Rob Atkinson

Rob Atkinson is the founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.


Growth vs. Redistribution: The New Fault Line in U.S. Politics of Economic Policy Share This

Dec 12, 2020

A few years ago, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF, the tech policy think tank I lead) surveyed several hundred DC policy folks to find out, among other things, what they thought ITIF’s political orientation was. About 40 percent said we were moderate, a third said we were conservative, and a quarter said we […]

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Time to End the Race-to-the-Bottom on Unemployment Insurance Share This

Nov 23, 2020

While the unemployment rate had fallen to 6.9 percent in October, the employment-population ratio was 3.7 percentage points lower than in February. 6.7 million workers were no longer looking for work and 3.6 million workers were unemployed for 27 weeks or more. Congress is considering a stimulus and recovery package, that hopefully should include support […]

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Industrial Policy May Have Finally Arrived: But For What? Share This

Nov 16, 2020

Ever since the concept of a national industrial policy was proposed in the 1970s, it has received scorn from most neo-classical economists, with those advocating it treated as the economic equivalent of chiropractors. But recently the idea is getting a new life, largely because of the growing awareness of the economic, technology and national security […]

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Let’s Stop Scaring People About Technological Change Share This

Oct 27, 2020

If you’re an average working person, going about your life, trying to put the next meal on your table, and happen to listen to the media and pundits talk about technology, your natural response is probably to vote a straight Luddite ticket in the next election. People are being fed a steady diet of techno-revolution […]

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Can the Left Overcome its Technopessimism? Share This

Oct 20, 2020

In his excellent American Compass essay “The Five Deadly Sins of the Left”, Ruy Teixeira calls out the left for what he terms their “technopessimism”. He writes: “the Left has become distinctly unenthusiastic about the potential of technology, tending to see it as a dark force to be contained rather than a force for good […]

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I Finally Agree With Krugman Share This

Sep 26, 2020

I never thought I would find myself in wholehearted agreement with Paul Krugman. That is, until I ran across the following passage from his 1996 book Pop Internationalism: “If top government officials are strongly committed to a particular economic doctrine, their commitment inevitably sets the tone for policy making on all issues, even those which […]

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What’s the best way to help low-income workers? Automate low-income jobs. Share This

Sep 05, 2020

As we celebrate Labor Day, reducing unemployment and getting the COVID-impacted economy back to some semblance of normality is clearly the top economic task. But when that is done the economy will still face a critical labor market problem: too many workers earning too little. A recent Brookings study found that 44 percent of American […]

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Time to Incorporate Competitiveness Into Anti-Trust Share This

Aug 30, 2020

U.S. antirust doctrine and practice has long failed to consider issues of industrial competitiveness. The result has been a century of government-induced industrial failures. In America antitrust is conceived as oppositional: against market power. Antitrust enforcers have never seen their job as enabling U.S. enterprises (and by extension the U.S. economy) win the global competitiveness […]

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Big Tech, Antitrust and America’s Future Share This

Aug 01, 2020

Wednesday’s “must watch” House Judiciary hearing with the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google raised a host of questions, including what the goal of antitrust should be (maximizing economic welfare or other goals, like protecting small business), and how should we think about platform industries. There are two key central things to understand about […]

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The Seduction of the Not-Profit Economy Share This

Jul 29, 2020

Over the last several decades a major shift has occurred in how many U.S. elites – pundits, advocates, policy makers, and others – think and talk about corporations. For much of the 20th century most elites viewed corporations as an institutional tool by which America could best achieve its most important economic goals: innovation and […]

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A COVID-19 Economic Recovery Package That Spurs Short-term and Long-term Recovery Share This

Jul 20, 2020

With surging COVID-19 cases in many parts of the country and a widely available vaccine months away—and with consumer and investor confidence and spending likely to be weak even with a vaccine—the odds are quite high that economic recovery will be long, drawn-out, and weak. As such, Congress is rightly debating a fifth economic recovery […]

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Why Neither Party Focuses on the Key Economic Issue: Enterprise Capabilities Share This

Jul 11, 2020

The partisan rancor in Washington is worse than any time in the last century. But surprisingly when it comes to economic policy, both parties share a common view: policy needn’t be concerned about enterprise capabilities. Conservatives focus on abstract “markets”, while progressives focus on government dictates. Neither gives more than a passing thought to ensuring […]

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