My work

Dr Robin Gaster

Dr. Robin Gaster

Articles on Climate Change and the Green Transition
Professional reviews of Behemoth, Amazon Rising
My articles on Amazon and Big Tech
My articles on innovation and SBIR
Other writings

Climate Change and the Green Transition

2023 Price over performance: Why green energy is different from previous technology revolutions. Utility Dive, Sept 8 2023

2023 A Realist Pathway Through the Green Transition. DC Journal, July 25,2023 (with Robert Atkinson)

2023 Beyond Force: A Realist Pathway Through the Green Transition, ITIF, July 10, 2023 (with Robert Atkinson and Ed Rightor)

2022 DOE’s Hydrogen Hubs FOA: Well-Launched, But Beware Choppy Waters, ITIF, Oct 11, 2022

2022 Hydrogen Hubs Selection: Developing an Effective, Transparent, Fair, and Timely Process, ITIF, Sept 26,2022

2022 The Hydrogen Hubs Conundrum: How to Fund an Ecosystem, ITIF, Sep 12, 2022


Professional book reviews for Behemoth, Amazon Rising

Pamela Danziger, Forbes: Amazon Is A Marvel Of Digital Capitalism And That Is The Problem (March 1, 2021)

Chapter 8 alone, “How Amazon Makes Its Money (And Loses Some Too),” makes it [Behemoth] must reading. In it, he [Gaster] breaks down Amazon’s “money trail” from its SEC reporting, which he claims “obfuscates and misdirects.”

Don Davis, Digital Commerce 360: An argument for a new kind of regulation of Amazon and other tech giants (January 21,2021)

“At the heart of his argument is the idea that these tech companies have grown powerful by collecting data on a scale that would have been impossible before the rise of the internet and digital technology. ‘And if control of data helps drive the creation of digital monopolies,’ he writes, “then maybe the release of data can be used to limit their power.”

Press release for Behemoth, Amazon Rising


My articles on Amazon and Big Tech

Day One is Ending for Amazon: Now What? CEOeorld, Oct 22, 2022

Amazon’s new retail business model: customers win, competitors lose, and sellers pay to play, CEOworld, Feb 12, 2022

Amazon after Lina Khan: Building Back Better, CEOworld, Jan 7 2022

High Stakes Testing at the FTC: The Challenges of Big Tech, CEOworld, Dec 19, 2021

Amazon Sidewalk is a Threat – But to Whom? CEOworld, June 21 2021

The Gold Rush is On: Rollups in the Amazon Marketplace, CEOworld, June 9 2021

Competing with the Behemoth: How Rockwell and other companies can take on Amazon and win, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 2 2021

Into the Future: Amazon and the Rise of Personal Healthcare Healthcare Business Today, May 7, 2021

Why a union win for Amazon’s Bessemer workers was always a long shot,, April 16, 2021

Amazon’s small-team structure means new projects get greenlit quickly and it’s one of the secrets to the company’s success. Here’s how it works. Insider, April 14, 2021

Amazon and Unions: More Noise than Impact?, International Policy Digest, March 29, 2021

Beyond Bezos: Jassy’s Challenges and Opportunities, Social Media Monthly, March 2, 20221

Amazon and Advertising: Watch out Facebook (and Amazon’s sellers), CEOworld, Feb 27, 2021

Beyond Bezos: Nine Challenges Facing Andy Jassy,Chief Executive Magazine, Feb 25, 2021

A Case Study at Beating Amazon at the Platform Game: Building a Successful Commercial Platform, CEOworld, Feb 2, 2021

Amazon and Groceries: Why They Don’t Have the Advantage, CEOworld, Jan 9, 2021

EU Competition Complaints against Amazon: No Big Deal? CEOworld, November 21, 2020

The UK and UK: When Culture Trumps Self-Interest, (with Stephan Richter), The Globalist, December 18 2019

Economism vs. Culture: Who Wins? (with Stephan Richter), The Globalist, December 18 ,2019


My articles on innovation and SBIR

2020 Is SBIR a Government Venture Fund? (with Will Swearingen, Michael Wallner, Jeff Peterson, and Ray Friesenhahn), Teechnologyh and Innovation vol. 22 num. 1 June 2021

2019 Solving the Surveyor’s Dilemma: Estimating Future Returns From Innovation Program Investments. Why surveys systematically under-estimate the returns from innovation programs, and how to correct that problem. A shorter version of this paper is available from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

2018.  The Productivity Paradox: Why Current Productivity Data Misses the Point. Detailed analysis showing the failure of productivity data to capture change in a modern economy.

2018 SBIR FAQ: a Non-Technical Introduction. Answers the most common questions asked about the SBIR program.

2017 The Parable of the Bank Tellers. Why it’s easy to mistake industry growth for employment, and why bank jobs are disappearing  and their wages falling.

2017 Millennial Economics: The Big Squeeze. Why Millennials are suffering, and why they are the canary in the jobs coalmine.

2017 Impacts of the SBIR Program. Summarizes the current state of knowledge about SBIR impacts.

2016 Explaining the Decline in SBIR Phase I Applications. How the impact of business cycles, shifting budgets, and agency strategy explains application patterns at the five major SBIR agencies


Clippings (where I am a leading source)

Regulatory Commission Needed To Monitor Big Tech Collection Of Consumer Data, Professor Says, Derek Shumway, Broadband Breakfast, April 8, 2021

How Amazon Became a Force in SBS Lending, Terry Sweeney, TechTarget, April 5, 2021

Forget Alexa: Astro is the Next Step in Amazon’s Infiltration of Your Home  David Lumb. Tech Radar.

Fake Review Schemes Conning Online Shoppers, Jack germain, Ecommerce Times, Feb 18 2021

How Amazon’s Leadership Change Could Affect Small Businesses, Amrita Khalid, Inc, Feb 4, 2021

Take 5: Amazon’s Growth Tests Us in Profound Ways, Joe Vanden Plas, In Business, January 26, 2021

Exclusive Q&A: Can anything slow the behemoth down? Adam Blair, Retail Touch Points, December, 11 2020

Amazon will take the battle against its first union in the US to the end. EFE (in Spanish). Marc Arcas

Is Amazon Poised to Take  on a Bigger Role in healthcare?, Debbie Kaplan, Managed Healthcare Executive,


Podcasts (where I am a guest)

The Innovation Show, with Aidan McCullen (#, Dec 14 2021

AmazingFBA, with Michael Veazey. 3 episodes, June 2021

     Amazon Strategy

     How Amazon Makes Money

     Amazon Ad Costs And The Future of Amazon Marketplace

Be Real Show, with Travis Huff  (#376) Dec 14, 2021

Business Class News, with Karl Woolfenden

Alan Guillot Show, #247 Feb 2021

Everyday MBA, with Kevin Craine

Becoming Your Best, with Steve Schallenberger, #247

Supply Chain Matters, with Bob Ferrari, #12

Ecomonics, with Joseph Ianni

Mind the Innovation, with Sannah Vinding

BuzzSprout, with Jane Singer

Idea to Value, with Nick Skillicorn (video)


Other Writing

2021. Lead author, Montgomery County Policing Advisory Commission, Findings and Recommendations on Traffic Enforcement.

2014-2016 Lead researcher, National Research Council reports on SBIR programs at DoD, NSF, NASA, NIH, and DoE, as well as the STTR program. See National Academies SBIR page

2014 Primary author of business plan for the Stepping Stone initiative at the Education Development Center

2013 Lead researcher, Manufacturing in the 21st Century: the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, National Research Council

2007-2009 Lead researcher, National Research Council reports on the SBIR program and individual volumes on NIH, DoD, NASA, and DoE.

2010 (with Charles Wessner) The Myth of The Mills, ASTRA Innovation Briefs. PDF

2010 An Innovation Design and Implementation Plan, Ministry of Science and technology, Saudi Arabia

2001 Measuring and Sustaining the New Economy, report for the National Academy of Sciences

2001 Ecommerce and U.S. Public Policy: Strategic Opportunities for DTT report for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

2001 Positioning DTT in the Network Economy: A Role for the Deloitte Forums report for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

2001 Kansas City Swope Parkway Health Center SBIR Partnership grant application to the National Institutes of Health

2001 RW Ventures/KCNA grant applications to MacArthur and other major foundations (with others)

2001 Montgomery County Md. Parent’s Guide plan and proposal

2000 Kansas City Neighborhood Alliance TOPs Proposal (with others)

1999 Local Online Communities, report for the Electric Power Research Institute

1999 Broadband opportunities, report for the Cantermore Group

1999 Enersphere business plan (funded through acquisition of Enersphere by Urbana, Inc) (with others)

1999 ”The Information Revolution: Urban Infrastructure for the Next Millennium,” in Business Briefing: World Urban Economic Development, World Bank

1998 The 21st Century Communications Company, Economist Intelligence Unit

1998 SNIP! Software business and implementation plan (resulted in acquisition of predecessor company)

1998 Internet Security Issues, report for  Thayer Associates

1998 The Convergence Project: Interim Report assessment for Deloitte and Touche

1997 Electronic Publishing: Marketing Opportunities in the Global Information Age, report for King Publishing

1997 Riding the Distance Learning Express: The Coming Revolution in Distance learning and How Publishers can Profit from it, report for Houghton Mifflin

1997 LocalNet Business Plan (funded by angel investors in 1998)

1997 New Markets for Houghton Mifflin’s College Textbooks: Toward a Paradigm of Alliance-centered Publishing,  report for Houghton Mifflin

1996 Bit By Bit: Building a Transatlantic Partnership for the Information Age .M.E.Sharpe (with E.Olbetter, A.Bolster, and C.Prestowitz)

1995 Report subject to confidentiality. Dataquest

1995 Transforming the Electric Power Business: the Role of Demand Side Management in a Deregulating Industry, report for Mitsubishi Research

1995 Second Annual Report on the National Information Infrastructure, report for the European Commission (DGXII), Philips, Olivetti, Bull, S.A.

1994 The National Information Infrastructure: A Preliminary Report, for the European Commission (DGXIII), Philips, Olivetti, Bull S.A..

1993 Bridging the Atlantic, Economic Strategy Institute

1993 “Our Interests in Europe,” The Atlantic Monthly (August)

1993 “Trade, Technology, and Foreign Direct Investment: The International Dimensions of Domestic Economic Policy,” Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy Briefing Paper

1993 “The Drunk Under the Lamp-Post Problem: The Clinton Administration and technology Policy,” paper presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Conference

1993 Leading the Learning Curve: The First 300 Days of The Clinton Technology Policy, report for the European Commission (DGXIII)

1992 “European Industrial Policy,” in Europe and the United States: Competition and Cooperation in the 1990’s, Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S.Congress

1992 “Europe and America after 1992,” testimony before the Budget Committee, U.S. House of Representatives

1992 “Protectionism with Purpose: Guiding Foreign Investment” Foreign Policy

1991 “EC-92: Trade and Industrial Policy,” in Competing Economies: America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim, Office of Technology Assessment, U.S.Congress

1991 “Trading Up to Prosperity,” The Atlanta Journal (op-ed)

1991 “Less coordination will mean a richer Europe,” Newsday op-ed

1991 “Research and Technology Policy,” in Leon Hurwitz and Christian Lequesne eds. The State of the European Community,  Lynne Reiner, Boulder Co.

1989 Winners and Losers in the Industrial Countries: Success and Failure among the Manufacturing Industries of the G-7 Countries 1964-84, report  to the Office of Technology Assessment, U.S.Congress

1989 EC-1992: Completion of the Internal Market in Europe, report for the Office of Technology Assessment, U.S.Congress

1988 White-collar Unions in Britain: Patterns of Development 1900-1960, report to the Office of Technology Assessment, U.S.Congress

1988 “Sex, Spies, and Scandal: the Profumo Affair in British Politics,” in the Politics of Scandal, Andrei Markovitz and Mark Silverstein, eds. Holmes and Meier, NY