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Andrew Mell

Dr. Andrew Mell is an economist whose research focuses on issues of reputation.  He is particularly interested in applications of reputation in illicit markets where trust is crucial to maintaining trade.  His research has also focussed on new ways for economists to think about and model reputation.  Before beginning his doctoral studies at Oxford, Andrew worked as an economic consultant at Frontier Economics.

Andrew’s presentation will focus on the following:

  • Data-Thieves have the ability to steal financial data, but might not be best placed to extract as much value as possible from stolen data.
  • People who can extract the most money possible from stolen financial data may not be very good at stealing the data in the first place.
  • Clearly there are gains to trade between these two groups, but the market is geographically distributed, so trade must take place on the internet.
  • This exacerbates the trust problem between buyers and sellers of illegal data as they can rely on neither legal law enforcement, nor illegal enforcement, nor ostracising untrustworthy participants as efficient sanctions should one party cheat the other during trade.
  • The online reputational mechanisms that seem to have developed to allow trade in this market are effective, however thinking about them allows law enforcers to think of novel ways of fighting crime by disrupting the market trust mechanism rather than simply arresting and catching criminal.