Claudia Biancotti, Alfonso Rosolia, Fabrizio Venditti, Giovanni Veronese, 12 April 2020

The COVID-19 lockdown will negatively impact businesses and households around the world not only through its direct effects on economic activity and employment, but also indirectly by the disrupting the flow of crucial information. This column suggests some channels through which national statistical institutes and other public agencies, private data brokers, and Big Tech companies can harness the full potential of their access to data.

Eiichi Tomiura, Banri Ito, Byeongwoo Kang, 14 March 2020

Cross-border data flows are becoming increasingly important in the modern economy. In response, many countries have introduced regulations to control data transfers. This column discusses the firm-level response to such regulations using a recent survey of Japanese firms. Firms react by changing the location of data storage and processing, as well as by tightening data protection. However, these responses vary significantly depending on where the regulations originate. 

Fukunari Kimura, 07 January 2020

While national governments are already implementing various economic policies related to data flows in the real world, there is not yet a consensus on how economists should approach the topic. This column outlines a framework recently proposed by the T20 Task Force on Trade, Investment, and Globalization that classifies data flow policy into five categories and allows the appropriateness of policy from the viewpoint of economics to be discussed. As a result, it becomes possible to achieve policy harmonisation in some areas and to identify others where harmonisation cannot easily be achieved.

Martina F. Ferracane, Janez Kren, Erik van der Marel, 25 October 2018

Countries are increasingly imposing new data policies which restrict both the domestic use of data and the flow of data across borders. This column uses an index of data policy restrictiveness for 64 major economies to demonstrate that restrictions that apply to the cross-border movement of data have an inhibiting effect on trade in services and, to a lesser extent, on the productivity of local companies and industries. Policies targeting the use of data, on the other hand, are found to have a comparably larger effect on productivity.

Jacques Bughin, Susan Lund, 09 January 2017

In around 25 years, the internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, connecting billions of users and businesses worldwide and leading to an explosion in the volume of cross-border digital flows. This column attempts to measure these flows and their impact on global activity in general. Global flows of goods, services, finance, people, and data have raised world GDP by at least 10% in the past decade, with the contribution to growth of GDP from data flows nearly matching the value of global trade in physical goods and services.

CEPR Policy Research