Economic and social impacts of ICT: what do official statistics tell us?

Policy makers everywhere want to know the impacts of ICT. They are interested in both economic and social impacts, though it should be noted that, in a statistical and policy sense, the former have generally received more attention – in OECD countries at least.While it seems obvious that there are significant economic and social impacts of ICT, showing this statistically is not straightforward.This paper describes the findings of an OECD project examining ICT impact measurement and analyses based on official statistics. Both economic and social impacts are covered and some results are presented.The paper attempts to place the study of ICT impacts into the context of a broader conceptual framework of Information Society statistics and provides some suggestions for standardising terminology and methodologies.Note that while it is not covered in this paper, the environment is also affected by ICT, with direct environmental impacts arising from events such as poor disposal of PCs and the role of ICT in modelling the impacts of climate change.

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