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Valuing Goods Online and Offline: the Impact of Covid-19

Diane Coyle () and David Nguyen ()

Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCoE) Discussion Papers from Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCoE)

Abstract: This paper uses a survey representative of the UK online population to assess the willingness to accept loss of certain goods. We had conducted an initial survey in February, focusing on ‘free’ online goods and some potential substitutes and comparators. Consistent with other contingent valuation studies, consumers on average assigned valuations to many of these goods, particularly when benchmarked against revenue figures for the services. Our pilot studies, discussed in a forthcoming paper, also suggested that the actual valuations are not well anchored, but the methodology can give consistent rankings among goods. It is also a useful way to assess changes in valuations. Repeating the survey in May, during the UK, lockdown, we observed significant changes in the valuations of different goods and services, with some large differences by age and gender. In this sense the lockdown has acted as a natural experiment testing for the extent to which digital goods and physical goods are substitutes. These valuation changes may indicate which services are most valuable in a post-pandemic world where more activity takes place online. They also provide important, policy-relevant insights into distributional questions.

Keywords: digital services; valuations; lockdown (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D12 D60 I31 C43 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dcm, nep-ict and nep-pay
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