This project aims to address the seeming paradox of rapid technological change accompanied by low productivity growth through developing theory, analysis of official data, collection of valuations of free digital products and regular market goods, and using massive online experiments. That is, it aims to harness the reach of the digital economy to improve core measures of economic performance which impact on policy.
With free digital goods and services replacing previously charged for products (such as maps, photographic film, mailed letters), it is becoming more difficult to measure both outputs and inputs. Yet consumption of digital goods and services, including free entertainment services such as YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, is increasing, implying that there is corresponding production of these entertainment services.
This research has three key aims: develop new frameworks for measuring productivity growth in the presence of digital goods and services; address biases in standard productivity statistics arising from inadequate accounting for new and disappearing goods; and introduce a better understanding of the impact of quality change on productivity.
Project lead Kevin Fox (University of New South Wales)