ICT Econ Course

The Economics of Information and Communication Technology

This page is for students taking Economics 3893 at Vanderbilt University.

Course Description

Advances in information and communications technology (ICT) have had a tranformative effect on both our society and economy. The first Internet browser was released only 25 years ago, but cloud computing, social networks, ecommerce, streaming content, big data, analytics, informatics, VOIP, MOOC, MMOG and open source software are now part of our daily lives. Emerging technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and blockchain, will have enormous impact in the next several years. Economists are certainly aware of these innovations, but economic research in ICT is limited and scattered. This course will survey what economics has to say about ICT and try to outline what still needs to be done. Students should gain an understanding of how these technologies came into being, how they fit together, and where they might lead us in the future. Class participation will be emphasized.


I will be posting notes, assignments and other details of the course as the semester progresses.


Below is a link to the first of half of a book I am in the process of writing.  This half is concerned more with technology than economics.

ICT Economics Book – Spring 2018


ICT Economics Syllabus – Spring 2018


None right now


Michael Armbrust, Armando Fox, Rean Griffith, Anthony D. Joseph, Randy Katz, Andy Konwinski, Gunho Lee, David Patterson, Ariel Rabkin, Ion Stoica, and Matei Zaharia (2010) “A View of Cloud Computing”, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 53, pp. 50-58

Ergin Bayrak, John P. Conley and Simon Wilkie (2011) “The Economics of Cloud Computing”, The Korean Economic Review, Vol. 27, pp. 203-230

John P. Conley (2017) “Encryption, Hashing, PPK, and Blockchain-A Simple Introduction

John P. Conley (2017)Cryptocurrency Backed with Full Faith and Credit

John P. Conley (2017) “The Economics of Crypto-tokens and Initial Coin Offerings

John P. Conley and Fan-chin Kung (2010) “Private Benefits, Warm Glow and Reputation in the Free and Open Source Software Production Model”, Journal of Public Economic Theory, (Special issue edited by Ted Bergstrom, Parkash Chander and Lise Vesterlund), Vol. 12, pp. 665-689.

Jefffrey MacKie-Mason and Hal Varian (2006) “Some Economics of the Internet”, Working paper

Josh Lerner and Jean Tirole (2005) “The Economics of Technology Sharing: Open Source and Beyond”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 19, pp. 99-120

Eric Raymond (2000) “Homesteading the Noosphere”, Working paper

Eric Raymond (2000) “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”, Working paper

Eric Raymond (2000), “Revenge of the Hackers”, Working paper

Hal Varian (2003) “Economics of Information Technology”, Working paper

Hal Varian (2005) “Copying and Copyright”, Working paper