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Internet Association Releases New Report On Measuring The Internet Economy

BECKERMAN: “The internet is an enormous economic driver for our country and for the world, but its benefits are surprisingly hard to measure.”


Washington, DC – Internet Association and Columbia’s Richard Paul Richman Center today released a new research paper entitled, “Toward A Better Understanding Of Internet Economics.” The report, authored by Richard Adler, summarizes a day-long symposium of policy experts that examined the challenges involved in measuring the internet economy and cross-border data flows.

“The internet is an enormous economic driver for our country and for the world, but its benefits are surprisingly hard to measure,” said IA President and CEO Michael Beckerman. “Understanding how the internet intersects with our economy is essential. I commend Richard Adler and everyone else involved in this report for their important work in illuminating the valuable contribution of the internet sector to our lives.”

The report focuses on three main areas of discussion from the symposium:

  1. Challenges In Measuring The Value Added Of Online Goods And Services. There are numerous outstanding questions about how to better measure the internet’s impact on GDP, productivity, and other economic indicators.
  2. Challenges In Measuring The Value Of Cross-Border Data Flows. More than 200 terabits of data flow across borders every second, but the value of these dataflows and how to measure their value remain open questions.
  3. Dealing With Digital Protectionism. Data localization laws, data privacy requirements, and censorship can all create barriers that limit the free flow of data.

The participants in the symposium included representatives from Internet Association, Columbia University, Amazon, Airbnb, Brookings, Cornell University, eBay, Economic Innovation Group, Etsy, Facebook, Google, Lyft, McKinsey, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, New York University, Progressive Policy Institute, Spotify, U.S. Department Of State, and Yelp.

Richard Adler is a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for the Future, Palo Alto. He is also president of People & Technology, a consulting firm located in Silicon Valley. His research and writing have focused on the impact of new technologies on fields including business, education, healthcare, and aging.

The Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy is a partnership between Columbia Business School and Columbia Law School. It fosters collaboration among Columbia University’s business and legal scholars in order to generate curricular innovations and advanced research that has the potential to inform public policy as well as the theory and practice of business and law.

To read the full report, click here.