- Erik Brynjolfsson & Ceri Parker
An economist explains how to value the internet
It is one the most commonly used measures of economic activity: gross domestic product (GDP), defined as the total market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period.
But GDP misses out on huge chunks of value in the digital economy. When digital goods, whether Google Maps or Wikipedia, are available free of charge, they make no impact on GDP despite the value to their users.
This has major consequences. Without a valid tool to measure the value of the digital economy, policymakers are left scratching their heads over how to manage it. That led a group of economists at MIT to develop a new tool to measure the benefits of the digital economy.
Counting the cost: A table showing what people would least want to live without, from top to bottom