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Mapping 'Information Economy' Businesses with Big Data: Findings for the UK

Max Nathan (), Anna Rosso () and Francois Bouet
Additional contact information
Max Nathan: University College London
Francois Bouet: Growth Intelligence

No 8662, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: Governments around the world want to develop their ICT and digital industries. Policymakers thus need a clear sense of the size and characteristics of digital businesses, but this is hard to do with conventional datasets and industry codes. This paper uses innovative 'big data' resources to perform an alternative analysis at company level, focusing on ICT-producing firms in the UK (which the UK government refers to as the 'information economy'). Exploiting a combination of public, observed and modelled variables, we develop a novel 'sector-product' approach and use text mining to provide further detail on the activities of key sector-product cells. Overall, we find that the ICT production space is around 40% larger than SIC-based estimates, with almost 70,000 more companies. We also find ICT employment shares over double the conventional estimates, although this result is more speculative. Our findings are robust to various scope, selection and sample construction challenges. We use our experiences to reflect on the broader pros and cons of frontier data use.

Keywords: ICTs; text mining; Big Data; firm-level analysis; quantitative methods; digital economy; industrial policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C55 C81 L63 L86 O38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 83 pages
Date: 2014-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ict
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Published - Published in: Research Policy, 2015, 44 (9), 1714 - 1733

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Working Paper: Mapping Information Economy Businesses with Big Data: Findings for the UK (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Mapping information economy businesses with big data: findings from the UK (2014) Downloads
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