Diane Coyle, David Nguyen, 24 July 2020

The Covid-19 lockdown has provided the opportunity to measure the financial value we give to 'free' digital services like social media and Google search. Diane Coyle and David Nguyen tell Tim Phillips what they discovered, and whether this value should be counted in GDP.

Read the paper in Covid Economics 33

Diane Coyle, David Nguyen, 10 July 2020

Consumer spending patterns changed substantially during lockdown in the UK, as in other countries, with online consumption in general increasing. This column uses findings from a survey of the UK online population conducted before lockdown in late February 2020 and again in May to reveal some large and significant changes in the valuations of goods and services, with some large differences by age and gender. The lockdown has acted as a natural experiment testing the extent to which digital goods and physical goods are substitutes. The changes in valuation may indicate which services will be most valuable, and to which groups, in a post-pandemic world where more activity takes place online. 


CEPR Policy Research