The rise of information technology and big data analytics has given rise to "the new economy." But are its economics new? This article constructs a growth model where firms accumulate data, instead of capital. We incorporate three key features of data: 1) Data is a by-product of economic activity; 2) data is information used for prediction, and 3) uncertainty reduction enhances firm profitability. The model can explain why data-intensive goods or services, like apps, are given away for free, why many new entrants are nonprofitable and why some of the biggest firms in the economy prot primarily from selling data. While these transition dynamics differ from those of traditional growth models, the long run features diminishing returns. Just like accumulating capital, accumulating predictive data, by itself, cannot sustain long-run growth.
Farboodi, Maryam, and Laura Veldkamp. "A Growth Model of the Data Economy." Columbia Business School, October 29, 2020.
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