The Sixth IMF Statistical Forum: Measuring Economic Welfare in the Digital Age: What and How?

November 19-20, 2018

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Preliminary Agenda (As of October 1, 2018)

Monday, November 19, 2018 (Day 1)

8:00 am

Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:45 am

Welcoming Remarks, Louis Marc Ducharme, Chief Statistician and Data Officer, and Director, Statistics Department, IMF

8:50 am

Introduction to the Forum, David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director, IMF

9:15 am

SESSION I. FRAMEWORK FOR ECONOMIC WELFARE “BEYOND GDP”. WHAT IS NEW IN THE DIGITAL AGE?

Why do we need measures of welfare that is directly linked to economic progress but not captured by existing national accounts and price statistics? Has the need for indicators of whether growth has been inclusive become more urgent? What about household non-market production (e.g., housekeeping, child care, cooking and services of volunteers)? Has digitalization allowed welfare and non-market production to grow more than GDP?

 

Chair: Louis Marc Ducharme, Chief Statistician and Data Officer, and Director, Statistics Department, IMF

 

Charles Hulten (University of Maryland) with Leonard Nakamura, “Accounting for Growth in the Age of the Internet: The Importance of Output-Saving Technical Change”

 

Leonard Nakamura (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia) with Diane Coyle, “Towards a Framework for Time Use, Welfare and Household-centric Economic Measurement”

 

Lucas Chancel (Paris School of Economics), with Facundo Alvaredo, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman The elephant curve of global inequality and growth”

 

Questions from the audience

11:00 am

Coffee Break

11:20 am

SESSION II. CURRENT STATE OF PLAY IN OFFICIAL STATISTICS FOR MEASURING ECONOMIC WELFARE

National Statistics Offices are already measuring some indicators of welfare beyond GDP and laying the groundwork to measure others. What are the recent successes and advances in developing supplementary measures of welfare? Given that there are limited resources, what are the priorities?

 

Chair: Anil Arora, Chief Statistician of Canada

 

Gabriel Quirós and Marshall Reinsdorf (IMF Statistics Department), “Measuring Economic Welfare: State of Play and Priorities”

 

Rendra Achyunda (Statistics Indonesia) with Silvia Arini, “Measuring Sustainable Economic Welfare in the Digital Era”

 

Peter Van de Ven, (OECD), “Measuring Economic Welfare: A Practical Agenda for the Present and the Future”

 

Questions from the audience

12:40 pm

Lunch

1:40 pm

SESSION III. WHAT IS THE VALUE OF UNPRICED SOFTWARE AND DATA?

Free software and free services supplied by platforms that collect users’ data are prominent in the digital economy. Valuing open source software and the data of digital platforms at zero seems unsatisfactory even though in national accounts value is usually inferred from prices. Alternative approaches suggest about their value is large.

 

Chair: TBD

 

Carol A. Robbins, (National Science Foundation (USA)), with Gizem Korkmaz, Stephanie Shipp, and Sallie Keller “Open Source Software as Intangible Capital: Measuring the Cost and Impact of Free Digital Tools”

 

Wendy Li (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis), with Makoto Nirei, and Kazufumi Yamana, “Value of Data: There’s no Such Thing as a Free Lunch in the Digital Economy”

 

Questions from the audience

3:00 pm

Coffee break

3:20 pm

SESSION IV. MEASURING WELFARE GROWTH: CASES OF NEW DIGITAL SERVICES AND PUBLIC GOODS

New and free digital products and unpriced public goods have important effects on welfare but measuring these effects can be challenging. Can a conceptual framework and set of practical estimation techniques be identified for accounting for new and unpriced services in the digital and government sectors in measuring welfare growth and output growth?

 

Chair: TBD

 

Kevin Fox, (UNSW Sydney), with Erik Brynjolfsson, Erwin Deiwert, Felix Eggers, and Avi Gannamaneni “The Digital Economy, GDP and Consumer Welfare: Theory and Evidence”

 

Richard Heys, (Office for National Statistics (UK)) with Fred Foxton, Joe Grice and James Lewis, “The Welfare Implications of Public Goods: Lessons from 10 years of Atkinson in the UK”

 

Questions from the audience

4:40 pm

Coffee break

5:00 pm

SESSION V. PANEL DISCUSSION: FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE ACROSS DIVERSE COUNTRIES

The panel will discuss what can be done, what are the priorities, and the challenges of national statistical offices to move beyond the current standard framework for macroeconomic statistics to develop indicators of economic welfare as discussed in this forum.

 

Chair: Tao Zhang, Deputy Managing Director, IMF

 

LYU Feng, National Bureau of Statistics, China

Yemi Kale, Statistician General of the National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria

 

 

Questions from the audience

6:00 pm

Cocktail Reception, hosted by DMD Tao Zhang, IMF

                                                                                                                                         

 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 (day 2)

8:00 am

Continental Breakfast

8:30 am

SESSION VI. WELFARE EFFECTS FROM E-COMMERCE AND FINTECH

Online marketplaces and retailing have increased consumers’ access to varieties and saved consumers time. Fintech has helped to make payment and credit services more widely available and lowered their costs. What are the welfare effects, and how can we measure them?

 

Chair: Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, Deputy director, IMF Research Department

 

Lizhi Liu, (Georgetown University) with Victor Couture, Benjamin Faber, and Yizhen Gu, “E-Commerce Integration and Economic Development: Evidence from China”

 

Zhao Li Meng, (JD Finance Institute), “Opportunities and risks to economic welfare from fintech”

 

Peter J. Klenow, (Stanford University), with Liran Einav, Benjamin Klopack, Jonathan D. Levin, Larry Levin, and Wayne Best “Assessing the Gains from E-Commerce”

 

Questions from the audience

10:00 am

Coffee break

 

SESSION VII. IS ALL FOR THE GOOD IN THE DIGITAL AGE?

Although digitalization has improved life in many ways, the digital age is also a time of growing polarization of income and wealth distributions, and of high levels of market monopolization in industries with strong network and scale effects. Technologies such as artificial intelligence could potentially have effects that exacerbate inequality and monopolization. Welfare can be negatively affected. What are the measurement implications, and what data are needed to support policy responses?

10:20 am

Chair: Gerard Thomas Rice, Director, IMF Communication Department

 

Ian Goldin, (University of Oxford) “Income and Development in a Digital Age”

 

Gillian Tett, (Financial Times), “From the Amazon (jungle) to Amazon (warehouses): how anthropology can help us to rethink the digital economy”

 

Questions from the audience

11:35 am

Coffee Break

12:00 pm

Keynote speech, Jim Balsillie: Chair, Centre for International Governance Innovation “Measuring Intangible Assets (IP & Data) for the Knowledge-Based and Data Driven Economy”

 

12:45 pm

One-on-one discussion

Jim Balsillie, Chair, Centre for International Governance Innovation

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, IMF

 

Questions from the audience

1:30 pm

Closing Remarks: Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, IMF

                                                                         

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Call for Papers

The 6th Statistical Forum of the International Monetary Fund will take place in Washington, D.C. on November 19-20, 2018. ​The Forum is a platform for policymakers, academics, researchers, and compilers of economic and financial data to come together to discuss cutting-edge issues in macroeconomic and financial statistics and to build support for statistical improvements.

 

The theme of this year’s Statistical Forum is Measuring Economic Welfare in the Digital Age: What and How? Digitalization of economy and social interactions has renewed the demand for indicators of welfare beyond GDP, such as those highlighted in the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi report (2009), and the IMF (2018) paper on Measuring the Digital Economy  The Forum Program Committee seeks proposals for empirical or conceptual papers on the measures needed to understand aspects of welfare not captured in standard GDP and price statistics, and on techniques for constructing these measures. Topics of primary interest are detailed in the draft Agenda below.

 

Authors interested in contributing a paper to the Sixth Statistical Forum should submit an indication of interest noting the preferred session(s) from those in the Forum’s agenda, and short abstract by Friday, June 1, 2018 to  STAForum@imf.org. Please use the contact author’s name as the name of the attached file. Authors of selected proposals will be contacted by Friday, June 22, 2018. The deadline for submitting a draft of the paper is October 8, and the final version and presentation is requested no later than October 31. In evaluating the proposals, the Program Committee will consider relevance to the theme and areas of interest of the Forum, originality, feasibility, and the importance of the contribution. Travel and hotel expenses of the presenting author will be covered by the conference organizers. Further information on the conference program will be posted on the IMF website www.imf.org.

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Theme Picture