Measuring the Value of Cross-Border Data Flows explores challenges in assessing the value of cross-border data flows and makes recommendations for how the Commerce Department and the private sector can improve measurement and analysis. The report also highlights some of the efforts to better measure these flows and the larger digital economy that are already underway at the Commerce Department.
Global Free Flow of Information
The Internet has extraordinary power to shrink the world -- to allow people separated by thousands of miles to more easily interact, learn from one another, and trade goods and services. These interactions are possible because of the incredible amounts of data that flows seamlessly across borders.
We know these data flows are happening and we know they are having an increasingly significant effect on the economy. However, solid statistical foundations for measuring the economic impact of cross-border data flows do not currently exist. What’s needed is the sound methodology and standard nomenclature that other economic data enjoy, so that policymakers can make informed decisions and businesses can choose strategies that will help them grow.
Late last year, the Commerce Department’s Digital Economy Leadership Team initiated a six-month effort to better understand data gaps related to measuring the economic value of the free flow of information across borders. This effort included meetings with over 30 stakeholder groups from the private and public sectors, a literature review, and a roundtable discussion convened on May 9, 2016, to discuss measurement gaps.