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30 Years of economics for development

Production, Employment and Income Distribution in the Global Digital Economy  

Project name/title
Production, Employment and Income Distribution in the Global Digital Economy
Employment and Industry
This project is the sequel to the UNU/WIDER study entitled 'Information technology, productivity and economic growth: International evidence and implications for economic development', edited by Matti Pohjola, which concentrated on the impacts of information technology on productivity and economic growth. In his contribution to this project, Danny Quah argued forcefully that the most profound impact of the IT revolution is that it makes modern economies increasingly weightless or dematerialized in the sense that an increasingly greater fraction of gross domestic product comes to reside in economic goods with little or no physical manifestation. Such a weightless group of commodities includes all products and services that can be expressed in digital form -encoded as a stream of bits - such as computer software, telecommunications, biological algorithms, financial services, electronic databases and libraries, media entertainment and Internet delivery of goods and services. The thesis of dematerialization is that economic value will increasingly be created by producing and distributing bits of logic rather than atoms of physical material. The attention in the new project will therefore be confined to the economic effects of the 'digital', 'Internet', 'weigthless' or 'new' economy. The aim is to derive the implications of the digital technology for productivity and growth, location of production, firm and industrial structure, employment and income distribution, and economic development at the global level. Economic policies for promoting the new economy will also be analyzed.
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