Wed 5/30 Evening: Michael Mandel, “The Surprising Economics of E-Commerce and Brick and Mortar Retail” at 2nd & D SW

Speaker: Michael Mandel, Chief Economic Strategist, Progressive Policy Institute

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm, and the seminar begins at 6:00 pm. The seminar is free but please email Jack Ventura at jack.ventura@verizon.net for reservations.

Abstract of talk:

E-commerce sales are soaring. According to the Census Bureau, they are up 16.4% from the previous year, as against 4.5% for total retail sales. Surprisingly, however, the online shopping boom has been accompanied by the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs at e-commerce fulfillment centers around the country. Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar retail establishments, rather than cutting back, have been trying to raise the skill level of their employees to differentiate themselves from online.

This seminar will explore the economics of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail, focusing on employment, wages, and productivity. It will also deal with the importance of the automation of logistics. What does the continuing shift to e-commerce portend for consumer choice and prices and for the survival and employment of retail stores? Michael Mandel will address these questions.

Dr. Mandel was interviewed on the PBS News Hour on this subject this past year. Besides his position at Progressive Policy Institute, he holds an appointment as senior fellow at Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management at the University of Pennsylvania, and serves as president and founder of South Mountain Economics LLC, which provides expertise on emerging occupations and emerging industries.