Measurement challenges of digitalization in official statistics
Category: International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS)
To challenge the mismeasurement in the digital economy, the session especially pays attention to the important measurement challenges in official statistics.
The digital economy has raised some concerns about the scope and estimation of GDP. The digital economy’s output captured in estimates of GDP is still lacking. The research work is needed on measuring the contributions of digitalisation to GDP and other macroeconomic statistics. Digitalisation is not sufficiently present within the classification systems currently used to estimate and report on economic activity, making it difficult to assess the size and growth of the digital economy and its possible contributions to consumer welfare.
In addition, the employment impacts of digitalization, including the rise of the ’sharing’ and ’gig’ economies, raise important issues for labour market policies. Working on a more explicit view of the digital economy in macroeconomic statistics is also important because further investigation could uncover significant measurement challenges in activities that have not been fully investigated but whose economic size could grow and create measurement biases in the future.
The productivity slowdown that occurred in dozens of countries resulting from the “missing output” still needs empirical challenges. Whether its size or output is related to measures of the countries’ consumption or production intensities of information and communication technologies (ICTs, the type of goods most often cited as sources of mismeasurement) and the surplus created by internet-linked digital technologies is still not clear. More empirical analysis based on countries’ data should be carried out to examine the properly measured output and productivity growth rates of industries.