Issues

Competition Policy and Antitrust

Competition policy uses economic analysis to enhance our understanding of how firm behavior affects social welfare. Scholars featured on this site consider how technology markets function, and the special issues raised by networks, platforms, interoperability, and bundling by firms like Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

Innovation and Economic Growth

Researchers today are trying to understand how information technology affects innovation, productivity, and economic growth while studying the impact of political and legal ground rules. Academics featured here are looking at the potential to create jobs and keep policymakers aware of emerging trends in technology.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) rights help creators limit who uses their work without giving value in return. This protection encourages innovation in thought and expression. Academics featured on this site research topics such as open source licensing, digital rights management, patent reform, IP and technical standards, trademarks, and trade secrets.

Copyright and Trademark

Copyrights and trademark are both types of intellectual property (IP). Copyright is a legal term describing rights given to creators for their literary and artistic works. A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment.

Open Source

Open source is an approach to the design, development, and distribution of software, offering accessibility to a software’s source code. It is a licensing model of intellectual property.

Patents

A patent provides protection for an invention to the owner of the patent. The protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years. Patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without the patent owner's consent.

Interoperability

Interoperability refers to the ability of diverse systems and organizations to work together. Although the term is often used in a technical sense, cultural, political and business factors can lead to data not being shared. Interoperability can be achieved through initial product design, collaboration in product development, standards, and licensing design.

Standards

A standard is a recognized definition or format. In the IT world, standards allow for reliable data exchange and hardware interoperability regardless of the computer vendor, individual programmer, or network provider.

Networks, the Internet, and Cloud Computing

This section contains research on the networks that make the Internet work, the evolution of different business models that operate on the Internet, and ways to store and access information on the Internet through Cloud Computing.

Cloud Computing

Advanced Web-based technologies now allow consumers to either keep files and functions on the desktop, or to buy those services from firms running computer servers elsewhere. Researchers featured on TAP explore the implications of these trends for pricing, competition, and security of content and services delivered and housed remotely.

Internet

Different business models have evolved for providing information on the Internet, including search engines, which make money from advertising; subscription web sites; and free web sites which drive off-line sales. Scholars examine the evolution of this marketplace and its implications for content providers and businesses.

Media and Content

The easy availability of information on the Internet may lead to the commoditization of content. However, if content is free or low cost, it may be difficult for those who produce it (like journalists) to earn a living. Economists and other scholars examine this tension and suggest various solutions.

Search and Advertising

Economists are interested in how the design of ad auctions affects search engine revenues, and how access to the Internet – and thus to search engines – affects retail prices and possibly leads to higher prices for certain consumers.

Networks and Infrastructure

Although “the Internet” seems ethereal, it is in fact a network of networks that connects billions of users around the world. The capabilities of the Internet are dependent on the reach of those networks. Many governments worldwide are considering how to effectively and efficiently make robust networks available to their citizens to enable them to access the Internet.

Broadband

“Broadband” refers to high-speed data networks that allow users to access Internet services such as streaming media, VoIP, etc. Broadband is often defined by regulators based on the data rates or “speed” the network provides. The speeds which define broadband have changed – and will continue to change – as technologies improve and infrastructure investments continue.

Net Neutrality

“Net Neutrality” refers to the concept of an “open Internet” whereby end-users can access the lawful content, applications, services and devices of their choice. Policymakers around the world are considering whether and how to ensure that the Internet remains “open” and Internet access service providers do not improperly block or degrade content sent over their networks.

Wireless

Wireless networks allow users to access telecommunications and the Internet while on the move. The wireless devices operate on the electromagnetic spectrum, which is a finite resource. The allocation and assignment of spectrum, particularly given the burgeoning demand for wireless access to the Internet, poses a unique set of policy decisions for regulators worldwide.

Privacy and Security

Information technology lets people learn about one another on a scale previously unimaginable. Information in the wrong hands can be harmful. Scholars on this site consider problems of privacy, fraud, identity, and security posed by the digital age.