Measuring the knowledge economy

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released a discussion paper today examining the social dynamics of knowledge-based activity and to determine the degree to which Australia is a knowledge-based economy.

Titled Measuring a Knowledge-based Economy and Society - An Australian Framework, it has five dimensions: context, innovation and entrepreneurship, human capital, information and communications technology, and economic and social impacts.

The framework tackles the social implications of issues such as the "digital divide" between those who have and those who don't have good Internet access.

The term "knowledge-based economy" was coined by the OECD and defined as an economy which is "directly based on the production, distribution and use of knowledge and information".

Research by the OECD and APEC has concluded that successful modern economies were more knowledge-intensive than ever and that the key to global competition was working smarter and making better use of skills and knowledge.

As an example, the ABS estimates that nearly 40 per cent of the Australian work force today are "knowledge workers", compared to 33 per cent in 1989.

The ABS invites comment and discussion on this proposed new framework of data analysis (www.abs.gov.au).

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