The New Economics of ICT

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The New Economics of ICT: Implications of Post-neoclassical Economics for the Information & Communications Technology Sectors

March 20, 2009
Columbia Business School

Uris Hall, 116th & Broadway

Room 307

New York, NY

Neoclassical economics has long been a tool and model, albeit distorted on occasions, for policymakers in the development of legislative and regulatory rules. In particular it has been applied in the information & communications technology (ICT) sectors with such policies as the long-run incremental costs rules, appeals to economies of scale and scope or, inappropriately, reliance on two or three firms to emulate perfect competition’s results. However, economics has moved well beyond these simple, static concepts. Experimental, behavioral, developmental, institutional, neuro-, complexity and network economics are now part of the economists’ tool kit. Although not yet well integrated, they show the flaws in neoclassical analysis. Similar advances have been made in financial theory and practice and the disciplines are, finally, becoming linked.

While the “new economics” (and finance) has permeated many sectors, it has not yet had a significant impact on the ICT sectors. Reliance on the old paradigm are maintained. For example, Ofcom in the United Kingdom failed to adopt the real options methodology, or any other dynamic method in determining access pricing.

The objective of this Symposium was to understand the implications of the New economics & financial models for the ICT sector. What do they mean for policymakers, investors, and industry leaders?


9:00 AM - Overview

Chair:  Jonathan Liebenau, London School of Economics & CITI

Introduction - Eli Noam, CITI, Columbia University

9:30 AM - Flaws with Current Economic-Policy Models

Chair:  Paul Rappoport, Temple University

“What we forgot from the classics” - Suzanne Helburn, University of Colorado – Denver

“What are the issues?”- Mark Cooper, Consumer Federation of America | Paper (PDF)

“Why it matters” - Richard Whitt, Google | Presentation (PDF)

11:00 AM - Coffee Break

11:15 AM - What are the alternatives?

Chair: Suzanne Helburn, University of Colorado – Denver

“A survey of post-neoclassical economics” - Alain Bourdeau de Fontenay, CITI and CUNY | Presentation (PDF)

“Locating the Missing Value” - Brett M. Frischmann, Loyola University of Chicago - Law School

“The Cynical Wisdom of Crowds: Implications of Behavioral Research on ICT Company Financing” - Eric J. Schoenberg, Columbia University | Presentation (PDF)

12:45 - Luncheon speaker

"Is the Market for Economic Ideas Efficient?" - Robert H. Frank, Cornell University

2:15 PM - “The neoclassical model:  Is there any hope?”

Chair: Howard Shelanski, University of California at Berkeley

“Premature announcement of economics’ death?” - Jonathan Cave, Warwick University | Presentation (PDF)

“Innovation, Information, Entrepreneurship and Strategy" - Michael A. Einhorn, Fairleigh Dickinson University | Presentation (PDF)

“General Purpose Technologies (GPTs) and their Relevance to ICTs; Trade & Growth Implications” - Iordanis Petsas, University of Scranton and Baruch College (CUNY) | Presentation (PDF)

3: 45 PM - Tea Break

4: 00 PM - Policy Implications

Chair: Heather Hudson, University of San Francisco

“The Current Malaise” - Robert D. Atkinson, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

“Implications for Investment:  Pricing and Antitrust” - James Alleman, University of Colorado & CITI

“Post Neoclassical Economics: Legal Issues” - Barbara Cherry, Indiana University | Presentation (PDF)

5:30 PM - Closing

Chair:  Robert C. Atkinson, CITI

“Summary, Conclusion and Future Work” - Jonathan Liebenau, London School of Economics & CITI

6PM - Reception

Co-Organizers: James Alleman, Alain Bourdeau de Fontenay & Jonathan Liebenau