Derek Slater and Betsy Masiello are Policy Managers at Google.
The Internet is the most powerful infrastructure we’ve seen yet for the creation, exchange, and implementation of new ideas. By facilitating access to information and collaboration at previously unimaginable scale, one small idea shared online can quickly grow into a world-changing one. As a result, the Internet has become a wellspring of innovation and renewal across the economy, and the numbers prove it.
Today the OECD has released its 2012 Internet Economy Outlook, a comprehensive look at the Internet’s ongoing role in transforming the global economy. The report opens with a landmark chapter on measuring the Internet economy. This is a significant addition to the research literature on this subject in part because, as the OECD notes, “there is still no widely accepted methodology for assigning an economic value to the Internet.” They find that up to 13% of business sector value added in the United States in 2010 could be attributed to Internet-related activities—as much as transportation, construction and utilities combined.
Ongoing data analysis of the sort undertaken by the OECD here can help inform government priorities and policy developments. Earlier this summer, we released a paper outlining a set of policy ideas that put key qualities that have made the Internet such a vibrant source of innovation at the center of driving economic growth and renewal. With more data demonstrating the value of the Internet to global economies, policymakers will have even more evidence that policies to encourage the development of a robust internet economy to thrive will result in huge economic returns.