A New Approach to Digital Public Goods Is Gaining Steam

May 5, 2022


Data is different from other inputs. Researchers in the public and private sectors can reuse troves of data indefinitely without that data losing its value. Individuals can use the same data for multiple purposes. They can create new products or research complex problems. Hence, data is multidimensional. It can simultaneously be a commercial asset and a public good.

Firms have long relied on data to improve the efficiency and quality of goods and services. However, today market actors also utilize data to create entirely new services, such as personalized healthcare. Data-driven sectors such as social networks and artificial-intelligence services are the foundation of today’s global economy. These sectors also enabled much of the world to function during the pandemic.

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