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Power in the Palm of Your Hand: Mobile Technology


The mobile technology industry is rapidly expanding and recent estimates predict it will continue to grow to almost $2 trillion. Mobile devices serve as portals to never before accessed resources for people all over the world. People in every corner of the globe have discovered how using mobile technologies can provide valuable information and make communication easier. The unique capacity allows mobile technologies to help build local economies. Some countries lag behind in the use of mobile technology. Potential barriers to the benefits of mobile technology include regulatory policies, poor intellectual property rules, and entrepreneur friendly business climates.

Top Countries in Research & Development Expenditures as Percentage of Gross Domestic Product

 Israel 4.4%
 Finland  3.88
 South Korea  3.74
 Sweden  3.4
 Japan  3.36
 Denmark 3.06
 Switzerland  2.99
 United States  2.9
 Germany  2.82
 Austria  2.76

Source: World Bank Patent and Intellectual Property Use Data, 2010

One component necessary for growth in the mobile economy is investment. In a recent study, Darrell M. West examined the emphasis that businesses and governments in various countries place on investment. Table 1 describes the countries that invest the most in research and development as a percentage of the GDP. Research and development investments can spur the creation of next generation technologies like many of the mobile devices used today.

On September 10, the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution will host an event examining the state of mobile economies around the world. Panelists will discuss how countries invest and create new mobile technologies to try and understand why this industry flourishes in some countries. In addition, Darrell M. West, will share the results of his research on the state of the mobile economy. This event is open to the public and is also available to stream online



Joshua Bleiberg

Ph.D. student - Vanderbilt University

Former Research Analyst - The Brookings Institution

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