Information economy is an economy with an increased emphasis on informational activities and information industry. The term was coined by Marc Porat, a graduate student at Stanford University, who would later co-found General Magic.
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Manuel Castells states that information economy is not mutually exclusive with manufacturing economy.  He finds that some countries such as Germany and Japan exhibit the informatization of manufacturing processes. In a typical conceptualization, however, information economy is considered a "stage" or "phase" of an economy, coming after stages of hunting, agriculture, and manufacturing. This conceptualization can be widely observed regarding information society, a closely related but wider concept.
There are numerous characterizations of the transformations some economies have undergone. Service economy, high-tech economy, late-capitalism, post-Fordism, and global economy are among the most frequently used terms, having some overlaps and contradictions among themselves. Closer terms to information economy would include knowledge economy.