Missing Market for Academics

16 Nov

There are a few different options for buying time with industry experts, e.g., https://officehours.com/, https://intro.co/, etc. However, there is no marketplace for buying academics’ time. Some surplus is likely lost as a result. For one, some academics want advice on what they write. To get advice, they have three choices—academic friends, reviewers, or interested academics at conferences or talks. All three have their problems. Or they have to resort to informal markets like Kahneman. 

“He called a young psychologist he knew well and asked him to find four experts in the field of judgment and decision-making, and offer them $2,000 each to read his book and tell him if he should quit writing it. “I wanted to know, basically, whether it would destroy my reputation,” he says. He wanted his reviewers to remain anonymous, so they might trash his book without fear of retribution.”


For what it’s worth, Kahneman’s book still had major errors. And that may be the point. Had he access to a better market, with ratings on the ability to review quantitative material, he may not have had the errors. A fully fleshed market could offer options to workers to price discriminate based on whether the author is a graduate student or a tenured professor at a top-ranked private university. Such a market may also prove a useful revenue stream for academics with time and talent who want additional money.

Reviewing is but one example. Advice on navigating the academic job market, research design, etc., can all be sold.