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The Economics of Information Technology: An Introduction (Raffaele Mattioli Lectures) Paperback – January 31, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0521605212 ISBN-10: 0521605210

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Product Details

  • Series: Raffaele Mattioli Lectures
  • Paperback: 110 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (January 31, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521605210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521605212
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #667,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

The Economics of Information Technology is a concise and accessible review of important economic factors affecting information technology industries. These industries are characterized by high fixed costs and low marginal costs of production, large switching costs for users, and strong network effects. These factors combine to produce some unique behavior. Professor Varian outlines the basic economics of these industries; Professors Farrell and Shapiro describe the impact of these factors on competition policy. An ideal introduction for undergraduate and graduate students in economics, business strategy, law and related areas.

About the Author

Hal R. Varian is the Class of 1944 Professor at the School of Information Management and Systems, the Haas School of Business, and the Department of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley.

Joseph Farrell is Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. He has served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief Economist at the Anti-Trust Division, US Department of Justice, 2000-2001.

Carl Shapiro is the Transamerica Professor of Business Strategy at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He also is Director of the Institute of Business and Economic Research, and Professor of Economics in the Economics Department at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Lee D. Carlson HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 21, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The rise of the Internet and its resulting commercialization have caused many to wonder whether the economics of the information age is governed by a different set of rules than can be found in "classical" economic treatises. If information technology is indeed different in this regard, this would be of great interest to those businesses whose goal it is to generate profits by its use. This very short book, composed of only two articles, gives a fairly good introduction to the economic issues that arise in the use of information technology. The authors in the book certainly motivate the subject well, but the length of the articles, along with the relative paucity of references, entails that the reader will have to do a lot of outside research in order to obtain a more in-depth understanding of the issues.

The author of the first article clearly believes that high-technology industries face the same market forces as any other industry, but that there are some that are of particular concern to them. Fixed costs for example are very high for information goods, but the marginal costs are very small. In addition, intellectual property is very important to the high-tech industry.

The Internet "boom" has become the paradigmatic example of the economics of information technology due to the speed in which the Internet took hold in business all around the world and in the "wild" speculation that took place in dot.com companies in the late nineteen-nineties. The author claims that the large increase in the NASDAQ during this time is evidence of the efficacy of competition, but he does not offer detailed evidence for this claim.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Steve G. Parsons on August 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a great concise treatment of the topic with footnotes sufficient to allow the interested reader to perform further research. I am seldom disappointed by Varian's work, and no exception here. This is good enough that it is now part of the required reading for my course "Economics of Technology" in the Masters of Information Management program at Washington University in St. L. - Prof. Steve Parsons
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By V.H. Amavilah on September 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
In this little book (only 102 pages long) Hal Varian, Google's Chief Economist, and his colleagues, all three at UC Berkeley, tackle with ease a difficult topic for the general reader. In the benchmark model of competition all economic agents have perfect sight of, and easy access to, information. There are no profit incentives to hide information that everyone already have. The Economics of Information Technology exposes the weaknesses of such a model. The intellectual property rights system is reasonably strong in dealing with information technology goods. However, "copyright law is critical in the information content industries...." Such law tends to be restrictive. Information is by nature a common good, beset by the tragedy of the commons. The topic is pretty dense, but the benefits from reading this book are enormous. Besides, because it is a short book, the reader can always re-read it. Highly recommended!!

Amavilah, Author
Modeling Determinants of Income in Embedded Economies
ISBN: 1600210465
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very brief analysis of the economics of information technology. But it's suitable for readers who are just dipping their toes in the material. The writing was very accessible with clear prose and interesting examples. I recommend for readers who want a quick survey of the economics of the tech industry.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bill on July 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Useless. Surprised Varian, an highly respected economist, publishes and sells such a terrible lecture notes. Disappointing.
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