Crowdsourcing Information in Informal Supply Chains

10/17/19 | 4:15pm | E51-335
Reception to follow.





Joann de Zegher

Assistant Professor

Abstract: Access to timely and accurate market information is critical for sound decision-making, but it is currently missing for many decision-makers in the developing world. This is notably the case for decision-makers that operate in informal work environments, which capture 60% of global employment and typically face higher risk of poverty. In these environments, each firm has access to only partial market information, but complete market information is distributed in the 'crowd' of firms. In this paper, we study how we can increase access to market information to individual firms when that information is distributed among competing firms in a supply chain network. Specifically, we study the design of non-monetary, incentive-compatible mechanisms for competing firms to share valuable information with each other, and make all firms better off, through a central platform. This requires balancing, for each firm, the tension between benefiting from access to information shared by others and losing from sharing valuable information. We strike this balance by carefully controlling what information is disclosed and we provide a method for constructing information disclosure policies that support sharing as a focal subgame perfect Nash equilibrium. Furthermore, we are able to optimize over this class of policies to maximize the information disclosed to each firm. Our model is informed by an information-sharing platform for informal palm oil supply chains in rural Indonesia.

Joint work with Irene Lo.

Bio: Joann de Zegher is the Maurice F. Strong Career Development Professor and an Assistant Professor of Operations Management at MIT Sloan. Her research examines the design of operational strategies, technological innovations and algorithms to advance social and environmental impact in informal, first-mile and global supply chains.

Event Time: 

2019 - 16:15