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Research Roundup #5: Virtual Economics, E-Commerce Regulation, and more

Research Roundup #5: Virtual Economics, E-Commerce Regulation, and more

Today’s Research Roundup includes thirty studies on economics, law, and technology. Of these we highlight two papers that undertake complementary analyses of some implications of moving our lives increasingly online.

Vili Lehdonvirta of the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology offers an impressively lengthy look into virtual consumption, that is, the purchase of a unique class of not-quite-goods, not-quite-services that exist only within the confines of an online environment (items for sale in a computer game are the classic example).  With a decidedly sociological approach, Lehdonvirta seeks to answer “why do people spend real money on virtual goods?”

Miriam Cherry of the University of the Pacific looks at the virtual individual as producer by cataloging the phenomenon of “cyberwork.”  As opposed to Lehdonvirta’s more abstract academic exercise, Cherry considers for-pay online activity with an eye for how it relates to existing protections and legal frameworks in the offline labor market, including anti-discrimination laws, wage standards, and even unionization (for example, she believes virtual work will “encourage unions, out of necessity, to adopt a more global perspective”).

Neither study has many immediate policy implications.  Nevertheless, their consideration of such novel—and perhaps someday fundamental—elements of the economy remind us there is a lot left to learn about the digital age.

(Click through to the full post to see the list of papers and abstract excerpts)

Internet Governance

Emily Alexandra Wilsdon

“In order to pursue reform effectively, ICANN should focus on transparency, giving reasons, and strengthened review. To be successful however, requires strong backing from all states and an ‘entrepreneur’ type Board with the expertise, interest, and focus on GAL ideas, and genuine representatives to form a coalition to push for reform effectively. Counter-intuitively, a crisis of legitimacy created by criticism that ICANN is unaccountable might strengthen the force of democratic norms in its design, as NGOs and others are empowered to demand reform.”

Net Neutrality

Paul Njoroge, Asuman E. Ozdaglar, Nicolas E. Stier-Moses, Gabriel Y. Weintraub

“This paper develops a game theoretic model based on a two-sided market framework to investigate net neutrality from a pricing perspective. In particular, we consider investment incentives of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) under both a neutral and non-neutral network regimes… Overall, under the assumptions of our model, social welfare is larger in the non-neutral regime.”

Marcelo Thompson

“An avenue… was arguably opened by the D.C. Circuit for the Commission to explore the impacts of services it does not have direct authority to regulate (e.g. voice-over-IP services and Internet video services) upon those it does have the authority to (e.g. common carrier services and broadcasting services). In a recent move, however, the Commission undertook to ignore such impacts. Instead, it chose to rely on the fiction that the transmission component of broadband Internet services is something separate from the Internet – “not the Internet” – and thus can be regulated based on provisions that grant the Commission the authority to regulate common carrier services, with some caveats.

Andres Hervas-Drane

“We present a vertical differentiation model to assess the quality-wise strategy of an incumbent telecommunications operator under open access regimes. We show that it is always profitable for an incumbent subject to wholesale regulation to degrade wholesale quality in a non-recoverable fashion. Our findings are robust to the number of competitors and the price cap level, unlike those predicted by the cost-raising discrimination paradigm.”

Rob Frieden

“This paper will consider the network neutrality debate in the context of these three different layered components of the Internet. The paper will show that compelling arguments for enforceable network neutrality rules are strongest at the low layer, contestible at the middle layer and unnecessary at the high layer [applications and content]. Such a nuanced view of network neutrality explains that the need for government involvement depends on which part of the Internet’s networking infrastructure one examines.”

Security

Jordan Blair Woods

“This article argues that the Internet has the potential to improve bias crime reporting and proposes that U.S. law enforcement departments include bias crimes on their official crime-reporting websites. Bias crimes are severely underreported. Cultural and language barriers, distrust of the police, fear of deportation, and fear of public exposure are some of the common factors that contribute to the underreporting of bias crimes. Online bias-crime reporting has the potential to avoid some of these obstacles, and thus improve bias crime reporting…”

Dr. Tabrez Ahmad

“The main object of this paper is to analyse the challenge of internet regulation to combat phishing. The paper analyses the concept and prevalence of phishing victimization issues and the role of internet. The paper suggests a multilevel action plan to help and empower the victims of phishing. The paper also analyses the plan in international cyber forensic scenario to determine the challenge of phishing in internet regulation.”

Parikshit Kshirsagar

“Increasingly, cybercrime and identity theft are becoming synonymous. Cybercriminals are increasingly making use of the internet to make money, and the author fears, with increasing success and greater anonymity. Identity fraud having been labeled as ‘one of the fastest growing crimes of the twenty-first century’, this author considers it pertinent to discuss its significance and some possible solutions from overseas with a view to constructively managing its harmful effects on Australian society.”

Tech and Macroeconomics

Ashish Arora, Lee Branstetter, Matej Drev

“Using a broad unbalanced panel of US and Japanese publicly listed IT firms in the period 1983-1999, we show that (a) Japanese IT innovation relies less on software advances than US IT innovation, (b) the innovation performance of Japanese IT firms is increasingly lagging behind that of their US counterparts, particularly in IT sectors that are more software intensive, and (c) that US IT firms are increasingly outperforming their Japanese counterparts, particularly in more software intensive sectors. The findings of this paper thus provide a fresh explanation for the relative decline of the Japanese IT industry in the 1990s.”

Guy Michaels, Ashwini Natraj, John Van Reenen

“OECD labor markets have become more “polarized” with employment in the middle of the skill distribution falling relative to the top and (in recent years) also the bottom of the skill distribution…Using industry level data on the US, Japan, and nine European countries 1980-2004 we find evidence consistent with ICT-based polarization. Industries with faster growth of ICT had greater increases in relative demand for high educated workers and bigger falls in relative demand for middle educated workers. Trade openness is also associated with polarization, but this is not robust to controls for technology (like R&D).”

Ashish Arora, Surendra K. Bagde

“In this study we study the effect of the supply of engineers, measured by engineering baccalaureate capacity, on the regional growth of the software exports [in India] between 1990 and 2003. We find significant effect of engineering baccalaureate capacity on the growth of software exports even after controlling for other relevant factors. This conclusion is especially interesting because much of this capacity is due to private, rather than publicly supported colleges, and testifies to the private willingness to invest in human capital even in poor countries.”

Economics of the Internet

Nir Kshetri

“Click fraud is arguably the cyber-world’s biggest scam. We examine the contexts, mechanisms and processes associated with the click fraud industry from the economics viewpoint. We investigate how the nature of the electronic channel affects strategic elements of click fraudsters and advertisers. We also discuss how institutions can add value or cost to various actors that are linked to this industry.”

Mehnaz Bandookwala

“I examine the effect that radio airplay has on the sale of digital music in New Zealand. This effect is also likely to influence the behavior of various music industry participants, including the record companies, radio industry and listeners. I find that on an industry level, radio airplay has no significant effect on the sale of digital music. However, on average, an increase in radio airplay of a given song is predicted to increase sales of that song, which is the so-called exposure effect.”

Vili Lehdonvirta

“In popular discourse, spending real money on virtual goods is frequently attributed to Internet addiction and manipulation by marketers. The results of this dissertation suggest that the fundamental drivers of virtual consumption are rather found in individuals’ social and hedonic motivations.  In online spaces, virtual goods function as markers of status, elements of identity and means towards ends in the same way as material consumer goods do in similarly contrived physical spaces. The impact of virtual goods is not limited to virtual communities, however, because pre-existing social relations are also increasingly acted out in online spaces.”

Miriam A. Cherry

“Millions of people worldwide entertain themselves or supplement their incomes – or both – by meeting with fellow employees as avatars in virtual worlds such as Second Life, solving complicated problems on websites like Innocentive, or casually “clicking” to make money for simple tasks on Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk. Virtual work has great promise – increasing efficiency by reducing the time and expense involved in gathering workers who live great distances apart, and allowing for efficient use of skills so that the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts. At the same time, virtual work presents its own unique series of challenges, and regulation is needed to ensure that the end result is not virtual sweatshops.”

Jane K. Winn

“This paper considers three case studies: electronic signature laws as a form of direct regulation; the Single Euro Payment Area as a form of co-regulation, and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard as a form of self-regulation. These case studies suggest that electronic commerce law in global markets is based on a form of legal pluralism that is reminiscent in some ways of the traditional law merchant, and that if its role in regulating commercial transactions is more clearly recognized, that may aid national regulators in retaining their authority over their domestic markets.”

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Frauke G. Braun, Jens Schmidt-Ehmcke, Petra Zloczysti

“We investigate two major renewable energy technologies wind and solar across a panel of 21 OECD countries over the period 1978 to 2004. Spillovers may occur at the national level, either within the same technology field or economic sector (intra-sectoral spillovers) or in related technologies or sectors (inter-sectoral spillovers), or at the international level. We find that innovation is strongly driven by knowledge spillovers, especially those occurring at the national level.”

Pekka Stenholm, Zoltan J. Acs, Robert Wuebker

“This study introduces a novel multidimensional measure of the entrepreneurial environment that reveals the variation in the rate and type of entrepreneurial activity within a country. Drawing from institutional theory, the measure examines the regulatory, normative, and cognitive dimensions of entrepreneurial activity, and introduces a novel conducive dimension that measures the capability of a country to support high-impact entrepreneurship…Our tentative findings suggest that differences in institutional arrangements are associated with variance in both the amount and quality of entrepreneurial activity across countries.”

Broadband

George S. Ford

“In this Perspective, I provide more evidence demonstrating the illegitimacy of the OECD’s per-capita broadband rankings as a reliable measure of relative performance for broadband adoption. …Additionally, I provided a brief discussion in the general weakness of rankings data of any sort, and demonstrate why the whole exercise of comparing adoption rates is not productive.”

Anindya Chaudhuri

“[I]t is puzzling as to why broadband adoption in India is and remains low, even falling short of modest official projections by half. This paper makes the case for information-driven policymaking by summarizing the current state of knowledge in this area and arguing that (a) we do not have a good understanding of the drivers and economic effects of broadband in India, and (b) this lack of understanding is largely due to the absence of a systematic way of monitoring the technological pulse of the nation.”

Girish J. Gulati, David J. Yates

“Our research examines the broadband digital divide by analyzing the impact of administrative culture and policy initiatives in the form of strategic planning, execution, regulation and investment on broadband diffusion in 151 countries. Our multiple regression analysis shows that when controlling for measures of economic, political, social and educational development, there is greater broadband diffusion in countries that have an administrative culture of sound governance and make a higher shared financial investment in information and communication technologies. Competition in the telecommunications sector has a positive impact in nations where access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) is expanding, but does not make a significant difference where ICT access is widely available. Most intriguing is that while the presence of a national telecommunications regulatory authority has no impact on broadband diffusion in the technologically developed countries, it has a negative impact on diffusion in technologically developing countries.”

Intellectual Property

Heidi L. Williams

“This paper provides empirical evidence on how intellectual property (IP) on a given technology affects subsequent innovation… I analyze the sequencing of the human genome by the public Human Genome Project and the private firm Celera, and estimate the impact of Celera’s gene-level IP on subsequent scientific research and product development outcomes. … [A]nalyses suggest Celera’s IP led to reductions in subsequent scientific research and product development outcomes on the order of 30 percent. Celera’s short-term IP thus appears to have had persistent negative effects on subsequent innovation relative to a counterfactual of Celera genes having always been in the public domain.”

Mark Perry, Thomas Margoni

“Increasingly the digital content used in everyday life has little or no human intervention in its creation. Typically, when such content is delivered to consumers it comes with attached claims of copyright. However, depending on the jurisdiction, approaches to ownership of computer-generated works vary from legislated to uncertain. In this paper we look at the various approaches taken by the common law, and the legislative approach take in the United Kingdom”

Steven D. Jamar

I propose that the copyright law in the online social networking context should explicitly authorize the sorts of interactions generally done by online social network participants now. Codifying current practice would cause little if any negative impact to the creation of and commercial exploitation of copyrighted works for those wanting to do so. To the extent there would be any negative impact, it would be insubstantial, and financial incentives attendant to the copyright monopoly for the creation of new works would still be more than sufficient–music, literature, and movies would still be created and commercially exploited.”

Rochelle Dreyfuss

“This paper therefore starts from the proposition that intellectual property rights will not soon disappear. It is intended to contribute to a new conversation on how intellectual property law ought to change in order to accommodate and sustain what Mario Biagioli has termed IP without IP”

Energy

Carlo Cambini, Laura Rondi

“This paper examines the investment and financial decisions of a sample of 92 EU regulated utilities, taking into account key institutional features of EU public utilities, such as: a) regulation by agencies with various degrees of independence; b) partial ownership of the state in the regulated firm; and c) the government’s political orientation, which may ultimately influence the regulatory climate to be either more pro-firm or more pro-consumers. Our results show that regulatory independence matters for both investment and financial decisions. Investment increases under an Independent Regulatory Agency (IRA), while ownership has no effect.”

Francesc Trillas
“The economics of federalism…may shed light on how regulatory jurisdiction is allocated in EU electricity and telecommunications markets. Specifically, this paper assesses the evolution of reform up to and including the third EU packages, which continue the liberalization and integration process in these markets.”

Grant D. Jacobsen, Matthew J. Kotchen

“This paper provides the first evaluation of an energy-code change that uses residential billing data on both electricity and natural gas, combined with data on observable characteristics of each residence. The study takes place in Gainesville, Florida, and the empirical strategy is based on comparisons between residences constructed just before and just after Florida increased the stringency of its energy code in 2002. We find that the increased stringency of the energy code is associated with a 4-percent decrease in electricity consumption and a 6-percent decrease in natural-gas consumption. The pattern of savings is consistent with reduced consumption of electricity for air-conditioning and reduced consumption of natural gas for heating. We also estimate economic costs and benefits and find that the private payback period for the average residence is 6.4 years. The social payback period, which accounts for the avoided costs of air-pollution emissions, ranges between 3.5 and 5.3 years.”

Competition and Antitrust

Jason Croft

“This Article examines the FCC’s ongoing investigation of Apple’s handling of an application submitted to Apple’s AppStore. The application, called Google Voice, was intended for installation on Apple’s popular iPhone. This Article will analyze Apple’s alleged rejection of Google Voice from the FCC’s perspective. The article discusses the Apple’s conduct through the lens of the Sherman Act….”

Wireless and Spectrum

George S. Ford

“This paper is a review of the OECD’s mobile telephone pricing metric is provided with an analysis of prices in the Netherlands and the United States.”

Net Neutrality

Investment in Two Sided Markets and the Net Neutrality Debate

Paul Njoroge, Asuman E. Ozdaglar, Nicolas E. Stier-Moses, Gabriel Y. Weintraub

“This paper develops a game theoretic model based on a two-sided market framework to investigate net neutrality from a pricing perspective. In particular, we consider investment incentives of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) under both a neutral and non-neutral network regimes… Overall, under the assumptions of our model, social welfare is larger in the non-neutral regime.”

The Sheriff of ‘Not-the-Internet’: Reflections on Comcast v. FCC

Marcelo Thompson

“An avenue… was arguably opened by the D.C. Circuit for the Commission to explore the impacts of services it does not have direct authority to regulate (e.g. voice-over-IP services and Internet video services) upon those it does have the authority to (e.g. common carrier services and broadcasting services). In a recent move, however, the Commission undertook to ignore such impacts. Instead, it chose to rely on the fiction that the transmission component of broadband Internet services is something separate from the Internet – “not the Internet” – and thus can be regulated based on provisions that grant the Commission the authority to regulate common carrier services, with some caveats.

Non-Cost-Raising Discrimination: A Rationale for Functional Separation in Broadband Open Access

Andres Hervas-Drane

“We present a vertical differentiation model to assess the quality-wise strategy of an incumbent telecommunications operator under open access regimes. We show that it is always profitable for an incumbent subject to wholesale regulation to degrade wholesale quality in a non-recoverable fashion. Our findings are robust to the number of competitors and the price cap level, unlike those predicted by the cost-raising discrimination paradigm.”

Assessing the Merits of Network Neutrality Obligations at Low, Medium and High Network Layers

Rob Frieden

“This paper will consider the network neutrality debate in the context of these three different layered components of the Internet. The paper will show that compelling arguments for enforceable network neutrality rules are strongest at the low layer, contestible at the middle layer and unnecessary at the high layer [applications and content]. Such a nuanced view of network neutrality explains that the need for government involvement depends on which part of the Internet’s networking infrastructure one examines.”

Security

The Internet’s Promise to Improve Bias Crime Reporting: The Case for Including Bias Crimes on Official Crime-Reporting Websites

Jordan Blair Woods

“This article argues that the Internet has the potential to improve bias crime reporting and proposes that U.S. law enforcement departments include bias crimes on their official crime-reporting websites. Bias crimes are severely underreported. Cultural and language barriers, distrust of the police, fear of deportation, and fear of public exposure are some of the common factors that contribute to the underreporting of bias crimes. Online bias-crime reporting has the potential to avoid some of these obstacles, and thus improve bias crime reporting…”

Victims of Phishing and Challenges of Internet Regulation

Dr. Tabrez Ahmad

“The main object of this paper is to analyse the challenge of internet regulation to combat phishing. The paper analyses the concept and prevalence of phishing victimization issues and the role of internet. The paper suggests a multilevel action plan to help and empower the victims of phishing. The paper also analyses the plan in international cyber forensic scenario to determine the challenge of phishing in internet regulation.”

The Problem of Identity Protection in Cyberspace and Some Suggestions

Parikshit Kshirsagar

“Increasingly, cybercrime and identity theft are becoming synonymous. Cybercriminals are increasingly making use of the internet to make money, and the author fears, with increasing success and greater anonymity. Identity fraud having been labeled as ‘one of the fastest growing crimes of the twenty-first century’, this author considers it pertinent to discuss its significance and some possible solutions from overseas with a view to constructively managing its harmful effects on Australian society.”

Tech and Macroeconomics

Going Soft: How the Rise of Software Based Innovation Led to the Decline of Japan’s IT Industry and the Resurgence of Silicon Valley

Ashish Arora, Lee Branstetter, Matej Drev

“Using a broad unbalanced panel of US and Japanese publicly listed IT firms in the period 1983-1999, we show that (a) Japanese IT innovation relies less on software advances than US IT innovation, (b) the innovation performance of Japanese IT firms is increasingly lagging behind that of their US counterparts, particularly in IT sectors that are more software intensive, and (c) that US IT firms are increasingly outperforming their Japanese counterparts, particularly in more software intensive sectors. The findings of this paper thus provide a fresh explanation for the relative decline of the Japanese IT industry in the 1990s.”

Has ICT Polarized Skill Demand? Evidence from Eleven Countries Over 25 Years

Guy Michaels, Ashwini Natraj, John Van Reenen

“OECD labor markets have become more “polarized” with employment in the middle of the skill distribution falling relative to the top and (in recent years) also the bottom of the skill distribution…Using industry level data on the US, Japan, and nine European countries 1980-2004 we find evidence consistent with ICT-based polarization. Industries with faster growth of ICT had greater increases in relative demand for high educated workers and bigger falls in relative demand for middle educated workers. Trade openness is also associated with polarization, but this is not robust to controls for technology (like R&D).”

Human capital and the Indian software industry

Ashish Arora, Surendra K. Bagde

“In this study we study the effect of the supply of engineers, measured by engineering baccalaureate capacity, on the regional growth of the software exports [in India] between 1990 and 2003. We find significant effect of engineering baccalaureate capacity on the growth of software exports even after controlling for other relevant factors. This conclusion is especially interesting because much of this capacity is due to private, rather than publicly supported colleges, and testifies to the private willingness to invest in human capital even in poor countries.”


Economics of the Internet

The Economics of Click Fraud

Nir Kshetri

“Click fraud is arguably the cyber-world’s biggest scam. We examine the contexts, mechanisms and processes associated with the click fraud industry from the economics viewpoint. We investigate how the nature of the electronic channel affects strategic elements of click fraudsters and advertisers. We also discuss how institutions can add value or cost to various actors that are linked to this industry.”

Radio Airplay, Digital Music Sales and the Fallacy of Composition in New Zealand

Mehnaz Bandookwala

“I examine the effect that radio airplay has on the sale of digital music in New Zealand. This effect is also likely to influence the behavior of various music industry participants, including the record companies, radio industry and listeners. I find that on an industry level, radio airplay has no significant effect on the sale of digital music. However, on average, an increase in radio airplay of a given song is predicted to increase sales of that song, which is the so-called exposure effect.”

Virtual Consumption

Vili Lehdonvirta

“In popular discourse, spending real money on virtual goods is frequently attributed to Internet addiction and manipulation by marketers. The results of this dissertation suggest that the fundamental drivers of virtual consumption are rather found in individuals’ social and hedonic motivations. In online spaces, virtual goods function as markers of status, elements of identity and means towards ends in the same way as material consumer goods do in similarly contrived physical spaces. The impact of virtual goods is not limited to virtual communities, however, because pre-existing social relations are also increasingly acted out in online spaces.”

A Taxonomy of Virtual Work

Miriam A. Cherry

“Millions of people worldwide entertain themselves or supplement their incomes – or both – by meeting with fellow employees as avatars in virtual worlds such as Second Life, solving complicated problems on websites like Innocentive, or casually “clicking” to make money for simple tasks on Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk. Virtual work has great promise – increasing efficiency by reducing the time and expense involved in gathering workers who live great distances apart, and allowing for efficient use of skills so that the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts. At the same time, virtual work presents its own unique series of challenges, and regulation is needed to ensure that the end result is not virtual sweatshops.”

Electronic Commerce Law: Direct Regulation, Co-Regulation and Self-Regulation

Jane K. Winn

“…This paper considers three case studies: electronic signature laws as a form of direct regulation; the Single Euro Payment Area as a form of co-regulation, and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard as a form of self-regulation. These case studies suggest that electronic commerce law in global markets is based on a form of legal pluralism that is reminiscent in some ways of the traditional law merchant, and that if its role in regulating commercial transactions is more clearly recognized, that may aid national regulators in retaining their authority over their domestic markets.”

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Innovative Activity in Wind and Solar Technology: Empirical Evidence on Knowledge Spillovers Using Patent Data

Frauke G. Braun, Jens Schmidt-Ehmcke, Petra Zloczysti

“We investigate two major renewable energy technologies wind and solar across a panel of 21 OECD countries over the period 1978 to 2004. Spillovers may occur at the national level, either within the same technology field or economic sector (intra-sectoral spillovers) or in related technologies or sectors (inter-sectoral spillovers), or at the international level. We find that innovation is strongly driven by knowledge spillovers, especially those occurring at the national level.”

Globalization, Institutions, and Entrepreneurship: Determining Entrepreneurial Activity Using Country-Level Institutional Measures

Pekka Stenholm, Zoltan J. Acs, Robert Wuebker

“This study introduces a novel multidimensional measure of the entrepreneurial environment that reveals the variation in the rate and type of entrepreneurial activity within a country. Drawing from institutional theory, the measure examines the regulatory, normative, and cognitive dimensions of entrepreneurial activity, and introduces a novel conducive dimension that measures the capability of a country to support high-impact entrepreneurship…Our tentative findings suggest that differences in institutional arrangements are associated with variance in both the amount and quality of entrepreneurial activity across countries.”

Broadband

Fabricating a Broadband Crisis? More Evidence on the Misleading Inferences from OECD Rankings

George S. Ford

“In this Perspective, I provide more evidence demonstrating the illegitimacy of the OECD’s per-capita broadband rankings as a reliable measure of relative performance for broadband adoption. …Additionally, I provided a brief discussion in the general weakness of rankings data of any sort, and demonstrate why the whole exercise of comparing adoption rates is not productive.”

Broadband Policy in India: What Do We Know? What Do We Need to Know?

Anindya Chaudhuri

“[I]t is puzzling as to why broadband adoption in India is and remains low, even falling short of modest official projections by half. This paper makes the case for information-driven policymaking by summarizing the current state of knowledge in this area and arguing that (a) we do not have a good understanding of the drivers and economic effects of broadband in India, and (b) this lack of understanding is largely due to the absence of a systematic way of monitoring the technological pulse of the nation.”

The Impact of Governance Indicators and Policy Variables on Broadband Diffusion in the Developed and Developing Worlds

Girish J. Gulati, David J. Yates

“Our research examines the broadband digital divide by analyzing the impact of administrative culture and policy initiatives in the form of strategic planning, execution, regulation and investment on broadband diffusion in 151 countries. Our multiple regression analysis shows that when controlling for measures of economic, political, social and educational development, there is greater broadband diffusion in countries that have an administrative culture of sound governance and make a higher shared financial investment in information and communication technologies. Competition in the telecommunications sector has a positive impact in nations where access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) is expanding, but does not make a significant difference where ICT access is widely available. Most intriguing is that while the presence of a national telecommunications regulatory authority has no impact on broadband diffusion in the technologically developed countries, it has a negative impact on diffusion in technologically developing countries.””

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation: Evidence from the Human Genome

Heidi L. Williams

“This paper provides empirical evidence on how intellectual property (IP) on a given technology affects subsequent innovation… I analyze the sequencing of the human genome by the public Human Genome Project and the private firm Celera, and estimate the impact of Celera’s gene-level IP on subsequent scientific research and product development outcomes. … [A]nalyses suggest Celera’s IP led to reductions in subsequent scientific research and product development outcomes on the order of 30 percent. Celera’s short-term IP thus appears to have had persistent negative effects on subsequent innovation relative to a counterfactual of Celera genes having always been in the public domain.”

From Music Tracks to Google Maps: Who Owns Computer Generated Works?

Mark Perry, Thomas Margoni

“Increasingly the digital content used in everyday life has little or no human intervention in its creation. Typically, when such content is delivered to consumers it comes with attached claims of copyright. However, depending on the jurisdiction, approaches to ownership of computer-generated works vary from legislated to uncertain. In this paper we look at the various approaches taken by the common law, and the legislative approach take in the United Kingdom”

Crafting Copyright Law to Encourage and Protect User-Generated Content in the Internet Social Networking Context

Steven D. Jamar

I propose that the copyright law in the online social networking context should explicitly authorize the sorts of interactions generally done by online social network participants now. Codifying current practice would cause little if any negative impact to the creation of and commercial exploitation of copyrighted works for those wanting to do so. To the extent there would be any negative impact, it would be insubstantial, and financial incentives attendant to the copyright monopoly for the creation of new works would still be more than sufficient–music, literature, and movies would still be created and commercially exploited.”

Does IP Need IP? Accommodating Intellectual Production Outside the Intellectual Property Paradigm

Rochelle Dreyfuss

“This paper therefore starts from the proposition that intellectual property rights will not soon disappear. It is intended to contribute to a new conversation on how intellectual property law ought to change in order to accommodate and sustain what Mario Biagioli has termed IP without IP”

Energy

Regulatory Independence and Political Interference: Evidence from EU Mixed-Ownership Utilities’ Investment and Debt

Carlo Cambini, Laura Rondi

“This paper examines the investment and financial decisions of a sample of 92 EU regulated utilities, taking into account key institutional features of EU public utilities, such as: a) regulation by agencies with various degrees of independence; b) partial ownership of the state in the regulated firm; and c) the government’s political orientation, which may ultimately influence the regulatory climate to be either more pro-firm or more pro-consumers. Our results show that regulatory independence matters for both investment and financial decisions. Investment increases under an Independent Regulatory Agency (IRA), while ownership has no effect.”

Electricity and Telecoms Reforms in the EU: Insights from the Economics of Federalism

Francesc Trillas
“The economics of federalism…may shed light on how regulatory jurisdiction is allocated in EU electricity and telecommunications markets. Specifically, this paper assesses the evolution of reform up to and including the third EU packages, which continue the liberalization and integration process in these markets.”

Are Building Codes Effective at Saving Energy? Evidence from Residential Billing Data in Florida

Grant D. Jacobsen, Matthew J. Kotchen

This paper provides the first evaluation of an energy-code change that uses residential billing data on both electricity and natural gas, combined with data on observable characteristics of each residence. The study takes place in Gainesville, Florida, and the empirical strategy is based on comparisons between residences constructed just before and just after Florida increased the stringency of its energy code in 2002. We find that the increased stringency of the energy code is associated with a 4-percent decrease in electricity consumption and a 6-percent decrease in natural-gas consumption. The pattern of savings is consistent with reduced consumption of electricity for air-conditioning and reduced consumption of natural gas for heating. We also estimate economic costs and benefits and find that the private payback period for the average residence is 6.4 years. The social payback period, which accounts for the avoided costs of air-pollution emissions, ranges between 3.5 and 5.3 years.

Competition and Antitrust

Antitrust and Communications Policy: There’s an App for Just About Anything, Except Google Voice

Jason Croft

“This Article examines the FCC’s ongoing investigation of Apple’s handling of an application submitted to Apple’s AppStore. The application, called Google Voice, was intended for installation on Apple’s popular iPhone. This Article will analyze Apple’s alleged rejection of Google Voice from the FCC’s perspective. The article discusses the Apple’s conduct through the lens of the Sherman Act….”

Wireless and Spectrum

Be Careful What You Ask for: A Comment on the OECD’s Mobile Price Metrics

George S. Ford

“This paper is a review of the OECD’s mobile telephone pricing metric is provided with an analysis of prices in the Netherlands and the United States.”

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