Economics and politics of the knowledge economy

The emerging knowledge industries and the corresponding technologies have drastically lowered the costs of communication, measurement, and monitoring. We use the new institutional economics to examine how new developments, such as digitalisation of data, computerisation, the internet, the web, and biotechnology are changing the economic, political, and social landscape by introducing new forms of exchange and governance.

The first three sessions of the course introduce a framework for analyzing the structure and evolution of economic and other social systems. We examine how the structure is constrained by available technologies, including social technologies, and how the shadow of history and the distribution of power shape social system. The approach draws on the new economics of institutions, and emphasizes property rights, transaction costs, and the role of ideology. The remaining nine sessions examine how the new information and communication technologies (ICTs) impacts economic systems by lowering the costs of communication, measuring, and monitoring. We examine how digitization of data, computerization, the internet, and biotechnology have undermined the status quo and changed the social landscape. We consider whether a new market structure is emerging; whether internet marketing facilitates or limits price discrimination; whether massive availability of personal data threatens privacy and whether big data will revolutionize social science; how new business models for creating and distributing books, music and other products are emerging. We ask whether current intellectual property institutions are still relevant, and how the new technology affects criminal behavior and crime prevention, wars, democratic processes and privacy, political oppression, social movements and resistance under dictators, and the future of big cities. And finally, in what direction is the ICT revolution heading?

The seminar has two main goals: (a) provide you with a theoretical approach for analyzing the structure and evolution of economic systems; (b) encourage you to think systematically and critically about the structure of social systems and institutional change in the new ICT Age.

This course is for 2nd year MIA and MPP students only.