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Wooing this year’s best graduate students in economics will be familiar faces from Harvard, Princeton and other U.S. universities seeking assistant professors — and EBay Inc.’s not yet 3-year-old economic research team.

Tomorrow kicks off the American Economic Association’s annual meeting and EBay won’t be the only technology company aiming to tap more brainpower at what doubles as the discipline’s premier job fair. In the past few years, Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have amassed teams of in-house economists to make sense of the oceans of data they’re collecting.

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