R. Preston McAfee

Economist

Website

Randolph Preston McAfee is an American economist, and most recently served as chief economist at Microsoft. His research has concentrated on microeconomics and industrial organization, on topics including auctions, bundling, price discrimination, antitrust, contracting, and mechanism design. More recently, he has been publishing research at the interface between microeconomics and computer science.

Vote History

Statement Vote Confidence Comments
A hard Brexit will have a significant negative impact on many businesses, even if they do not have a U.K. or European presence. Agree 6 “Uncertainty is bad for business, and businesses are more interconnected than ever. Hard Brexit creates many uncertainties for trade, movement of workers and executives, Northern Ireland, etc. U.S. or Asian businesses that sell into the EU through European distribution or source parts in Europe will be affected. Supply chains are global.”
China is no longer the most attractive growth opportunity for Western multinationals. Agree 6 “Given the size of its economy, China’s rates of growth have fallen. China’s self-favoritism limits opportunities. India is more attractive for many companies, looking like China 20 years ago but with better institutions.”
In the next five years, the blockchain will have a transformative effect on finance in emerging markets. Disagree 8 “Blockchain is a distributed ledger. Ledgers matter and are valuable but are hardly transformative against existing technology. We will see applications of blockchain, some of which could be accomplished without blockchain but requiring a bit more trust in a central authority. Incremental — not transformative.”
In the absence of a carbon tax, industry self-regulation can help mitigate the worst fallout from climate change. Strongly Disagree 9 “There are limited successes of industry self-regulation but none at the scale of climate change.”
Amazon’s new $15 per hour minimum wage will force other companies to follow suit. Neither Agree nor Disagree 7 “Amazon’s effects will be primarily local and, while it has many fulfillment centers, overall employment is not enough to cause a large effect. Some companies will follow suit, for morale and retention, primarily because the blue-collar market is getting quite tight.”
Restrictions on skilled immigration will cause US firms to to shift more operations overseas. Agree 7 “In the tech sector, companies struggle to get more talent and already have large operations in London, Israel, Bangalore, China, and other locations. Substitution is already happening.”
Uber has to develop self-driving cars in the next 10 years in order to remain viable. Strongly Disagree 8 “Being the market maker — connecting buyers and vehicles — is a better position than developing self-driving tech. Uber driverless will push the dozen other providers away from Uber’s market.”
A trade war will be more disruptive to business than to consumers. Agree 5 “Factories are hard to start and easy to close, so trade wars cause terrible disruption of supply chains, with very slow recovery for businesses and workers.”
Concern over consumer privacy will fundamentally limit businesses’ ability to use big data. Disagree 7 “Privacy will cause firms to jump through some hoops but will not seriously limit the use of data.”