A definition and measurement of the US digital economy based on the OECD proposal was published in 2018 by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), a US statistical agency. Applying the same approach to data from the German national accounts suggests that in 2016 the digital economy contributed 5.7 per cent of Germany’s gross domestic product. While this is significantly less than the 7.8 per cent measured by the BEA for the USA, the difference is partly due to the measuring strategy adopted. This is because the BEA’s approach primarily captures the value added of the information and communication technology sector plus services of a particularly digital nature such as e-commerce. This focus on enablers of digitalisation and products that would not be possible without it fails to take account of digital value creation in traditional business models. In a survey based on the IW Future Panel which included the proportion of digital value creation contributed by additional products, services and especially processes, companies in Germany estimated that an average of around 22.5 per cent of their 2020 turnover was digital. To obtain a comprehensive picture of how digitalised business has become, it will be necessary to address the lack of data specifically on the digitalisation of processes.
The Digital Economy in Germany Limits of Data Availability and First Estimates
For many years now an OECD working group has been developing and coordinating an internationally comparable quantification of the economic effects of digitalisation. However, the practical value of this initiative is limited by the nature of the available data.
- Manuel Fritsch / Karl Lichtblau ·
- IW-Trends No. 1 ·
- 15 March 2021