The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Roger G. Noll
Reference work entry


The economics of communications is a loose, somewhat vaguely defined amalgam of topics in applied microeconomics. Although having close ties to the microeconomic theory of the economics of information, it is probably best characterized as a subfield of industrial organization, regulation and public enterprise that deals with the communications sector: telecommunications, broadcasting, the print media, the performing arts and the postal system. Of course, the activities that constitute this list are somewhat arbitrary, but they reflect what is both taught and studied by people in the subfield as well as some important economic realities that make specialized studies of the communications sector a valid category among distinct intellectual pursuits. First among these realities is that the industries in the communications sector are closely linked. Broadcasting competes with the performing arts for both audience and inputs, and telecommunications competes with the postal service. Moreover, telecommunications networks are capable of delivering broadcast services, and vice versa. Among the products over which the postal system, telecommunications and cable television compete is the delivery of the output of the print media.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger G. Noll
    • 1
  1. 1.