Vastly underestimating the consumer surplus of the internet

Tyler Cowen points to a study estimating US consumer surplus at $41 billion a year. I don’t buy it. That works out to $133 dollars a year per American. That seems ludicrously low. Even if we think that some Americans are too young / old or too sick to us the internet, this method would be unlikely to generate $300 per person per year. Who among us would give up the internet for $300 a year? Almost no one. The surplus to consumers from  no longer paying for  home delivery of the news could be worth $133. An extreme example, but an annual subscription to the NY Time print edition is over $300.  What’s the value to communicating by email to those with social anxiety disorder? To consummating  transactions with retailers that you couldn’t have found before the internet? To wikipedia? I’d say my internet consumer surplus is more like $10,000 or more than $133. I’m glad I don’t have to pay that, but then that’s why we call it surplus.

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