In a presentation organised by ICRIER in collaboration with Google on ‘The Information Economy in an Internet Age: New Paradigms for Competitiveness and Economic Growth,’ Dr. Hal Varian, Chief Economist, Google presented his ideas on the transformative impact of the internet on economies and societies. As discussant, Dr. Anupam Khanna, Chief Economist, NASSCOM, also shared his thoughts on information economics and its growth implications. Among the several ideas that Dr. Varian presented in his talk, one was on the concept of combinatorial innovations. He explained how different components of the internet including standardised software, protocols and widespread availability of cloud computing enabled the development of innovative applications around the world. He also mentioned that this generation of innovation is much more rapid than that of mechanical and electronic inventions. The idea of combinatorial innovations led to another concept, which Dr. Varian called computer mediated transactions that cover a gamut of uses from simple cash registers to very advanced data centres. New capabilities resulting from this innovation include data extraction and analysis (big data), personalisation and customisation, continuous experimentation to improve services, as well as monitoring and new forms of contracts which is among the most interesting consequences of computer mediated transactions, as it helps record behaviour which was previously unobservable. Consequently, new online payment gateways have emerged and businesses (micro multinationals) can interact virtually without establishing offices in multiple locations. He concluded by saying that combinations of such innovations would change the way economies operate, becoming much more global and data driven. Dr. Anupam Khanna remarked on emerging phenomena such as now casting, using recent data trends to forecast. He also extended the idea of combinatorial auctions to global value chains and emphasised the ubiquity of computer-mediated transactions. He also mentioned that the role of the internet is becoming particularly relevant for policy formulation on financial inclusion, labour markets and intellectual property, especially in countries like India.
The Information Economy in an Internet Age: New Paradigms for Competitiveness and Economic Growth
by Dr. Hal Varian, Chief Economist, Google.
Date:December 16, 2013
16 Dec, 2023