Hal Varian

American economist

Hal Ronald Varian (born March 18, 1947) is an American economist specialising in microeconomics and information economics.


  • Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem is quite surprising. It shows that three very plausible and desirable features of a social decision mechanism are inconsistent with democracy: there is no “perfect” way to make social decisions. There is no perfect way to “aggregate” individual preferences to make one social preference. If we want to find a way to aggregate individual preferences to form social preferences, we will have to give up one of the properties of a social decision mechanism described in Arrow’s theorem.
    • Hal R. Varian, Microeconomics: A Modern Approach, Chapter 33. Welfare, 2002
  • Schumpeter emphasizes a “demand-side” explanation for such clustering of innovation. One might also consider a complemen tary “supply-side” explanation: since innovators are, in many cases, working with the same components, it is not surprising to see simultaneous innovation, with several innovators coming up with essentially the same invention at almost the same time. There are many well-known examples, including the electric light, the airplane, the automobile, and the telephone.
    • Hal R. Varian, Part I. "Competition and market power", in The Economics of Information Technology: An Introduction (2004) by Hal R.Varian, Joseph Farrell and Carl Shapiro
  • Google will make us more informed. The smartest person in the world could well be behind a plow in China or India. Providing universal access to information will allow such people to realize their full potential, providing benefits to the entire world.
    • The structure of the Internet, a report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2010.
    • "Part 1: A review of responses to a tension pair about whether Google will make people stupid."
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