Bill Spencer, Vice Chairman of the National Research Council’s Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP), introduced himself and wel-comed participants to the meeting on measuring and sustaining this “New Economy.” He said that his interest in the topic began more than a year ago when a course on the topic was initiated by a group of students at the University of California, Berkeley. Surprised at the degree of the group’s interest, he subsequently agreed to co-teach a course with Dr. Kenneth Flamm, one of the workshop participants, on “The Technology and Economics of the Internet.”
Dr. Spencer said that, while he had learned a great deal about economics from his colleagues, he felt economic issues related to the Internet were distinguished by many questions and a “surprising” lack of data, particularly on productivity growth in some technologies. He subsequently learned that Dr. Dale Jorgenson, another workshop participant and STEP Board Chairman, had studied the topic. Further discussions between the two evolved into the current workshop.
Dr. Spencer said that the format of this STEP meeting, like others that have introduced broad, complex topics, was designed to bring together a small group of experts to examine an area where information and research may be needed and to consider additional workshops on more specific topics. He invited the participants to help locate and develop the subtopics that might shed the most light on questions of economic growth in the information age.
He also thanked several groups for helping to make this symposium possible, including Sandia National Laboratories, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NASA (for a major grant to the STEP Board), and the staff of the National Research Council. He then introduced the first speaker, Vint Cerf.