OECD Economics Department Working Papers

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Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.


The Internet Economy - Regulatory Challenges and Practices You or your institution have access to this content

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Isabell Koske1, Rosamaria Bitetti2, Isabelle Wanner, Ewan Sutherland3
Author Affiliations
  • 1: OECD, France

  • 2: LUISS Guido Carli, Italy

  • 3: University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

12 Nov 2014
Bibliographic information

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The Internet has become an integral part of the everyday life of households, firms and governments. Its proper functioning over the long run is therefore crucial for economic growth and people’s wellbeing more generally. The success of the Internet depends on its openness and the confidence of users. Designing policies that protect society while allowing for Internet’s great economic potential to be fulfilled, is a difficult task. This paper investigates this challenge and takes stock of existing regulations in OECD and selected non-OECD countries in specific areas related to the digital economy. It finds that despite the regulatory difficulties, the Internet is far from being a “regulation-free” space as there are various industry standards, co-regulatory agreements between industry and the government, and in some cases also state regulation. Most of them aim at protecting personal data and consumers more generally. In many cases generally applicable laws and regulations exist that address privacy, security and consumer protection issues both in the traditional and the digital economy.
internet, digital economy, regulation, competition, consumer protection
JEL Classification:
  • D18: Microeconomics / Household Behavior and Family Economics / Consumer Protection
  • K2: Law and Economics / Regulation and Business Law
  • L1: Industrial Organization / Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
  • L5: Industrial Organization / Regulation and Industrial Policy
  • L81: Industrial Organization / Industry Studies: Services / Retail and Wholesale Trade ; e-Commerce
  • L82: Industrial Organization / Industry Studies: Services / Entertainment ; Media
  • L86: Industrial Organization / Industry Studies: Services / Information and Internet Services ; Computer Software
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