This describes the relevance current and future research I am conducting for the NSF
Consider the current boom, driven as it is by the implementation of improvements in computer technology and the internet. These improvements cannot last forever. While we cannot predict when the benefits of these technologies will be played out, our research enables us to understand the resulting consequences. When we find that there is little room for continuing technological progress, the stock market will crash substantially and ubruptly. Moreover, efforts to remedy this through economic policy will only aggravate and lengthen the subsequent recession. So if this research helps tilt the balance against ill-considered and hasty policies it will pay for itself many times over.
The advent of inexpensive digital copies of music and other creative works has triggered a debate over intellectual property rights. On one side are those who argue that greater protection is required to provide appropriate incentives to creators to invest their time and effort in producing new works. Our work on competitive innovation and growth indicates that the need for this kind of protection is much overstated. Inexpensive technology for making copies can actually increase the rents earned by creators, even in the absence of copyright protection after the first sale.
The research tools we develop for analyzing the evolution of social norms enables us to determine when cooperative arrangements will emerge in the long-run. It also yields insights into the types of social norms and communication that are robust and stable. This has many implications, ranging from the study of altruism to the organization of firms and other organizations.