This option course for the OII MSc in “Social Science of the Internet” provides an introduction to the economics of the Internet and to economics as a tool for social research more generally. Economics is, at its heart, the study of why businesses, policy makers, and people make the choices they do—and of what can and should be done to influence these choices. Economics, though, is not just a body of knowledge. The discipline is founded upon a rigorous and unified methodological framework for examining social behaviour. Since this framework builds on principles that are relatively fundamental, it can be readily applied to many new and interesting problems that are not obviously of an economic nature. This has led to economics occupying a central role in policy formulation, competition/industrial regulation, consultancy, and business strategy—not to mention debates on issues ranging from intellectual property to network neutrality.

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