Kenneth L. Simons
Associate Professor & Graduate Program Director, Economics
Ken Simons is an expert in the dynamics of industrial organization and technological change. His work has probed the causes of industry shakeouts, testing between alternative theories and exploring issues including sources of advantage to surviving firms and the role of technological innovation. He also explores related empirical topics, including the frequency of disruptive technological change, the ability of new information technologies to provide advantage to upstart companies, estimation methods for the need for environmentally beneficial technologies, and the mechanisms by which corporate governance changes affect firm productivity.
“A succession of research papers has probed the causes of shakeouts and rejected many hypothetical (often popular) theories,” Simons said. “Instead, a few early entrants with the right skills and backgrounds benefit from a spiral of advantage that helps them become dominant market leaders while other firms are driven to extinction.”
His ongoing project on disruptive technological change, funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the National Science Foundation, is apparently the largest-scale data collection project on disruptive technological change ever attempted, spanning about 100 industries over more than 100 years.
Some of his recently published work includes "Entrepreneurs Seeking Gains: Profit Motives and Risk Aversion in Inventors' Commercialization Decisions," in the Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, "Assessing the Effects of Mergers and Acquisitions on Firm Performance, Plant Productivity, and Workers: New Evidence from Matched Employer-Employee Data," in the Strategic Management Journal, and "The U.S. National Innovation System," in the Encyclopedia of Technology and Innovation.
Simons has served as Associate Editor of the International Journal of Industrial Organization, editorial board member of the Journal of Technology Marketing, and Chairman of the Network of Industrial Economists. He has organized numerous conferences related to industrial organization and technological change. His work is primarily empirical but also includes theoretical industrial organization, as well as simulation and computational methods.
Ph.D., Dept. of Social & Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University
M.Sc., Industrial Organization Economics, Carnegie Mellon University
B.S., Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology