Micro EconomicsMicro Economics

These podcasts are based on the Micro Economics column in IEEE Micro. Author Shane Greenstein focuses on a variety of topics, including the adoption of the Internet by households and business, growth of commercial Internet access networks, the industrial economics of platforms, and changes in communications policy.

About Shane Greenstein

Shane Greenstein is the Elinor and Wendell Hobbs Professor of Management and Strategy at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He is a leading researcher in the business economics of computing, communications and Internet policy. He has been a regular columnist and essayist for IEEE Micro since 1995, where he comments on the economics of microelectronics.

The podcasts were produced by Tim De Chant, Science Writer and Editor for Kellogg Insight, Northwestern University.

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The Wi-Fi Journey

This podcast discusses The Innovation Journey of Wi-Fi: The Road To Global Success, which details the origins of Wi-Fi.


The Open Internet Order

This podcast discusses the Open Internet Access Order adopted by the FCC and debated by both Net neutrality advocates and Tea Party supporters.


An Honest Policy Wonk

This podcast addresses regulatory capture, examining when the regulatory environment works in spite of it due to the presence of an honest policy wonk.


Steve Jobs and the Economics of One Entrepreneur

This podcast explores Steve Jobs' entrepreneurship and impact, covering various successes and setbacks over his career.


Direction of Broadband Spillover

This podcast explores how growth in broadband usage has positively spilled into other online markets, creating growth spillovers. It explores the geographic direction of those growth spillovers from broadband to online retailers and advertising-supported media to determine to whom and to where the positive gains flowed.


Digital Dark Matter

Shane Greenstein explores instances of "digital dark matter," or important building blocks of the digital economy that contribute value and new functionality, but which are nonpecuniary and so aren't measured directly or recorded in GDP.


Building Broadband Ahead of Digital Demand

Many governments today, especially outside the US, are considering making large subsidies for broadband. Some governments, such as South Korea's, have already done so, making next-generation broadband widely available. In the US, debates about subsidizing broadband touch two sets of overlapping issues. One set considers the benefits and costs of building wire-line broadband in low-density areas. A second set considers stretching the frontier for broadband far beyond its present capabilities to enable next-generation Internet applications (typically video). Those favoring building ahead of demand are the most dissatisfied, as are those who want to subsidize rural broadband. This podcast considers the economic origins behind that dissatisfaction.


Gatekeeping Economics

It has become fashionable among Internet and Web watchers to notice threats on the horizon to the open Web. Economics tends not to take such an alarmist approach to the future of the Web, viewing it with more equanimity or acquiescence, depending on your perspective.


Standardization and Coordination

Modern computing markets need standards to function. Arguably, the need became greater with the rise of an ever-more connected network and applications. In this issue's column, the author counts five distinct ways public standards coordinate market behavior.


Bleeding-Edge Mass Market Standards

To have a large impact, bleeding-edge mass market standards must do two things: diffuse widely and provide new functionality. Curiously, however, although these standards are often built from advanced technologies, they cannot deploy on a wide scale without building upon other widely deployed routines or less-advanced processes. In this podcast, Shane Greenstein discusses the determination of new standards in mass markets, an event that shapes such paradoxical outcomes and hence market structure and firm strategy.


The Next Chapter at Google

After its first dozen years, Google possesses some economic similarities to Microsoft at age 15, as well as a few key differences.


Network of Platforms

The Internet has been called a "network of networks." Although the phrase once had meaning, it is misleading today. It does not reflect how commercial behavior has shaped the Internet's evolution.


Does Google Have Too Much Money?

For some time the blogosphere has made a ruckus over Google's growing power in the commercial Web. Such concerns probably would have arisen even if the world's developed economies were not in the midst of a painful macroeconomic nadir. In such dismal conditions, however, this extraordinary young firm's wealth makes it a natural target for envy and scrutiny. Is it a problem when a fabulously wealthy firm uses its money to explore grand new projects? If there is an economic problem, it is this: the firm has too much money.


Soccer Mom Messaging Is the Poetry of Our Age

Ubiquitous and inexpensive information technology supports the poetry of our age. It's being written every moment of every day by teenagers, soccer moms, and professionals. The results are mostly farce, occasionally tragic, and rarely private.


Revolution in Spectrum Allocation

A revolution has largely gone unnoticed. Since 1994, the US has assigned spectrum for mobile telephony through auctions instead of the traditional regulatory mechanisms. The transition from analog to digital television has freed up additional spectrum, giving the FCC the opportunity to set up an auction in the 700-MHz range. That spectrum auction ended in March 2008. The spectrum went into use in June 2009, after analog television retires.


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