Cover: The Social Effects of Communication Technology

The Social Effects of Communication Technology

Published 1970

by Herbert Goldhamer, R. Westrum

Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback38 pages $20.00

This report reviews, in a nontechnical fashion, the principal technological developments that underlie the communication revolution, especially the transistor and the computer. A number of devices and communication subsystems that make use of these developments are described, together with the new capabilities that they permit. The principal discussion centers on possible social consequences of the communication revolution and indicates some policy questions they raise. In some cases changes are already under way. Social effects are discussed in the fields of education, political behavior, crime, economic life, governmental regulatory action, and the quality of life. There is reason for both optimism and pessimism about these various effects, but considerably more analysis, research, and social experience will be required to foresee future developments and enable steps to be taken that will increase the chances of favorable outcomes. Some guidelines are provided for research on the social effects of communication technology.

This report is part of the RAND report series. The report was a product of RAND from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.