NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Weak Versus Strong Net Neutrality

Joshua S. Gans

NBER Working Paper No. 20160
Issued in May 2014
NBER Program(s):   IO   PR

This paper provides a framework to classify and evaluate the impact of net neutrality regulations on the allocation of consumer attention and the distribution of surplus between consumers, ISPs and content providers. While the model provided largely nests other contributions in the literature, here the focus is on including direct payments from consumers to content providers. With this additional price it is demonstrated that the type of net neutrality regulation (i.e., weak versus strong net neutrality) matters for such regulations to have real effects. In addition, we provide support for the notion that strong net neutrality may stimulate content provider investment while the model concludes that there is unlikely to be any negative impact from such regulation on ISP investment. Counter to many claims, it is argued here that ISP competition may not be a substitute for net neutrality regulation in bringing about these effects

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20160

Published: Joshua Gans, 2015. "Weak versus strong net neutrality," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 183-200, April. citation courtesy of

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