Edward Castronova invented the field of virtual economics in 2001. His earliest writings continue to capture attention two decades later. In that early period, he predicted that the economy would eventually be drawn ever deeper into the virtual realm; it has happened. In 2007, he predicted Uber-like workflows with independent actors identifying and capturing small earnings opportunities in a distributed information field; it has happened. In 2014, he predicted that virtual money would become commonly known; it has happened. In 2016, he predicted that people would earn money playing video games; it is happening. Castronova spent the last 20 years quietly watching these developments while raising his children. He now believes that the world is on the cusp of the fully decentralized economic revolution that he first foresaw in the dawning years of the 21st century. He thinks it is time to speak publicly – to explain, analyze, and predict.
Castronova’s ideas are built on a foundation of deep training and years of research. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, one of the top economics programs in the country. There, he studied statistics and cost-benefit analysis, fields that provide the tools necessary to put real dollar values on virtual goods. His research as a mid-career professor – four books and dozens of articles – show that people in virtual worlds are economically rational, and that virtual macroeconomies operate like real ones. Now a senior professor, Castronova serves as consultant and board member for a wide variety of enterprises. He also advises startups (but does not charge as much).
Edward Castronova offers his clients, readers, and students a broad vision of larger economic and social trends, framed within a pragmatic understanding of ordinary people and their day-to-day incentives.
Castronova is married, has two kids and a dog, likes potatoes, and goes to Church every Sunday. He thinks God is a game designer. His sense of humor can be captured in a single word: