Vol. 7 (2011)

Bias in Search Results?: Diagnosis and Response

Benjamin Endelman

The author explores allegations of search engine bias, including understanding a search engine’s incentives to bias results, identifying possible forms of bias, and evaluating methods of verifying whether bias in fact occurs. He then considers possible legal and policy responses, and assesses search engines’ likely defences. He concludes that regulatory intervention is justified in light of the importance of search engines in referring users to all manner of other sites, and in light of striking market concentration among search engines.


The author is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School. His consulting clients include various companies with interests adverse to Google; selected clients are detailed at www.benedelman.org/bio. His research and publications are indexed at www.benedelman.org.