Hal Varian
Born (1947-03-18) March 18, 1947 (age 77)
Academic career
InstitutionUniversity of California, Berkeley
FieldMicroeconomics, information technology
School or
Neoclassical economics
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
Daniel McFadden
David Gale
Earl Grinols
James Andreoni
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Hal Ronald Varian (born March 18, 1947, in Wooster, Ohio) is Chief Economist at Google and holds the title of emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley where he was founding dean of the School of Information. Varian is an economist specializing in microeconomics and information economics.

Varian joined Google in 2002 as its chief economist. He played a key role in the development of Google's advertising model and data analysis practices.[1]

Early life

Hal Varian was born on March 18, 1947, in Wooster, Ohio. He received his B.S. from MIT in economics in 1969 and both his M.A. in mathematics and Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1973.


Varian taught at MIT, Stanford University, the University of Oxford, the University of Michigan, the University of Siena and other universities around the world. He has two honorary doctorates, from the University of Oulu, Finland in 2002, and a Dr. h. c. from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany, awarded in 2006. He is emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was founding dean of the School of Information.[2]

Varian joined Google in 2002 as chief economist, and has worked on the design of advertising auctions, econometrics, finance, corporate strategy, and public policy.

Varian is the author of two bestselling textbooks: Intermediate Microeconomics,[3] an undergraduate microeconomics text, and Microeconomic Analysis, an advanced text aimed primarily at first-year graduate students in economics. Together with Carl Shapiro, he co-authored Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy and The Economics of Information Technology: An Introduction.[4] According to the Open Syllabus Project, Varian is the fourth most frequently cited author on college syllabi for economics courses.[5]

In September 2023, Varian was called to testify by the DOJ in the U.S. et al. v. Google lawsuit on a memo he wrote in 2003: "Thoughts on Google v Microsoft." with the subject "We should be careful about what we say in both public and private".[6][7] The DOJ also brought up memos where Varian instructed Google employees to avoid the use of language such as "market share," "scale," "network effects," "leverage," "lock up," "lock in," "bundle," and "tie.",[7] to avoid Google from being perceived as being a monopoly and to avoid scrutiny from antitrust watchdogs.[8]

Personal life

Varian is married and has one child, Christopher Max Varian.[9]

See also


  1. ^ Zuboff, Shoshana (2020). The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. PublicAffairs. p. 64. ISBN 978-1-61039-570-0.
  2. ^ "Hal R. Varian". U.C. Berkeley. Retrieved 2010-10-22.
  3. ^ Varian, Hal R (2014). Intermediate Microeconomics: A Modern Approach: Ninth International Student Edition. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-92077-2.
  4. ^ Hal R. Varian; Joseph Farrell; Carl Shapiro (23 December 2004). The Economics of Information Technology: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-60521-2.
  5. ^ "Open Syllabus Project".
  6. ^ Feiner, Lauren (2023-09-12). "Google engaged in a monopolistic feedback loop to maintain search dominance, DOJ alleges in first day of trial". CNBC. Retrieved 2023-09-16.
  7. ^ a b Robertson, Adi (2023-09-15). "In the Google antitrust trial, defaults are everything and nobody likes Bing". The Verge. Retrieved 2023-09-16.
  8. ^ Belanger, Ashley (2023-09-14). "Google hid evidence by training workers to avoid words monopolists use, DOJ says". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2023-09-16.
  9. ^ Curriculum vitae (PDF; 122 kB), on berkeley.edu.