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Seth Benzell

Digital Fellow

Seth G. Benzell is a Digital Fellow at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy in the group on Productivity, Employment, and Inequality.  He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Boston University.


Seth’s work is in the economics of automation, digitization, and networks. He is also interested in fiscal policy, and macroeconomics generally. A current focus is investigating how skill-biased technological changes are directed and propagate throughout the economy. Another focus is predicting how new technologies, especially artificial intelligence, will impact investment, wages and welfare. Previous work has explored the possibility of negative welfare effects from automation in an overlapping generations context. In ongoing research, he studies the effect of application programming interfaces and ‘firm inversion’ at the firm and macroeconomic level. Seth is also interested in economic history and fiscal policy. He has worked on multiple studies of tax reform in computable general equilibrium models and has briefed legislative assistants at the U.S. Capitol. In an economic history paper, he showed that European royal family network connections played a causal role in preventing violent conflict.

Before coming to MIT, Seth received his Ph.D. in Economics at Boston University in 2016. His dissertation advisor was Laurence Kotlikoff. He received a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from Tulane University in 2012.  His undergraduate thesis adviser was Keith Finlay.

View Benzell’s latest publication “Rationing social contact during the COVID-19 pandemic: Transmission risk and social benefits of US locations” here. (co-authors: Avinash Collis and Christos Nicolaides)


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