The unmeasured societal well-being benefits of new technologies: 0.02%, 0.1%, 0.5%, 2.5% per year, or more? I tend to be on the side something between 0.5% and 2.5%—the fact that people with a poverty-line income of 25000 per family of 4 seem to me to live better than people with the same nominal income in any past generation is, for me, dispositive. Public and private health, entertainment, and information technologies are "seismic", and seem to me to have overwhelmed the rest. But her we have smart people disagreeing. Plus—an issue that they do not raise—is Facebook actually a net plus? You can make the case that it has not been:

Erik Brynjolfsson, Avinash Collis, W. Erwin Diewert, Felix Eggers, and Kevin J. Fox: GDP-B: Accounting for the Value of New and Free Goods in the Digital Economy: "The welfare contributions of the digital economy, characterized by the proliferation of new and free goods, are not well-measured in our current national accounts. We derive explicit terms for the welfare contributions of these goods and introduce a new metric, GDP-B which quantifies their benefits, rather than costs. We apply this framework to several empirical examples including Facebook and smartphone cameras and estimate their valuations through incentive compatible choice experiments. For example, including the welfare gains from Facebook would have added between 0.05 and 0.11 percentage points to GDP-B growth per year in the US...


#noted #2019-10-06

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