Image for post
Image for post

There is a bipartisan push to make high-speed broadband a key component of an infrastructure bill. President Biden promised to support cities and towns wanting to build broadband networks during his campaign, saying it “will encourage competition among providers, to increase speeds and decrease prices in urban, suburban, and rural areas.” Ultimately, Biden concludes, “high-speed internet access should be a great economic equalizer for rural America, not another economic disadvantage.” The CGO has published a spate of research recently, which suggests that policymakers should moderate their expectations. Oddly enough, competition is poorly connected to broadband quality, and broadband buildout is…


A series on big tech and antitrust in the 21st century

Image for post
Image for post

This post is part one of a series that explores the current Big Tech antitrust cases.

The case against Google filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) finds its roots in a common theory about platforms. As the complaint summarizes,

Most general search engines do not charge a cash price to consumers. At least one, Bing, even offers to pay consumers rewards for using its general search engine. That does not mean, however, that these general search engines are free. When a consumer uses Google, the consumer provides personal information and attention in exchange for search results. …


Image for post
Image for post

Last week, BioNTech and Pfizer announced that their COVID-19 vaccine had shown efficacy in human trials, and this Monday, Moderna did the same. No one was sure this point would ever be reached. Both groups have submitted applications to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency approval, paving the way for the vaccines to be distributed beginning sometime next year. Both are projecting 95 percent effectiveness, far above the threshold of 80 percent required to extinguish an epidemic without any other measures like social distancing.

Since the first discovered case in the U.S. in January of 2020, COVID-19 has…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Caio from Pexels

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has now filed its long-awaited case against Google, taking aim at the company for its “anticompetitive tactics to maintain and extend its monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising.” The primary focus of this case is narrower than expected, alleging that Google “entered into exclusionary agreements, including tying arrangements, and engaged in anticompetitive conduct to lock up distribution channels and block rivals.” …


Image for post
Image for post
Source

Photographers often lament taking pictures in Romania. Taking a clear photo of centuries-old homes and city centers is difficult because of the wires. Everywhere they are strung, breaking up the views.

Part of the reason for these dense nests of wires comes as a result of Romania’s wired broadband networks, which had their genesis in the apartments of Bucharest. Even before the commercial Internet came to the country in the late 1990s, computers were common in the apartment complexes in the capital city. Back then, people would network themselves together into large local area networks to play games, watch movies…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

A recent paper published in the American Economic Review has reignited interest in data property rights. In “Nonrivalry and the Economics of Data,” economists Charles I. Jones and Christopher Tonetti generate insights on data property regimes by beginning first with a simple model of data. After articulating the idea within a model of the economy, the authors can conclude, “Giving data property rights to consumers can generate allocations that are close to optimal.” These conclusions hinge on how the authors define both data and rivalry.

Jones and Tonetti are upfront in their goals in that the “paper develops a theoretical…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

Policymakers worry about the impact on workers from robots and other automation techniques. COVID-19 has pushed many companies to consider automating or embracing robots for public health. Workers worry that after the pandemic, they’ll find a robot in their place. Those fears are overblown. After all, it took a global pandemic for many companies to embrace automation.

Fears about losing jobs are realistic in some industries. Vending machines, electronic toll booths are just two forms of everyday automation. However, the data don’t support the broad strokes of a fearful story. Instead, automation will be a slow process in many sectors…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Joakim Honkasalo on Unsplash

CEOs from Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple are set to appear before the House Antitrust Subcommittee today to discuss competition on their platforms. This hearing will vary dramatically in the key questions and policy remedies posed to each company. The following FAQ helps cut through the noise.

Why is the Antitrust Subcommittee hauling in these tech CEOs?

In a joint statement, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline explained the purpose of this hearing,

Since last June, the Subcommittee has been investigating the dominance of a small number of digital platforms and the adequacy of existing antitrust laws and enforcement. Given the central role these…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

On June 16, former presidential hopeful Andrew Yang took to Twitter to call out Facebook,

Yang asks an important question, “How much of that value are users seeing?” Normally, economists use prices and quantity of sales to measure how much value a sector creates. Since social media services are said to be free, it is confusedly assumed that users don’t value them. A service that is free in price doesn’t mean it is free of cost. Time spent on Facebook, after all, can’t be spent hiking or playing basketball, for example.

To deal with a lack of explicit prices, economists…


By Will Rinehart and Christopher Koopman

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

President Trump is, by all accounts, the first social media president. His use of these platforms allowed him to side-step political insiders, win the GOP nomination, and find his way into the oval office. The megaphone that sites like Facebook and Twitter have provided the president is unprecedented, and announcements traditionally made from rose gardens and behind the Resolute desk are now made in tweetstorms.

That is why the latest spat with social media is quickly becoming a dangerous game for President Trump. In an effort to punish Twitter for fact-checking him, he signed…

Will Rinehart

Senior Research Fellow | Center for Growth and Opportunity | @WillRinehart

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store