Founding Economist

Dr. Cathy Barrera


Dr. Cathy Barrera

Dr. Cathy Barrera is a Partner and Founding Economist of Prysm Group. Dr. Barrera’s work combines tools from cutting-edge economics research with emerging technologies expertise to design successful incentive-compatible digital economies. Dr. Barrera has led economic advisory projects for Fortune 500 companies and leading startups backed by funds including Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, Sequoia, Union Square Ventures, Y Combinator and more. She is an industry expert for MIT Sloan and Columbia Business School’s executive education programs, and an academic advisor to blockchain projects at the World Economic Forum. Dr. Barrera is former tenure-track faculty at the S.C. Johnson School of Management at Cornell University and was the Chief Economist at ZipRecruiter.  

Dr. Barrera regularly presents her work and research relating to economics and emerging technologies, which includes talks at DARPA, IBM Columbia University Blockchain Accelerator, NBER, and SXSW. Additionally, she has appeared as a seminar speaker or guest lecturer at schools including Cornell Tech, Harvard University, Imperial College, MIT, NYU Stern, University of Toronto, and USC. Dr. Barrera received a BA in Communication Studies, Economics and Mathematics from Northwestern University, an MSc in Applicable Mathematics from the London School of Economics and a PhD in Business Economics from Harvard University, where she studied under Nobel Laureate Oliver Hart.

Recent speaking appearances include Consensus, DARPA, the IBM Blockchain Accelerator, and SXSW

A Framework for Blockchain Governance Design: The Prysm Group Wheel
Dr. Cathy Barrera outlines a structure for approaching governance design for blockchain networks.

Blockchain Governance: Challenges and Opportunity for a Decentralized System
Dr. Cathy Barrera and Prof. Oliver Hart discuss the importance of governance for a blockchain network.

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Network Effects for Emerging Technologies

This report provides a framework detailing the types of network effects that exist, and discusses bootstrapping techniques and equilibrium dynamics commonly associated with network effects.

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