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Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy

As the cost of storing, sharing, and analyzing data has decreased, economic activity has become increasingly digital. But while the effects of digital technology and improved digital communication have been explored in a variety of contexts, the impact on economic activity—from consumer and entrepreneurial behavior to the ways in which governments determine policy—is less well understood.
Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy explores the economic impact of digitization, with each chapter identifying a promising new area of research. The Internet is one of the key drivers of growth in digital communication, and the first set of chapters discusses basic supply-and-demand factors related to access. Later chapters discuss new opportunities and challenges created by digital technology and describe some of the most pressing policy issues. As digital technologies continue to gain in momentum and importance, it has become clear that digitization has features that do not fit well into traditional economic models. This suggests a need for a better understanding of the impact of digital technology on economic activity, and Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy brings together leading scholars to explore this emerging area of research.

528 pages | 18 halftones, 106 line drawings, 53 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2015

National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report

Economics and Business: Business--Industry and Labor, Economics--Development, Growth, Planning


“Clearly relevant in terms of key contemporary issues,  . . . [this collection] has potential implications for corporate strategies and public policy and could be useful for a wide range of researchers, including political scientists, sociologists, heterodox economists, and other social scientists. . . . Recommended.”


Table of Contents

Avi Goldfarb, Shane M. Greenstein, and Catherine E. Tucker
I. Internet Supply and Demand
1. Modularity and the Evolution of the Internet
Timothy Simcoe
Comment: Timothy F. Bresnahan

2. What Are We Not Doing When We Are Online?
Scott Wallsten
Comment: Chris Forman
II. Digitization, Economic Frictions, and New Markets
3. The Future of Prediction: How Google Searches Foreshadow Housing Prices and Sales
Lynn Wu and Erik Brynjolfsson
4. Bayesian Variable Selection for Nowcasting Economic Time Series
Steven L. Scott and Hal R. Varian
5. Searching for Physical and Digital Media: The Evolution of Platforms for Finding Books
Michael R. Baye, Babur De los Santos, and Matthijs R. Wildenbeest
Comment: Marc Rysman
6. Ideology and Online News
Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro
7. Measuring the Effects of Advertising: The Digital Frontier
Randall Lewis, Justin M. Rao, and David H. Reiley
8. Digitization and the Contract Labor Market: A Research Agenda
Ajay Agrawal, John Horton, Nicola Lacetera, and Elizabeth Lyons
Comment: Christopher Stanton
9. Some Economics of Private Digital Currency
Joshua S. Gans and Hanna Halaburda
III. Government Policy and Digitization
10. Estimation of Treatment Effects from Combined Data: Identification versus Data Security
Tatiana Komarova, Denis Nekipelov, and Evgeny Yakovlev
11. Information Lost: Will the “Paradise” that Information Promises, to Both Consumer and Firm, be “Lost” on Account of Data Breaches? The Epic is Playing Out
Catherine L. Mann
Comment: Amalia R. Miller
12. Copyright and the Profitability of Authorship: Evidence from Payments to Writers in the Romantic Period
Megan MacGarvie and Petra Moser
Comment: Koleman Strumpf
13. Understanding Media Markets in the Digital Age: Economics and Methodology
Brett Danaher, Samita Dhanasobhon, Michael D. Smith, and Rahul Telang
14. Digitization and the Quality of New Media Products: The Case of Music
Joel Waldfogel
15. The Nature and Incidence of Software Piracy: Evidence from Windows
Susan Athey and Scott Stern
Comment: Ashish Arora
List of Contributors
Author Index
Subject Index

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