Spring 2015

Economics 326:
Economics of Cyberspace

"As with any economy, the sharing economy is built upon exchange."
                        Lawrence Lessig

Fast Track to Course Calendar


Monday & Wednesday, 11AM
meets in 202 Skinner

Satya J. Gabriel
Professor of Economics
e-mail: sgabrielatmtholyoke.edu
FAX: 413-538-2323

Course Description:

This seminar explores the economic impact of the Internet, information technology, digitization, and the networked information economy on manufacturing and manufacturing networks, global and local finance, goods and services markets, innovation and invention, intellectual property rights, public finance and taxation, security and cybercrime, media, and social networking. We investigate the implications of the networked information economy and digitization, more broadly, for the creation of new economic (and social) relationships and the internet of everything. We also examine the continuing struggle over regulation of cyberspace across international boundaries and the definition and enforcement of intellectual property rights in a global context.

4 credits

Course Objectives:


Spring 2015

  • Texts 
  • Primary text: TBD in December, 2015. Stay Tuned.
  • Lessig, Remix, 2008, The Penguin Press
  • Web Case Studies & Essays (stay tuned) 
  • Grading policy 
  • Course grades will be based on your role in leading class discussion of selected readings, participation in a group project, and a semester research paper on a topic directly related to one or more of the assigned readings. If you want an "A" then you should take a consistent leadership role in the class, do the readings, take the discussions seriously, and your final paper should reflect a semester's worth of careful research, analysis, discussions, and revisions (not a last minute effort to finish the paper!). And, last but not least, if you really want an "A" or even an "A-" do not have your computer or computing device on while someone is leading discussion. Just because this is a course on the economics of Cyberspace does not mean you should spend precious discussion time inside of Cyberspace (rather than in discussion face-to-face with classmates)! So close that facebook account, stop shopping on Amazon, close that documentary on Netflix, and share the here and now with the rest of us in real-time MHC-space. Multi-tasking leads to inefficient learning, cheats you and your classmates out of the benefits of your full participation in the discussion (and your unique perspective), and can be quite distracting to other people in the course (especially if you are clacking away on a keyboard). Period.

    Course calendar (to be revised in December)

    Sept. 13 What is the economics of Cyberspace?
    Sept. 20 E-Money and E-Banking:
    ***Discussion of the reading below will be led by Lei Wah Wong:  
    "The Challenges Facing Currency Usage: Will the Traditional Transaction Medium Be Able to Resist Competition from the New Technologies?", Mathias Drehmann, Charles Goodhart, Malte Krueger, Michele Boldrin, and Andrew Rose, Economic Policy, vol. 17, no 34 (April 2002), 193-227.
    "The Future of Money," Daniel Roth, Wired Magazine, March 2010, 70-79.
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Zilin Cui:  "Electronic Banking for the Poor - Panacea, Potential and Pitfalls," David Cracknell, Small Enterprise Development, vol. 15 No. 4, 8-24.
    ***Discussion of the following paper will be led by Stephanie Lippert:   "Emergence of Financial Intermediaries on Electronic Markets: The Case of Online P2P Lending," Sven C. Berger and Fabian Gleisner (Feb. 26 2008).
    "E-Money and Payment System Risks," James J. McAndrews, Contemporary Economic Policy, vol. 17, no. 3 (July 1999), 348- 357.
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Dian Liu:   "Cows, Kiva, and Prosper.Com: How Disintermediation and the Internet are Changing Microfinance," Tillman Bruett, Community Development Investment Review, Federal Reserve Bank of SanFrancisco, vol. 3, no.2 (2007), 44-50.

    Video: "The Money Fix" by Alan Rosenblith
    Video: "A Fistful of Dollars: The Story of a Kiva.org Loan"
    Video: "To Catch a Dollar"
    Sept. 27 E-Finance:
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Lisan Gresser:    "Bankers' Perspectives on Internet Banking," Ravi Nath, Paul Schrick, and Monica Parzinger, e-Service Journal (2001), 21-36.
    "Is All That Talk Just Noise? The Information Content of Internet Stock Message Boards," Werner Antweiler and Murray Z. Frank, The Journal of Finance, vol. LIX, no. 3, (June 2004), 1259-1294.
    ***Discussion of the following paper will be led by Kevin Cecala:   "The Internet and the Investor," Brad M. Barber and Terrance Odean, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 15, no. 1 (Winter 2001), 41-54.
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Jialu Chen:   "Electronic Finance: Reshaping the Financial Landscape Around the World," Stijn Claessens, Thomas Glaessner, and Daniela Klingebiel, Journal of Financial Services Research 22:1/2 (2002), 29-61.
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Stephanie Lippert:   "Google's IPO, Five Years Later," Peter Edmonston, NYTimes
    Video: "Dot con" PBS Frontline
    Oct. 4 E-Commerce
    "The Implications of Electronic Commerce for Fiscal Policy (and Vice Versa)," Austan Goolsbee, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 15, no. 1 (Winter, 2001), 13-23.
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Essi Haffar:   "World Wide Web: Land of Free Stuff," Douglas MacMillan, BusinessWeek, Nov. 19, 2007
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Sarah Goodby-Botting:   "A Note on Internet Technologies and Retail Industry Trends," Vahe Katros, Technology in Society 22 (2000) 75-81.
    ***Discussion of the following paper will be led by Lyubina Martinova:   "Hollywood Versus the Internet: The Media and Entertainment Industries in a Digital and Networked Economy," Andrew Currah, Journal of Economic Geography 6 (2006) pp. 439-468.
    ***Discussion of the following paper will be led by Cen Zhang:   "Consumer Benefit from Use of the Internet," Fiona Scott Morton, Innovation Policy and the Economy, vol. 6 (2006), 67- 90.
    Oct. 18 E-Commerce:
    ***Discussion of the following paper will be led by Diana Chihai:   "Changing Channels: The Impact of the Internet on Distribution Strategy," Leyland Pitt, Pierre Berthon, and Jean-Paul Berthon, Business Horizons, March/April 1999, 19-28.
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Ryan Conway:
    "Internet Car Retailing," Scott Morton, Florian Zettelmeyer and Jorge Silva-Risso, Journal of Industrial Economics, vol. 49, no. 4 (December 2001), 501-519.
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Nilda Goncalves:
    "The Causes and Consequences of WalMart's Growth," Emek Basker, the Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 21, no.3 (Summer, 2007), 177-198.
    "E-commerce and Megamachines: identification, connectivity, and inference engines," J. Swartz, Technology in Society 23 (2001) 159-175.
    Oct. 25 Finding Employment in the Internet Age
    ***Discussion of the following paper will be led by Charlotte Wen:
    "Wiring the Labor Market," David Autor, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 15, no. 1 (Winter 2001), 25-40.
    "E-recruitment and the Benefits of Organizational Web Appeal," Lori Thompson, Phillip Braddy, and Karl L. Wuensch, Computers in Human Behavior, 24 (2008) 2384-2398.
    ***Discussion of the following paper will be led by Ye Li:
    "Jobs Online," Alice O. Nakamura, Kathryn L. Shaw, Richard B. Freeman, Emi Nakamura, and Amanda Pyman, paper presented at the conference "Labor Market Intermediation" May 17-18, 2007.
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Manuela Mitkova:
    "Internet Job Search and Unemployment Durations," Peter Kuhn and Mikal Skuterud, The American Economic Review, vol. 94, no.1 (March 2004), 218-232.
    Nov. 1 Economics of Web 2.0
    "Social Computing: Inviting Multiple Ways of Evaluating Worth," Soley Rasmussen, Working Papers on Information Systems 10/7.
    Nov. 8 How the Internet is Changing Professional Work
    "Beyond the Hype. Working in the German Internet Industry," Nicole Mayer-Ahuja and Harald Wolf, Critical Sociology 33 (2007) 73-99.
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Jessica Azulay:
    "The Internet and Academics' Workload and Work-Family Balance," Thamar M. Heijstra and Gudbjorb Linda Rafnsdottir, Internet and Higher Education 13 (2010) 158-163.
    ***Discussion of the following paper will be led by Linh Nghiem:
    "Will You Survive the Services Revolution?" Uday Karmarkar, Harvard Business Review, June 2004, 1-9.
    "Towards a High-Skilled, Low-Waged Workforce?" Phillip Brown, David Ashton, Hugh Lauder, and Gerbrand Tholen, Monograph No. 10, Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance, Cardiff and Oxford Universities (October 2008)
    Nov. 15 New Kinds of Jobs and Employment within Cyberspace:
    ***Discussion of the following paper will be led by Liz Tripp:
    "Emerging Sources of Labor on the Internet: The Case of America Online Volunteers," Hector Postigo, International Review of Social History, 48 (2003), 205-223.
    ***Discussion of the following paper will be led by Daniel Schwartz:
    "Co-Creating Second Life: Market Consumer Cooperation in Contemporary Economy," Samuel K. Bonsu and Aron Darmody, Journal of Macromarketing, vol. 28, no. 4 (December 2008) 355-368.
    "Science and Technology Policy in Action. How GM Created a Global Laboratory Network," C.C. Green and K. B. Zimmerman, Technology in Society 24 (2002) 77-82.
    Nov. 22 Microenterprises in Cyberspace:
    ***Discussion of the following paper will be led by Linh Nghiem:   "Bed and Breakfasts, Small Inns, and the Internet: The Impact of Technology on the Globalization of Small Businesses," Terri R. Lituchy and Anny Rail, Journal of International Marketing, vol. 8, no. 2 (2000), 86-97.
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Christina Nicholas:
    "Internet Use (and non-use) Among Urban Microenterprises in the Developing World: an Update from India," Jonathan Donner, paper for AOIR 7.0 (September 2006).
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Ryan Conti:   "Student-Operated Internet Businesses: True Experiential Learning in Entrepreneurship and Retail Management," Shawn P. Daly, Journal of Marketing Education, vol. 23, no. 3 (December 2001).
    Nov. 29 Open Source Economics :
    "Some Simple Economics of Open Source," Josh Lerner and Jean Tirole, Journal of Industrial Economics, vol. 50, no. 2 (June 2002), 197-234.
    "From a Firm-Based to a Community-Based Model of Knowledge Creation: The Case of the Linux Kernel Development," Gwendolyn Lee and Robert Cole, Organization Science, vol. 14, no. 6 (Nov.-Dec. 2003), 633-649.
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Tahmina Qahir:
    "Global Ethics of Collective Internet Governance: Intrinsic Motivation and Open Source Software," Chong Choi, Sae Kim, and Shui Yu, Journal of Business Ethics (2009) 90: 523-531.
    Dec. 6 How the Internet Grows Economies:
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Getti Farhad:
    "Rural Telephone Companies: Offering Technology Innovations to Enhance the Economic Development of Communities," Peter F. Korsching, Sami El-Ghamrini, and Gregory Peter, Technology in Society 23 (2001) 79-91.
    ***Discussion of the following article will be led by Mengyun Tang:
    "The making of knowledge cities," Tan Yigitcanlar, Kevin O'Connor, and Cara Westerman, Cities 25 (2008) 63-72.
    "The Roles of Electricity and ICT in Economic Growth: Case Finland," Jukka Jalava and Matti Pohjola, Explorations in Economic History 45 (2008) 270-287.
    "Prospects for an Information-Technology-Led Productivity Surge," Timothy F. Bresnahan, Innovation Policy nd the Economy, vol.2 (2002), 135-161.
    Dec. 13 How the Internet is Changing People:
    ***Discussion of the following essay will be led by Adam Liderman:
    "Keeping it to Ourselves: Technology, Privacy, and the Loss of Reserve," Michelle G. Hough, Technology in Society 31 (2009) 406-413.
    Discussion of the following essay will also be led by Adam Liderman:
    "Online Communities," Robert Plant, Technology in Society 26 (2004), 51-65.
    ***Discussion of the following essay will be led by Adena Lavin:
    "Globalization and the Connection of Remote Communities: A Review of Household Effects and Their Biodiversity Implications," Daniel Kramer, Gerald Urquhart, Kristen Schmitt, Ecological Economics 68 (2009) 2897-2909.

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