Many organisations are developing open platforms to create, store, and share knowledge. This column analyses editing data by Wikipedia users to show how content creation by individuals generates significant ‘spillover’ benefits, encouraging others to contribute to the collective process of knowledge production.
Aleksi Aaltonen, Stephan Seiler, 31 October 2014
Susan Ariel Aaronson, 14 July 2014
The internet promotes educational, technological, and scientific progress, but governments sometimes choose to control the flow of information for national security reasons, or to protect privacy or intellectual property. This column highlights the use of trade rules to regulate the flow of information, and describes how the EU, the US, and their negotiating partners have been unable to find common ground on these issues. Trade agreements have yet to set information free, and may in fact be making it less free.
Chris Forman, Avi Goldfarb, Shane Greenstein, 23 May 2014
The diffusion of the internet has had varying effects on the location of economic activity, leading to both increases and decreases in geographic concentration. This column presents evidence that the internet worked against increasing concentration in invention. This relationship is particularly strong for inventions with more than one inventor, and when inventors live in different cities.
Chris Ellis, John Fender, 26 October 2011
For the Arab Spring it was Twitter; for the summer riots in London it was BlackBerry Messenger. This column explores how the latest technology is helping to accelerate ‘information cascades’, where people make decisions based on what they see other people doing – and getting away with.
Neil Gandal, 15 September 2011
The open source software-development model gives free access to a software’s source code, allowing further users to modify and extend the program. This column argues that the success of Wikipedia and other users of open source methods show that it is likely to continue to be a cornerstone of the digital economy.
Jeremiah Dittmar, 11 February 2011
Despite the revolutionary technological advance of the printing press in the 15th century, there is precious little economic evidence of its benefits. Using data on 200 European cities between 1450 and 1600, this column finds that economic growth was higher by as much as 60 percentage points in cities that adopted the technology.
Jeremiah Dittmar, 01 October 2010
The movable type printing press was the great innovation in early modern information technology, but until now, little evidence has been found of an impact on growth. Jeremiah Dittmar, who was then at American University in Washington, DC, talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his research, which seems to resolve this precursor of the Solow paradox. The interview was recorded at the annual congress of the European Economic Association in Glasgow in August 2010.
Federico Etro, 25 February 2010
What will the next big technology be? This column argues that “cloud computing” will have a dramatic effect on how we live our lives and how we do business. The economic impact of the diffusion of this technology could match that of telecommunication infrastructures in the '70s and '80s or the introduction of the internet in the '90s. Once diffusion gathers apace, cloud computing could significantly boost GDP growth and could create around a million EU jobs within five years.
Nicholas Bloom, Raffaella Sadun, John Van Reenen, 13 May 2007
The US has experienced a sustained increase in productivity growth since the mid-1990s which has not been mirrored in Europe. The majority of this growth has occurred in sectors that either intensively use or produce IT, but while the IT-producing sectors in Europe have matched the growth of their US counterparts, the IT-using sectors (particularly retail, wholesale and financial services) have not.