Crossing Channels

Has digital technology made us better off?

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Episode notes

Rory Cellan-Jones talks to leading economists Diane Coyle, Jacques Crémer and Jean Tirole, about why productivity growth has slowed in spite of immense technological progress and what policy can do about it.

This episode unravels the impact of digitalisation on economic growth and its implications for policy. Leading economists discuss the productivity puzzle, why regulating Big Tech is so difficult, the threats of mass surveillance, and what policymakers can do to address these challenges. 

This episode is hosted by Rory Cellan-Jones (former technology correspondent for the BBC), and features guest experts Professor Diane Coyle (Bennett Institute for Public Policy), Professor Jacques Crémer (Toulouse School of Economics) and Professor Jean Tirole (Toulouse School of Economics – International Advanced Study in Toulouse). 

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Season 2 Episode 1 transcript: 

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With thanks to:
Audio production by Steve Hankey.
Podcast editing by Stella Erker. 

More information about our guests:

Professor Diane Coyle is the Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge. She co-directs the Bennett Institute where she heads the themes of progress and productivity, and researches the digital economy and economic measurement. Diane is also a Director of the Productivity Institute, and a Fellow of the Office for National Statistics. 

Professor Jacques Crémer received his undergraduate degree from the Ecole Polytechnique in 1971, a SM in Management and a PhD in economics, both from MIT, in 1973 and 1977. He has held appointments at the University of Pennsylvania and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. His current research interests are the economics of organization, the economics of the Internet and of the software industries, as well as contract theory.

Professor Jean Tirole is honorary chairman of the Foundation JJ Laffont-Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), and scientific director of TSE-Partnership. He is also affiliated with MIT, where he holds a visiting position, and the Institut de France. Professor Tirole’s research covers industrial organization, regulation, finance, macroeconomics and banking, and psychology-based economics. 

Rory Cellan-Jones is a former technology correspondent for the BBC. His 40 years in journalism saw him take a particular interest in the impact of the internet and digital technology on society and business. He has written multiple books, including his latest “Always On” which was published in 2021.