Cloud Computing and National Accounting


Cloud Computing and National Accounting

Research Seminar

Tuesday 16 October 2018, 16:30 — 17:30

Presented by Diane Coyle, Cambridge University and David Nguyen, NIESR

Venue: Office for National Statistics, 1 Drummond Gate, London, SW1V 2QQ

The digitisation of the economy has led to changes in business models that affect GDP and trade statistics. One of these changes is the adoption of cloud computing services in place of fixed investment in computer and communications hardware and the development of own-account software. This rapidly growing phenomenon involves the detachment of the physical location of data and computing processes from their creation, ownership and use, potentially introducing transactions across national borders. We construct price indices for cloud services in the UK, showing significant price declines in the past few years, and discuss the conceptualisation of a volume measure for cloud services. We consider the implications of cloud use by businesses for the interpretation of measured business investment, GDP, productivity growth and international trade statistics. Finally, we set out the requirements for official statistics to be able to track cloud computing in future.

Diane Coyle is the Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, having previously been Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester. She is a member of the Natural Capital Committee, and researcher at the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence. She specialises in the economics of new technologies, markets and competition policy. Her books include GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History, The Economics of Enough: How to run the economy as if the future matters, and The Soulful Science (all Princeton University Press). Diane has a PhD from Harvard and BA in PPE from Oxford. She was awarded a CBE in January 2018, for services to Economics and the Public Understanding of Economics.

David Nguyen is a Research Economist at NIESR and the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence. In his research he explores measurement and productivity issues in modern economies, regional disparities, and international linkages via trade, migration and foreign investment. David holds a PhD and MSc from the London School of Economics and also graduated with a BSc from Utrecht University. He has previously worked as a consultant in international investment and has been a visiting researcher at Deutsche Bundesbank.