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Understanding the Basic Economics of the Internet: Building a Foundation for 21st Century Public Policy

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 -
10:30am to 12:00pm
Georgetown's metro-accessible downtown location at 640 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001



Although a range of studies and methodologies show that the Internet now powers significant sectors of the U.S. economy, few understand the economic forces at work among and between different parts of the internet ecosystem. As Washington braces for waves of advocacy for and against specific legislation to put net neutrality on firm legal ground and establish a consistent set of privacy protections for all consumers, it is critical that policymakers understand the basic economics of the Internet, including two-sided markets and ad-supported business models.

The Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy hosted a robust exploration of the economics of the internet and implications for public policy in the 21st century on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. The event began with an economics primer and an ad tech primer, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Kathleen Abernathy, Special Counsel, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP; Former FCC Commissioner (2001-2005); and Senior Industry and Innovation Fellow, Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy. Discussants included:

  • Robert Hahn, Visiting Professor, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford; and Senior Policy Scholar, Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy
  • Jonathan S. Kanter, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
  • John Mayo, Professor of Economics, Business, and Public Policy at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business; and Executive Director, Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy (slides)
  • Scott Wallsten, President and Senior Fellow, Technology Policy Institute; and Senior Policy Scholar, Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy


This forum is part of the Center for Business and Public Policy's Georgetown on the Hill series at which we convene policymakers, academics, and industry experts to discuss important economic policy issues of the day.