Richard Bergmair's Publications

Bergmair, Richard. 2007b. Some Notes on the Economics and Evaluation of Automatic Retrieval and Filtering of Communication Goods.” Invited address, SCCH, Hagenberg, Austria, September.

In this paper, we address the problem of searching for or filtering electronic documents in large collections such as the world wide web. This will be framed as an economic resource allocation problem, while invoking automatic retrieval engines as a non-market pricing mechanism.

For information retrieval, this point of view helps illuminate many imporant questions, such as: What is the benefit of a relevant document being retrieved? What is the impact of an error that results in an irrelevant document being retrieved? What is the impact of an error that results in a relevant document not being retrieved? How can these be measured, compared, and weighted against each other?

For economics, this point of view shows how retrieval engines can be invoked to mitigate many of the weaknesses of traditional markets when it comes to dealing with information and attention in the context of communication. How can we reduce search costs, given the vast catalogue of communication goods on offer in real-world communication economies such as the internet? How can we invoke competition, given the highly differentiated nature of communication goods such as newsfeeds, newsgroups, or websites? How can we deal with the fact that communication goods are experience goods?

This paper is theoretic in nature, and interdisciplinary in its approach.