In a policy brief last autumn for the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington, Harvard economist Michael Mandel argued that “economic and regulatory policymakers around the world are not getting the data they need to understand the importance of data for the economy.”
Mandel cited the fact that Eurostat – the European statistical agency – reports how much European businesses invest in buildings and equipment, but not how much those same businesses spend on consumer or business databases, as evidence of a malaise.
“Since the modern concept of economic growth was developed in the 1930s, economists have been systematically trained to think of the economy as being divided into two big categories: ‘goods’ and ‘services’. But data is neither a good or service,” according to Mandel.
He believes that the key statistics watched by policymakers – economic growth, consumption, investment, and trade – dramatically understate the importance of data for the economy, and that “these misleading statistics distort government policy”.
Read the entire article here.