Kevin Boudreau, Northeastern & NBER 

Welcome to my research page. Here is my c.v.

I study how platforms of various kinds can be better designed for growth and innovative performance. 


  • Jan 2018 University of Michigan
  • March 2018 Economics of Online Platforms Conference, University of Florida Law & Economics Departments
  • May 2018 Harvard Business School Workshop - IP and Digitization
  • May 2018 Stanford University
  • August 2018 Academy of Management - Chairing Junior Faculty Consortium BPS + Field Experimental Methods + Entrepreneurship & Digitization


  • Field Experiment on Multi-Disciplinary Scientific Researchers
  • Field Experiment on Platform Adoption Dynamics
  • Field Experiment on Engineering Training


I exploit a quasi-experiment in data on the Apple AppStore to show that an interplay between low development costs and developers' non-pecuniary payoffs causes the “bottom to fall out” of the market to large numbers of amateurs. Amateurs exhibit different behavior than that predicted by standard theory and invest more in innovation than would otherwise be predicted.

Whereas patent and copyright use historically have differed across industries while tending to be similar across suppliers within the same industry, the “mash-up” nature of digital products (amalgams of programs, datasets, graphics, algorithms, etc.) results in unusually finer-grained differences within industries. Pliant digital product development choices and IP choices go hand-in-hand.

Rather than organize as traditional firms, many of today's companies organize as platforms that sit at the nexus of multiple exchange and production relationships. This paper considers a most basic question of organization in platform contexts: the choice of boundaries. 

Today's crowdfunding raises funds for tiny, private entrepreneurial ventures without granting funders private claims to a project's future value. Rather than “investments,” these are “contributions.” This paper argues that for such crowdfunding neither producer nor consumer surplus – i.e., project quality, in traditional terms – will play a direct role in determining funding.

In contrast to traditional models of winner-take-all outcomes in digital markets, many of today's digital innovators face intensive competition – even where prevailing price is zero. This paper investigates how network effects and “freemium” strategies, typical of winner-take-all contexts, work in such competitive conditions. 

    • Lakhani, K., K. Boudreau, C. Baldwin, A. MacCormack, E. Guinan, et al. (2013) "Prize-based contests can provide solutions to computational biology problems." Nature Biotechnology31(2):108. 


    • Guinan, E., K. Boudreau, K. Lakhani.  (2013) "Experiments in Open Innovation at the Harvard Medical School." MIT Sloan Management Review54(3): 45-52.