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The Future Information Structure in Economics


  • William L. Goffe

    (Univ of Southern Miss.)

  • Bob Parks

    (Washington Univ.)


Computers have greatly improved the lives of economists. Computer networks may dramatically change the way we work. Already we have seen hints with electronic mail, mailing lists, on-line card catalogs, access to U.S. government data, and the start of an on-line working paper culture (nearly 2,000 on-line working papers at last count; see [WPA] and [WoPEc]). This summer, back issues of the AER will go on-line, and across academia, there are almost 200 peer-reviewed electronic journals [VLib] with hundreds of U.K. journals going on-line this year [Hitchcock]. This world exists only in embryonic form---we are now at a cusp point, and any number of outcomes are possible. One possible future continues current practices with little improvement in access to information, albeit with that information traveling over networks.However, we argue that a different future, with more easily accessed information, is more consistent with academic traditions and values, and is now possible. Thus, this paper is a normative, conceptual view of how computer networks should change the way we work. It is also a brief overview; more details can be found in [Okerson], [Scovill], [Peek], [Hitchcock], and many issues of the ``Journal of Electronic Publishing'' [JEP]. A very extensive bibliography is [Bailey]. In addition, rather than a formal model, this paper is intended to start a debate in our profession.

Suggested Citation

  • William L. Goffe & Bob Parks, 1996. "The Future Information Structure in Economics," Microeconomics 9605001, EconWPA, revised 02 Dec 1996.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmi:9605001
    Note: Type of Document - LaTeX; prepared on Sparc TeX; to print on PostScript; pages: 20; figures: none

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters,in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Dewald, William G & Thursby, Jerry G & Anderson, Richard G, 1986. "Replication in Empirical Economics: The Journal of Money, Credit and Banking Project," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 587-603, September.
    3. Hare, Paul G & Wyatt, Geoffrey, 1992. "Economics of Academic Research and Its Implications for Higher Education," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 48-66, Summer.
    4. Ordover, Janusz A & Willig, Robert D, 1978. "On the Optimal Provision of Journals qua Sometimes Shared Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(3), pages 324-338, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kim Sosin, 1999. "Explorations on Using the Web for Teaching - Introduction: How Might On-Line Networks Change Teaching?," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 79-82.
    2. Bekkerman, Anton & Gilpin, Gregory, 2013. "High-speed Internet growth and the demand for locally accessible information content," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 1-10.
    3. Michael K. Salemi, 2001. "Research in Economic Education: Five New Initiatives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 440-445, May.

    More about this item


    information electronic publishing;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness


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