The Value of Free in GDP

Did the rise of free information technology improve GDP? It is commonly assumed that it did. After all, the Internet has changed the way we work, play, and shop. Smartphones and free apps are ubiquitous. Many forms of advertising moved online quite a while ago and support gazillions of “free” services. Free apps changed leisure long ago—just ask any teenager or any parent …

How sure are we that Ad-blocking software will ruin the free Internet?

Ad-blocking software is to the advertising based Internet what Tivo was supposedly to broadcast television: with a little investment, users can consume content without the ads. As Simon Anderson and I pointed out some years ago in a paper published in the American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, since ads are annoying, users will have an incentive …