Our friend Joshua Gans, along with some colleagues, has launched a new blog devoted to the economics of digitization called digitopoly.org. Here, in a guest post, he explains the origins of the site and what it’s all about.
By Joshua Gans
Some of the most popular blogs are tech blogs (Gizmodo, Engadget, TechCrunch) or blogs that place a tech perspective on social commentary (e.g., BoingBoing). And, as we know, economics blogs also tend to be popular. What’s been missing is a blog devoted to the economic and competitive issues that arise in the digital age. What’s more, thanks to the NBER’s new Program on the Economics of Digitization (funded by the Sloan Foundation), there is a wealth of new research in this area. So we decided it was time for a blog devoted to examining digital issues from an economic perspective.
Of course, the first thought that pops into one’s mind is, dare I say it, “Digonomics,” but I think we all agree (myself certainly included) that the ‘onomics space is well and truly covered. As my daughter remarked upon seeing a “macroeconomics textbook,” “Freakonomics, Parentonomics and now Macroeconomics. When will it end?”
So when Erik Brynjolfsson, Shane Greenstein and myself (all academics who research in the digital space and have blogged individually about digital issues for many years; see here, here and here) decided to start a blog, we looked for a name that would encompass what the economics of digitization was all about — Digitopoly (suggested succinctly by Erik’s MIT colleague, Scott Stern). The common thread throughout all our writing is that digital technologies are impacting competition across many markets and will continue to do so for decades to come. This is causing us to re-write public policy prescriptions, as well as consider a broad perspective with respect to how competition impacts entrepreneurial innovation. That, and we like using the technology ourselves.
Erik has a longstanding research focus on documenting the impact of the Internet on competition. He provided seminal research establishing the nature of the “long tail” and has written a recent book on how digitization has transformed the economy. Shane was perhaps the first academic to collect data on the proliferation of the Internet and is recently responsible for studies on the economics of Wikipedia. But he is perhaps most famous for his series of IEEE writings that prompted David Warsh, 2006, to name him “the best economics columnist you have never heard of.”
Finally, I’m known to readers of this blog primarily for my non-day job activities, but I spend my work days focused on matters of innovation and the impact of the Internet (particularly when it comes to the news media). Between the three of us, we cover a large amount of bandwidth, and we hope you’ll find our blog interesting and thought-provoking.