution; Internet; Information Technology; Software; Economic Growth; Research and Development; Web Services Industry; Information Technology Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane, and Frank Nagle. "Digital Dark Matter and the Economic Contribution of Apache." Research Policy 43, no. 4 (May 2014): 623–631. (Lead Article.) View Details
  7. Does Service Bundling Reduce Churn?

    Jeff Prince and Shane Greenstein

    We examine whether bundling in telecommunications services reduces churn using a series of large, independent cross sections of household decisions. To identify the effect of bundling, we construct a pseudo-panel dataset and utilize a linear, dynamic panel-data model, supplemented by nearest-neighbor matching. We find bundling does reduce churn for all three "triple-play" services. The effect is only "visible" during times of turbulent demand. We also find evidence that broadband was substituting for pay television in 2009. This analysis highlights that bundling helps with customer retention in service industries, and may play an important role in preserving contracting markets.

    Keywords: Communication Technology; Customer Satisfaction; Product Marketing; Telecommunications Industry;

    Citation:

    Prince, Jeff, and Shane Greenstein. "Does Service Bundling Reduce Churn?" Journal of Economics & Management Strategy 23, no. 4 (Winter 2014): 839–875. View Details
  8. Digitization, Innovation, and Copyright: What Is the Agenda?

    Shane Greenstein, Josh Lerner and Scott Stern

    This essay discusses the need for research on the consequences of digitization, as well as the impact of alternative policies governing the creation and use of digital information. This agenda focuses on the development of research to investigate the economics of digitization, to analyze the governance of intellectual property in this sector, particularly through copyright, and to pioneer approaches to analyzing measurement of digitization. This agenda overlaps with many related open questions in organizational and strategy research.

    Keywords: Technology; Research; Copyright; Information Management; Innovation and Invention;

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane, Josh Lerner, and Scott Stern. "Digitization, Innovation, and Copyright: What Is the Agenda?" Strategic Organization 11, no. 1 (February 2013): 110–121. View Details

Technological Competition in Computing

  1. Mobile Computing: The Next Platform Rivalry

    Timothy Bresnahan and Shane Greenstein

    Competition to become one of several dominant mobile platforms is intense. Platforms compete for developers, who create applications which make the platform valuable for users. Why doesn't one form of platform governance emerge as superior? This essay will stress the reasons for differentiation and proposes a new argument linked to a platform's "hierarchy." Hierarchical governance features can help at one moment but then get in the way at a later time. These arguments are illustrated by different approaches to platform governance taken by the major mobile platform sponsors of recent years.

    Citation:

    Bresnahan, Timothy, and Shane Greenstein. "Mobile Computing: The Next Platform Rivalry." American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings 104, no. 5 (May 2014): 475–480. View Details
  2. Schumpeterian Competition and Diseconomies of Scope: Illustrations from the Histories of Microsoft and IBM

    Timothy F. Bresnahan, Shane Greenstein and Rebecca M. Henderson

    We address a longstanding question about the causes of creative destruction. Dominant incumbent firms, long successful in an existing technology, are often much less successful in new technological eras. This is puzzling, since a cursory analysis would suggest that incumbent firms have the potential to take advantage of economies of scope across new and old lines of business and, if economies of scope are unavailable, to simply reproduce entrant behavior by creating a "firm within a firm." There are two broad streams of explanation for incumbent failure in these circumstances. One posits that incumbents fear cannibalization in the marketplace and so under-invest in the new technology. The second suggests that incumbent firms develop organizational capabilities and cognitive frames that make them slow to "see" new opportunities and that make it difficult to respond effectively once the new opportunity is identified. In this paper we draw on two of the most important historical episodes in the history of the computing industry, the introduction of the PC and of the browser, to develop a third hypothesis. Both IBM and Microsoft, having been extremely successful in an old technology, came to have grave difficulties competing in the new, despite some dramatic early success. We suggest that these difficulties do not arise from cannibalization concerns or from inherited cognitive frames. Instead they reflect diseconomies of scope rooted in assets that are necessarily shared across both businesses. We show that both Microsoft and IBM were initially very successful in creating freestanding business units that could compete with entrants on their own terms, but that as the new businesses grew, the need to share key firm-level assets imposed significant costs on both businesses and created severe organizational conflict. In IBM and Microsoft's case this conflict eventually led to control over the new business being given to the old and that in both cases effectively crippled the new business.

    Keywords: Technological Innovation; Opportunities; Competition; Information Technology; Innovation and Management; Organizations; Relationships; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Bresnahan, Timothy F., Shane Greenstein, and Rebecca M. Henderson. "Schumpeterian Competition and Diseconomies of Scope: Illustrations from the Histories of Microsoft and IBM." In The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity Revisited, edited by Josh Lerner and Scott Stern. University of Chicago Press, 2012. View Details

The Economics of Enterprise IT

  1. Information Technology and the Distribution of Inventive Activity

    Chris Forman, Avi Goldfarb and Shane Greenstein

    We examine the relationship between the diffusion of advanced Internet technology and the geographic concentration of invention, as measured by patents. First, we show that patenting became more concentrated from the early 1990s to the early 2000s and, similarly, that counties that were leaders in patenting in the early 1990s produced relatively more patents by the early 2000s. Second, we compare the extent of invention in counties that were leaders in Internet adoption to those that were not. We see little difference in the growth rate of patenting between leaders and laggards in Internet adoption, on average. However, we find that the rate of patent growth was faster among counties who were not leaders in patenting in the early 1990s but were leaders in Internet adoption by 2000, suggesting that the Internet helped stem the trend towards more geographic concentration. We show that these results are largely driven by patents filed by distant collaborators rather than non-collaborative patents or patents by non-distant collaborators, suggesting low cost long-distance digital communication as a potential mechanism.

    Keywords: Patents; Geographic Location; Internet; Innovation and Invention;

    Citation:

    Forman, Chris, Avi Goldfarb, and Shane Greenstein. "Information Technology and the Distribution of Inventive Activity." In The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy, edited by Adam Jaffe and Benjamin Jones, 169–196. University of Chicago Press, 2015. View Details
  2. Which Industries Use the Internet?

    Chris Forman, Avi Goldfarb and Shane Greenstein

    Citation:

    Forman, Chris, Avi Goldfarb, and Shane Greenstein. "Which Industries Use the Internet?" In Organizing the New Industrial Economy. Vol. 12, edited by Michael R Baye, 47–72. Advances in Applied Microeconomics. Emerald Group Publishing, 2003. View Details
  3. The Geographic Dispersion of Commercial Internet Use

    Chris Forman, Avi Goldfarb and Shane Greenstein

    Citation:

    Forman, Chris, Avi Goldfarb, and Shane Greenstein. "The Geographic Dispersion of Commercial Internet Use." In Rethinking Rights and Regulations: Institutional Responses to New Communication Technologies, edited by Lorrie Faith Cranor and Steven S. Wildman, 113–145. MIT Press, 2003. View Details

Working Papers

  1. Technological Leadership (de)Concentration: Causes in ICTE

    Yasin Ozcan and Shane Greenstein

    Using patents as indicators of inventive activity, this article characterizes the concentration of origins of invention from 1976 to 2010, and how these changed over time. The analysis finds pervasive deconcentration in virtually every area related to ICT, but it can explain only a small part of this trend. Deconcentration happens despite the role of lateral entry by existing firms. New firm entry drives part of the deconcentration, but this alone cannot explain the change. A single supply factor in the market for ideas, such as the breakup of AT&T, also cannot explain the trend. Finally, eleven percent of patents change hands through mergers and acquisitions activity, but this does not make up for the declines in concentration in the origins of invention.

    Citation:

    Ozcan, Yasin, and Shane Greenstein. "Technological Leadership (de)Concentration: Causes in ICTE." NBER Working Paper Series, No. 22631, September 2016. View Details
  2. The Empirical Economics of Online Attention

    Andre Boik, Shane Greenstein and Jeffrey Prince

    In several markets, firms compete not for consumer expenditure but instead for consumer attention. We model and characterize how households allocate their scarce attention in arguably the largest market for attention: the Internet. Our characterization of household attention allocation operates along three dimensions: how much attention is allocated, where that attention is allocated, and how that attention is allocated. Using click-stream data for thousands of U.S. households, we assess if and how attention allocation on each dimension changed between 2008 and 2013, a time of large increases in online offerings. We identify vast and expected changes in where households allocate their attention (away from chat and news towards video and social media), and yet we simultaneously identify remarkable stability in how much attention is allocated and how it is allocated. Specifically, we identify (i) persistence in the elasticity of attention according to income and (ii) complete stability in the dispersion of attention across sites and in the intensity of attention within sites. We illustrate how this finding is difficult to reconcile with standard models of optimal attention allocation and suggest alternatives that may be more suitable. We conclude that increasingly valuable offerings change where households go online, but not their general online attention patterns. This conclusion has important implications for competition and welfare in other markets for attention.

    Keywords: Online Technology; Competition; Behavior; Resource Allocation; Household; Cognition and Thinking;

    Citation:

    Boik, Andre, Shane Greenstein, and Jeffrey Prince. "The Empirical Economics of Online Attention." NBER Working Paper Series, No. 22427, July 2016. View Details
  3. Do Experts or Collective Intelligence Write with More Bias? Evidence from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia

    Shane Greenstein and Feng Zhu

    Organizations today have the option of using crowds or experts for knowledge production. While prior work focuses on comparing the factual accuracy of knowledge from crowd-based and expert-based production models, we compare bias from these two models when knowledge is contested. Contested knowledge is endemic to topics involving subjective, unverifiable, or controversial information, and addressing it successfully lay behind the promise of the production model based on collective intelligence. Using data from Encyclopædia Britannica, an encyclopedia authored by experts, and Wikipedia, an encyclopedia produced by an online community, we compare the slant and bias of pairs of articles on identical political topics. Our slant measure is less (more) than zero when an article leans towards Democratic (Republican) viewpoints, while bias is the absolute value of the slant. We find that Wikipedia articles are more slanted towards Democratic views than are Britannica articles, as well as more biased. The difference for a pair of articles decreases with more revisions of Wikipedia articles. The bias on a per word basis hardly differs between the sources, pointing towards the key role of article length in online communities. We stress a mechanism for resolving disputes in online communities: contributors tend to add text instead of reducing it, taking advantage of the lower costs to acquiring, storing, and revising information, as well as the absence of organizational discipline to restrain additions. These results highlight the pros and cons of each knowledge production model, and have implications for how organizations manage crowd-based knowledge production.

    Keywords: online community; Collective Intelligence; wisdom of crowds; bias; Wikipedia; Britannica; knowledge production; Information; Prejudice and Bias; Online Technology;

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane, and Feng Zhu. "Do Experts or Collective Intelligence Write with More Bias? Evidence from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 15-023, October 2014. (Revised March 2016.) View Details
  4. Information Technology and the Distribution of Inventive Activity

    Chris Forman, Avi Goldfarb and Shane Greenstein

    We examine the relationship between the diffusion of advanced internet technology and the geographic concentration of invention, as measured by patents. First, we show that patenting became more concentrated from the early 1990s to the early 2000s and, similarly, that counties that were leaders in patenting in the early 1990s produced relatively more patents by the early 2000s. Second, we compare the extent of invention in counties that were leaders in Internet adoption to those that were not. We see little difference in the growth rate of patenting between leaders and laggards in Internet adoption, on average. However, we find that the rate of patent growth was faster among counties that were not leaders in patenting in the early 1990s but were leaders in Internet adoption by 2000, suggesting that the Internet helped stem the trend towards more geographic concentration. We show that these results are largely driven by patents filed by distant collaborators rather than non-collaborative patents or patents by non-distant collaborators, suggesting low cost long-distance digital communication as a potential mechanism.

    Keywords: Patents; Internet; Technology Adoption; Innovation and Invention;

    Citation:

    Forman, Chris, Avi Goldfarb, and Shane Greenstein. "Information Technology and the Distribution of Inventive Activity." NBER Working Paper Series, No. 20036, April 2014. View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Internet Data Capping Note

    Shane Greenstein, Lisa Cox and Christine Snively

    In April 2016, U.S. federal regulators approved Charter Communications’ acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC). The Department of Justice (DoJ) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC), however, stipulated that the new company could not apply data caps or introduce usage-based pricing to its Internet customers for seven years. Over the course of 2015, the number of consumer complaints filed with the FCC had grown to nearly 8,000. The focus of this note is to highlight some of the controversy surrounding data capping, introduce competing claims and outline the durable and inescapable tensions between different outlooks on pricing Internet service.

    Keywords: Internet service provider; data caps; compression; Technology; Internet; United States;

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane, Lisa Cox, and Christine Snively. "Internet Data Capping Note." Harvard Business School Technical Note 617-003, September 2016. View Details
  2. Net Neutrality: A Managerial Perspective

    Shane Greenstein and Christine Snively

    The net neutrality debate had implications for Internet service providers, content providers, and end users. This note aims to inform the reader of the various sides of the debate where open issues remain, and what aspects an entrepreneur, investor, or content provider—either an existing player, or a new entrant—should be aware of. From a management perspective, net neutrality rules could have major consequences on the business models of content providers, ISPs, and other businesses that depend on the transfer of data across the Internet.

    Keywords: net neutrality; Technology; Internet; Hardware; Information Technology; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane, and Christine Snively. "Net Neutrality: A Managerial Perspective." Harvard Business School Technical Note 617-006, July 2016. View Details
  3. Facebook: The First Ten Years

    Shane Greenstein, Marco Iansiti and Christine Snively

    Facebook celebrated its ten year anniversary in February 2014. Over the past decade it has grown into the largest social network in the world with one billion users. After filing an IPO in 2012 at a $104 billion valuation (the third largest IPO in U.S. history), the stock price steadily declined, but recovered after the company implemented an effective advertising strategy. Facebook worked to maintain its "hacker ethos" and remain nimble as it matured. The company was worth close to $200 billion. Could this kind of value sustain itself for years to come?

    Keywords: social networks; technology; Facebook; Entrepreneurship; Profit; Open Source Distribution; Social and Collaborative Networks; Competition; Competitive Strategy; Online Technology; Technology Platform; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane, Marco Iansiti, and Christine Snively. "Facebook: The First Ten Years." Harvard Business School Case 616-012, October 2015. (More Info.) View Details
  4. Streaming Over Broadband: Why Doesn't My Netflix Work?

    Shane Greenstein and Michael Norris

    In late 2013 and early 2014, Netflix service over the major U.S. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) suffered major slowdowns. What were the causes of these problems? What could Netflix do to solve them?

    Keywords: Digital Innovation; internet; broadband service; Internet; Technology; Infrastructure; Utilities Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane, and Michael Norris. "Streaming Over Broadband: Why Doesn't My Netflix Work?" Harvard Business School Case 616-007, November 2015. View Details

Journal Articles

  1. Open Content, Linus' Law, and Neutral Point of View

    Shane Greenstein and Feng Zhu

    The diffusion of the Internet and digital technologies has enabled many organizations to use the open-content production model to produce and disseminate knowledge. While several prior studies have shown that the open-content production model can lead to high-quality output in the context of uncontroversial and verifiable information, it is unclear whether this production model will produce any desirable outcome when information is controversial, subjective, and unverifiable. We examine whether the open-content production model helps achieve a neutral point of view (NPOV) using data from Wikipedia's articles on U.S. politics. Our null hypothesis builds on Linus' Law, often expressed as "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow." Our findings are consistent with a narrow interpretation of Linus' Law, namely, a greater number of contributors to an article makes an article more neutral. No evidence supports a broad interpretation of Linus' Law. Moreover, several empirical facts suggest the law does not shape many articles. The majority of articles receive little attention, and most articles change only mildly from their initial slant. Our study provides the first empirical evidence on the limit of Linus' Law. While many organizations believe that they could improve their knowledge production by leveraging communities, we show that in the case of Wikipedia, there are aspects, such as NPOV, that the community does not always achieve successfully.

    Keywords: Prejudice and Bias; Online Technology; Balance and Stability; Operations; Knowledge Management; Knowledge Dissemination;

    Citation:

    Greenstein, Shane, and Feng Zhu. "Open Content, Linus' Law, and Neutral Point of View." Information Systems Research (forthcoming). View Details