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Boik featured in Business Insider

Household allocation of attention to the Internet does not change amid new content and devices through which to consume it

Research by UC Davis economist Andre Boik, Shane Greenstein (Harvard Business School), and Jeff Prince (Indiana University) was recently featured in Business Insider, Marginal Revolution, and New York magazine. Most content on the Internet is monetized not through subscriptions but by capturing households' attention. The article studies how households allocate their scarce attention over a time period with rapid changes in content availability and devices through which to consume it. The authors identify that despite those changes, how households allocate their attention has remained remarkably unchanged and is virtually independent of demographics. 

"Altogether, these findings are inconsistent with some models of attention allocation, especially those models lacking any frictions, such as setup costs. They are consistent with a theory that is behavioral in its foundations. This model suggests households are endowed with a fixed set of 'slots' of attention to allocate to sites, as if households typically have fixed amounts of time. These amounts of time do not vary but are switched between different categories of web sites."