Robert Atkinson

Platforms Are the New Organizational Paradigm

Technological innovation often leads to organizational innovation, and organizational innovation often leads to organizational opposition. As new forms of business organizations emerge and become dominant, interest groups and others often resist the change, decrying the new models as fundamentally negative. The reality of economic history is these new business models have been enormously positive. The world would be a vastly poorer place without the rise of the industrial organization, then the multidivisional corporation and now the Internet-based platform.

Apples vs. Oranges: Why Providing Broadband in the United States Costs More Than in Europe

Comparisons between US and European broadband prices abound, but their respective markets are built on such entirely different cost structures as to make any comparison between the two meaningless without accounting for the differences in necessary expenditures. A longstanding narrative that US broadband prices are exorbitantly higher than their European peers’ buttresses claims of European superiority and calls for similar unbundling requirements and regulated competition in the U.S telecom industry.

How Applying ‘Buy America’ Provisions to IT Undermines Infrastructure Goals

Because the cost of producing information technology (IT) products is lower overseas, applying Buy America provisions to IT components of projects underwritten by the infrastructure bill will raise costs, reduce infrastructure build, and delay project completion—all without creating any net new jobs. Congress included in the recent infrastructure bill stronger applications of Buy America provisions, which govern the extent to which federal government purchases must be of products substantially made in the United States.

The Declaration for the Future of the Internet Is an Invitation for the EU to Dictate Global Policy

The Biden Administration’s newly launched Declaration for the Future of the Internet is too ambitious. There is no need to focus on what are mostly domestic Internet policy issues, where nations are likely to have differing approaches. This includes data privacy—an issue that is best dealt with the national government level, lest the stronger regulator (the European Union) succeed in imposing its innovation-limiting privacy regime on the rest of the free world.

Anticorporate Broadband Populists’ Real Agenda: Destroy the Current Private-Sector System

Animated by hostility toward corporations and a belief that broadband should be a public utility, populists seek to overthrow the current system and replace it with one in which government provides broadband or tightly regulates it. Their campaign strategy is to convince policymakers and the public that US broadband is a failure so they can build support for policies to weaken corporate providers and strengthen non-corporate alternatives, including government-run networks.

Open Radio Access Networks: A Primer for Policymakers

Open Radio Access Networks (Open RANs) would define open standards and interfaces between components of wireless RANs, providing a unique opportunity to diversify the supply chain by separating today’s integrated, single-provider RAN systems into modular parts. This report by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation provides the history of Open RAN, the technology's benefits and challenges, and recommendations for policymakers. The key takeaways are:

Why the US Needs a National Advanced Industry and Technology Agency

With the rise of China, the US economic and technology environment has fundamentally and inexorably changed.

President-Elect Biden’s Agenda on Technology and Innovation Policy

Technological innovation has long been and will continue to be critically important to per-capita income growth, economic competitiveness, and national security. So it is important to examine President-elect Joe Biden’s policy agenda through that lens. This report compiles information from the president-elect’s campaign website and policy documents, from the Democratic Party platform, and from media accounts of statements he has made.

Trump vs. Biden: Comparing the Candidates’ Positions on Technology and Innovation

The report begins with an overview of each candidate’s general philosophy on technology, innovation, and trade policy, and then compares the candidates’ policy positions across 10 specific issue areas:

  • Innovation and Research and Development (R&D)
  • Internet and Digital Economy
  • Broadband and Telecommunications
  • Education and Skills
  • Taxes
  • Regulation
  • Trade
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Life Sciences and Biotechnology
  • Clean Energy Innovation

The candidates’ positions on broadband:

Monopoly Myths: Is Concentration Leading to Fewer Start-Ups?

In the last few years, a number of pundits, advocates, and journalists have argued that market concentration has grown in the United States and that this has caused a precipitous decline in the number of business start-ups. In this narrative, “monopoly” is a sclerotic scourge, robbing the economy of its traditional dynamism and leading to a host of problems, including less innovation and slower job growth. But there is no statistical relationship between start-up creation and change in concentration by industry; high-growth start-up activity is healthy.