Competition Makes IT Better

In spite of its potential, the use of digital technology is still basic in most developing countries. This column presents evidence that firms in Mexico facing higher external competition have used IT more intensively and efficiently. External competition has encouraged them to make the necessary complementary investments in innovation and organizational changes.  

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How Markets in Europe Opened Up as Guild Monopolies Declined in the Sixteenth Century

Markets don’t function well if they are ridden with frictions like lack of information or lack of trust. A new working paper finds that cities in the sixteenth century where monopolies of densely networked merchant guilds declined had significantly higher levels of printing, as they were early adopters of printing technology. Additionally, these cities were found on the Atlantic coast, where traders had the greatest incentives to form new connections with unfamiliar traders.  

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