In just a few years, the Internet has had a visible impact on the daily lives of many Americans. But the recent demise of many of the ""dot coms"" that symbolized the Internet revolution has raised warning flags about its future. Until now, discussion of the impact of the Internet on the economy has been mostly speculation. In Beyond the Dot.coms, two of the nation's most respected economists articulate the anticipated economic impact of the Internet over the next five years. Drawing from detailed research conducted by the Brookings Task Force on the Internet and the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy (BRIE) Internet Task Force (see page 10), Robert Litan and Alice Rivlin address the Internet's potential impacts on productivity, prices, and market structure. The research suggests that the most significant economic impact of the Internet will be its potential to increase productivity growth in the existing economy -with cheaper transactions, greater management efficiency, increased competition and broadened markets, more effective marketing and pricing, and increased consumer choice, convenience, and satisfaction. The greatest impact may not be felt in e-commerce, but rather in a wide range of ""old economy"" arenas, including health care and government.
Robert E. Litan is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution and vice president for research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation. Among his many books is Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, and the Economics of Growth and Prosperity (Yale University Press, 2007), written with William J. Baumol and Carl J. Schramm. Alice M. Rivlin is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution and visiting professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. She has been director of both the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office, and has served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board.