Telecommunications | Economics of Information
T535 | 29146 | Waterman, D

We use economic analysis to address policy and strategy problems
involving information and information products. Main topic areas are
the production, pricing, and distribution of information products;
and the economics of information networks and standard setting.  A
central theme of the course: When is government intervention
desirable, and what policies are most likely to work?

Examples of questions we address:
How can economic incentives to create intellectual property be
preserved in the presence of cheap copying devices and file sharing?
How can owners of intellectual property use copying and electronic
distribution to their advantage?
What are the economics of electronic vs. hardcopy textbook and
academic journal publication? What are economic arguments for and
against fee-based library services?
Why does the U.S. dominate the world export of entertainment and
other information?
How can critical mass be achieved in information networking?
Are compatibility standards affecting media or telecommunications
networks best set by government or by private industry?

Policy analysis in the information industries must be
interdisciplinary, but economic analysis gives one useful
perspective. First, economics provides a specific framework for
evaluating social welfare. Second, economic analysis can make good
predictions about whether different policy options are likely to
work or not. We also get insights into which business strategies of
information industry firms and organizations are most likely to work.
The class does not have a prerequisite. Some basic microeconomic
principles will be provided as the course proceeds.

For more information, contact David Waterman (5-6170;;