Why the US and EU are failing to set information free

Susan Ariel Aaronson 14 July 2014

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Tim Berners-Lee, the architect of the World Wide Web, taught us that the internet we have is a function of the choices we (users, companies, policymakers, etc.) make about information flows. For example, in 1995, Berners-Lee chose not to patent his work on the World Wide Web because he feared patenting it could limit its universality and openness. He continues to advocate this. In March 2014, he called for an online bill of rights and created a new organisation to ensure that the web would remain the “web we want” – open, free, and neutral.

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Topics:  EU policies Global governance International trade

Tags:  US, EU, WTO, information technology, trade, technology, internet, Human rights, national security, Information, free trade agreements, data protection, privacy

Net neutrality: A simple goal with some difficult implementation ahead

Joshua Gans 11 June 2014

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Net neutrality has a simple goal – to ensure that consumers face an undistorted choice in choosing where to devote their attention on the Internet. The rationale for that goal is to ensure a ‘level playing field’ for those who provide content, applications, or anything else via the Internet.

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Topics:  Competition policy Industrial organisation Microeconomic regulation

Tags:  US, technology, market power, regulation, internet, price discrimination, net neutrality, Federal Communications Commission

Did the internet prevent all invention from moving to one place?

Chris Forman, Avi Goldfarb, Shane Greenstein 23 May 2014

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Reading the technology press, it often seems as if the media think all high-tech invention happens in Silicon Valley. This parochial viewpoint highlights the ‘agglomeration’ advantages that the Valley provides to inventors because so many technology firms are located in the same place. These advantages include easier access to funding from local venture capitalists, sharing of fixed costs such as specialised patent lawyers, and easier exchange of ideas between researchers.

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research Productivity and Innovation

Tags:  patents, information technology, technology, agglomeration, internet, economic geography, invention

Politics 2.0: Short-run and long-run effects of broadband internet on political participation

Francesco Sobbrio, Ruben Durante, Filipe R Campante 12 June 2013

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The internet has dramatically transformed the way individuals obtain, produce, and exchange information. There is a widespread belief that such a revolution is likely to have a profound impact on various dimensions of social life, not least on politics. In particular, deep transformations have been predicted for the ability to organise collective action.

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research Politics and economics

Tags:  internet

Can trade policy set information free?

Susan Ariel Aaronson 22 December 2012

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 Although the internet is creating a virtuous circle of expanding global growth, opportunity, and information flows (Lendle et al. 2012), policymakers and market actors are taking steps that undermine access to information, reduce freedom of expression and splinter the internet (Herald 2012). Almost every country has adopted policies to protect privacy, enforce intellectual property rights, protect national security, or thwart cyber-theft, hacking, and spam.

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research International trade

Tags:  globalisation, trade, technology, internet

The next productivity revolution: The ‘industrial internet’

Marco Annunziata 07 December 2012

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The largest advanced economies are struggling with weak growth prospects and daunting fiscal challenges. Looking at the macroeconomic equation, there is no easy way out. Looking at the microeconomic level, however, suggests that it is innovation that might come to the rescue.

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research

Tags:  global crisis, internet, jobs, industrial internet

Unbundling the incumbent: Evidence from UK broadband

Mattia Nardotto, Tommaso Valletti , Frank Verboven 25 November 2012

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Like other communication networks, broadband is seen as a main driver of economic activity and growth (Czernich et al. 2011). The potential benefits of broadband are considerable, but so are its rollout costs. Large, sunk infrastructure investments also create market power. Thus the telecom industry has traditionally been subject to some form of regulation.

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research Industrial organisation Productivity and Innovation

Tags:  regulation, internet, local loop unbundling, local exchanges, broadband

Taking advantage of the vast amount of data generated on the internet

Liran Einav, Theresa Kuchler, Jonathan Levin, Neel Sundaresan 18 September 2011

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Since the early days of the internet, it has been clear that the vast and detailed data being collected in online markets would provide opportunities to study consumer behaviour, to test theories of competition and market structure, and to analyse the effects of changes in search costs, product variety, and market organisation, all in relatively structured environments. While in theory the scale and diversity of many internet markets should be ideal for this purpose, in practice it has not always been easy to leverage these advantages.

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research Productivity and Innovation

Tags:  internet, retail, eBay

Search advertising

Federico Etro 11 June 2011

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The European Commission’s investigation of Google is focusing a lot of attention on search advertising. Another interested party in this area is the academic community, particularly theoretical and empirical economic researchers (see for example Athey and Ellinson 2011). Understanding this special market, its definition (that is, its borders with other markets), its structure, and the role of its leader is crucial for antitrust analysis.

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research

Tags:  internet, Google, search advertising

E-commerce and the market structure of retail industries

Chad Syverson 25 July 2010

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E-commerce accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars in sales annually in the US and in Europe, and that figure is growing rapidly. The price effects of internet shopping, and e-commerce in general, have received a lot of research attention (see for example Brynjolfsson and Smith 2000, Scott Morton et al. 2001, Brown and Goolsbee 2002, Baye et al. 2007, and Ellison and Ellison 2009). The findings of this research have been drawn on in policy discussions of subjects like net neutrality and the tax treatment of online sales.

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Topics:  Competition policy Productivity and Innovation

Tags:  internet, market structure, retail, E-commerce

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