When Economics meets Ethics : the Governance of Economic Activities in the Information Society

  • Eric Brousseau
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 233)


Can economics be of any use to design – or at least to think -institutional frameworks that would meet the necessary ethical requirements to govern the information society? By relying on a survey of the economics of institutional design in which two types of tradeoff -centralization vs. decentralization and public vs. private provision of orders - are highlighted, the paper points out that the current global context is specific as compared to national ones, especially because there is no powerful central authority able to act as a last resort regulator and promotor of the “collective” interest. This is a challenge in the digital world due to the specificities of the information based and digital technologies based activities in which excessive monopoly capture by groups of interest could occur. These call for the emergence of authorities able to centrally provide order in last resort. This does not mean that self and local governance are not needed. The paper simply claims that they should be complemented by a global provision of public order. Various paths of emergence of such central provision are described and briefly discussed.


Multilevel Governance Public vs. Private Institutions Network Effects Institutional Framework Internet Governance 


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Brousseau
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut Universitaire de France EconomiXUniversity of Paris XFrance

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