Institute for International Economic Policy

Known-Knowns and Unknowns about the Internet: Measuring the Economic, Social, and Governance Impact of the Web

November 14-15, 2013

The event was livestreamed on November 14, 2013

starting at 9:30 am and is available here

Event Information

Organizers: Dr. Susan Aaronson, GWU and Karin Alexander, Web Foundation

Conference Summary: Policymakers and netizens alike make broad claims about the effects of the internet upon economic growth, business, democracy, governance, and human rights. In recent years, economists have made significant progress in estimating the impact of the internet on areas such as economic growth, trade, fiscal policy, and education. But the progress made by economists has not been matched by scholars, activists, executives, and policymakers who seek to understand the internet's effects on governance, cyber security, and on human rights. We don't know if the Internet has stimulated development or whether the internet has led to measurable governance improvements. Moreover, scholars and activists don't yet know how to effectively measure Internet openness. We will also weigh the evidence that the Internet is splintering. With this conference, we hope to encourage greater understanding of metrics to assess our new digital age.


Session 1: What Economists Know and Do Not Know About the Internet and Its Impact on the Economy

Moderator: Matthew Reisman, Microsoft

Session 2: What We Know and Do Not Know About How the Web is Changing Development

Moderator: Steve Suranovic, GWU

Keynote Address
Session 3: Has the Internet Helped Citizens and Policymakers Improve Governance? Are the Effects Measureable? What New Innovations Might be Helpful?

Moderator: Daniel O’Connor, CCIA

Session 4: Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband

Moderator: Sonia Jorge, Alliance for Affordable Internet


    Meredith Broadbent - Commissioner, US International Trade Commission

    "What have we learned from measuring the Internet economy and digital trade?"

November 15, 2013

Session 5: Can We Measure the Economic Harm of Cyber-attacks and Cyber-probing? Will the World of Cyber-Espionage, Theft, and Attacks Remain Opaque and Unclear?

Moderator: Jessica Meyers, Technology Reporter, Politico

Moderated Discussion: Is the Internet Fracturing? What is the evidence for or against this claim? Are the effects measurable?

Moderator: Karin Alexander, Web Foundation

    Laura deNardis, American University

    Rob Faris, Berkman Center, Harvard University

Luncheon Discussion: Department of State and Corporate Perspective on Global Governance of the Internet

    Manu K. Bhardwaj, Office of Communications and Information Policy, US Department of State

    John Brueggeman, ATT

Session 6: Can We Measure Internet Openness? If so, what does that allow us to do?

Moderator: Susan Aaronson

    Aaron Forsberg, U.S. Department of State

    Joy Liddicoat, Association for Progressive Communications, New Zealand, via Skype

    Karin Alexander, Web Index, World Wide Web Foundation

    Carolina Rossini, New America Foundation

Concluding Remarks: Susan Aaronson, GWU

Upcoming Events

December 1 Monday
Towards a Trusted Internet: Backdoors to the Crypto Nirvana Promised Land
» 4:30pm - 6:00pm
» Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC

December 2 Tuesday
The Future of the Global Internet for Business and Entrepreneurs
» 4:00pm - 6:00pm
» Cisco
601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (North Building, Suite 900) Washington DC
» RSVP on the event page.

Please contact for more information.