Fairfield University economist publishes book on e-Commerce and the Internet


Image: Edward Deak's new bookContrary to popular belief, the fall of the dot-coms two years ago did not take the vast majority of Web businesses to an early grave. In fact, only about 1,500 of the approximately 5,000 dot-com start-ups have gone out of business, writes Edward Deak, Ph.D., in a new book.

Dr. Deak, a professor of economics at Fairfield University, tackles many misconceptions in his overview of the economics of the Internet, "The Economics of e-Commerce and The Internet" (Southwestern Thomson Learning 2003).

The book, which retails for $97.99, is designed as a classroom text for educators who want to teach e-Commerce. But the material is accessible to the average reader, Dr. Deak said, adding that the text contains few economic equations and fully explains those that it uses. The publisher, Southwestern Thomson Learning, was looking for good pedagogical material on e-Commerce, Dr. Deak said. Unlike existing books on the topic, "Economics of e-Commerce" is not a how-to on setting up or running an Internet business, he said.

"It's a look at the strategies, successes, failures and some of the key e-Commerce firms, both business-to-consumer and business-to-business," Dr. Deak said.

For example, Dr. Deak takes readers through the failure of grocery retailer Webvan, and the reasons for the unprecedented success of eBay. One chapter deals with the infamous dot-com IPO scandals that the big Wall Street firms are still answering for. Another chapter considers the ever-timely issues of privacy and security. Helping developing nations use the Internet to grow their economies faster is the material for yet another section of the book.

Dr. Deak began writing the text in the spring of 2001, just before the rapid plummet of inflated technology stock prices.

"It was like quicksand under my feet," Dr. Deak said, recalling how news on the sector changed daily.

Dr. Deak earned his bachelor's, master's and doctorate in economics from the University of Connecticut. His first book, "Environmental Factors in Transportation Planning," (1972) was the subject of his doctoral thesis. Often quoted in the media for his economic expertise, Dr. Deak has also published numerous economic forecasts, including a semi-annual forecast of the Connecticut economy for The New England Economic Project in Boston, Mass.

"Ed has used an industrial organization model and applied that to the new market of e-Commerce, and he's brought it to a level that can be used by all readers," said Phil Lane, Ph.D., chair of the economics department at Fairfield University.

"This work brings together Professor Deak's many talents as an teacher, scholar, communicator, and interpreter of economics in action," said Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University. "He gives a terrific sense of the parallel and opposing streams that bring about economic tension and birth economic happenings that affect us all."

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on July 30, 2003

Vol. 35, No. 301