2021 Annual Public Lecture – Why digital is so disruptive


The 2021 RES Annual Public Lecture was held online on May 6, chaired by RES President Dame Carol Propper and delivered by Prof. Diane Coyle CBE, Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Established in 2001, the RES Annual Public Lecture provides an opportunity for school students to watch internationally-renowned economists present their research. Principally aimed at sixth form students, the APL has become an established part of the senior school calendar. This year’s event was co-hosted by the University of Reading and the University of York.

The Internet can be traced back to 1969, the World Wide Web to 1990, and the iPhone to 2007 – yet it is only in the past few years that “digital disruption” has become a big theme in business. In this lecture, Diane Coyle, Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, and an expert on the digital economy, explores why digital technology is rewiring the economy – especially now so much activity has been driven online – what economists are learning about its consequences and how economic policies need to change.

This year’s lecture can be viewed in full here.