Professor Paul Oyer: The Economics of Dating, Job Hunting, and More


Stanford Graduate School of Business
The Fred H. Merrill Professor of Economics

Research Statement

Paul Oyer studies the economics of organizations and human resource practices. His work has looked at the use of broad-based stock option plans, how firms use non-cash benefits, how firms respond to limits on their ability to displace workers, and how labor market conditions affect their entire careers when MBAs and PhD economists leave school. Oyer’s current projects include studies of how firms identify and recruit workers in high-skill and competitive labor markets, with a focus on the markets for newly minted lawyers and MBAs.

Research Interests

  • Labor Economics
  • Personnel Economics
  • Incentives
  • Matching Firms and Workers


Paul Oyer is The Fred H. Merrill Professor of Economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is also a Research Associate with the National Bureau of Economics and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Labor Economics.

Paul does research in the field of personnel economics. In addition, he is the author of two books published in 2014. “Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned from Online Dating” is an entertaining and non-technical explanation of numerous key ideas in microeconomics using examples from online dating, as well as labor markets and many product markets. “Roadside MBA” (with Michael Mazzeo and Scott Schaefer) is a non-technical Strategy guide for small businesses based on the authors’ extensive travel around the US interviewing small business owners.

Before moving to the GSB in 2000, Paul was on the faculty of the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. In his pre-academic life, he worked for the management consulting firm of Booz, Allen, and Hamilton, as well as for the high technology firms 3Com Corporation and ASK Computer Systems. He holds a BA in math and computer science from Middlebury College, an MBA from Yale University, and an MA and PhD in economics from Princeton University. When not teaching or doing research, Paul runs, swims, skis, hangs out with his two college-age children, and walks his flat-coated retriever.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Economics, Princeton University, 1996
  • MA in Economics, Princeton University, 1994
  • MBA, Yale University School of Management, 1989
  • BA, Middlebury College, Mathematics and Computer Science, 1985

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor of Economics, Stanford GSB, 2002-2009.
  • Professor of Economics, Stanford GSB, 2009-2011
  • Assistant Professor of Economics, Stanford GSB, 2000-2002.
  • Assistant Professor of Management and Strategy, J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, 1996-2000
  • Faculty Research Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University, 1998-2000
  • Affiliate, Center for the Study of Industrial Organization, Northwestern University, 2000

Professional Experience

  • Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research, 2003-present
  • Market Analyst, ASK Computer Systems, Mountain View, CA, 1991-1992
  • Product Manager, 3Com Corporation, Santa Clara, CA, 1990-1991
  • Production Planner, 3Com Corporation, Santa Clara, CA, 1989-1990
  • Research Associate, Booz Allen and Hamilton, Inc., New York, NY, 1985-1987

Awards and Honors

  • Dhirubhai Ambani Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship for 2016-2017
  • Lacob Family Faculty Fellow, Stanford GSB, 2013-2014
  • Fred H. Merrill Professor of Economics, Stanford GSB, 2011-present
  • Louise and Claude N. Rosenberg, Jr. Faculty Scholar, 2008-2009
  • Morgridge Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, 2000-2001


Degree Courses


MGTECON 209: MSx: Economics

This course is an introduction to Microeconomics, focusing on microeconomic concepts relevant to managerial decision making. Topics include demand and supply, cost structure, price discrimination, perfect competition, externalities, and the...

MGTECON 327: Business and Public Policy Perspectives on U.S. Inequality

This class will analyze the growth in inequality in the US over the last several decades and how that trend is likely to continue or change in the future. We will ask if and how public policy can affect inequality. We will also focus on business''...

STRAMGT 546: Strategies for Growth

This course will develop Business Strategy frameworks, some of which will be familiar from the core Strategy class and others of which will be new, and apply them to growing businesses. We will look at companies attempting to grow, as well as...

Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

In the Media

Finding Success in the Digital Marketplace

Stanford GSB, June 18, 2015

Two New Books Offer an Alternative MBA

Inc, May 2014

Paul Oyer: Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Economics, I Learned From Online Dating

CBC The Current, February 14, 2014

Back on the Market: What Online Dating Reveals About Economics

KQED Forum, February 13, 2014

Dating Sites Offer Chance At Love — And A Lesson In Economics

NPR All Things Considered, February 12, 2014

Paul Oyer: online dating an economics class

SF Chronicle, December 21, 2013

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