Law and economics of shared infrastructure - Prof. Brett Frischmann


Brett Frischmann
Politecnico di Torino, 25-28 June 2013, 9-12AM.
The The Doctoral School of the Politecnico di Torino and the Nexa Center for Internet & Society, DAUIN, Politecnico di Torino are proud to announce the following short course: “Law and economics of shared infrastructure” - Prof. Brett M. Frischmann.

Room: 2M
Credits: 2
Registration: please send an email message to stating your name and your doctoral course (e.g., Dottorato in Informatica e Sistemi).


Day One: Overview of Infrastructure Economics and Key Concepts from Microeconomics (Chapters 1-3)

Day Two: Economics of Infrastructure Commons (Chapters 4-5)

Day Three: Supply & Incentives; Congestion (Chapters 7-8)

Day Four: Day Four: Applications (Two or three chapters from second half of the book; perhaps communication, transportation, and Internet)
Each student should choose a chapter and be prepared to give short presentation and raise questions for class to discuss


Brett Frischmann is Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, where he teaches intellectual property and Internet law. He is currently the Director of Cardozo's IP and Information Law Program, an Affiliated Scholar of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, and an Affiliated Faculty Member of The Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University.

He received a BA in Astrophysics from Columbia University, an MS in Earth Resources Engineering from Columbia University, and a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center.

After clerking for the Honorable Fred I. Parker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and practicing at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, DC, he joined the Loyola University, Chicago law faculty in 2002.


There is a debate raging concerning the merits of private control over (or conversely, open access to) various types of resources. It takes place in a number of fields, including the intellectual property and cyberlaw literatures, as well as broader public debates concerning propertization, privatization, deregulation, and commercialization of such diverse things as communications networks, government services, national forests and scientific research. On the private control side, there is robust economic theory in support of the market mechanism with minimal government regulation. By contrast, on the open access side, there is a frequent call for protecting the “commons,” but the theoretical support for this prescriptive call is underdeveloped from an economics perspective. In fact, many that oppose propertization, privatization, deregulation, and commercialization view economics (the discipline) with sincere suspicion and doubt.

In this short course, Professor Brett Frischmann will discuss insights from his recent book, Infrastructure: The Social Value of Shared Resources (Oxford 2012). He will explain why there are strong economic arguments for managing and sustaining infrastructure resources in an openly accessible manner. Professor Frischmann will help students obtain a better understanding of how these fundamental resources generate value for society and how decisions regarding access to such resources affects social welfare.

The key insights from this analysis are that infrastructure resources generate value as inputs into a wide range of productive processes and that the outputs from these processes are often public goods and social goods that generate positive externalities that benefit society as a whole. Managing such resources in an openly accessible manner may be socially desirable from an economic perspective because doing so facilitates these downstream productive activities. For example, managing the Internet infrastructure in an openly accessible manner facilitates active citizen involvement in the production and sharing of public and social goods. Over the past decade, this has led to increased opportunities for a wide range of citizens to engage in entrepreneurship, political discourse, social network formation and community building, among many other activities.


1. Infrastructure - The Social Value of Shared Resources (Oxford University Press, 2012)
2. Book introduction:
3. Video of the talk at the Nexa Center in July 2012:

For more information: Prof. Juan Carlos De Martin, E-mail:, phone: 011-090-7217