Capturing the digital economy: a proposed measurement framework and its applications

Amid the growing interest in the digitalization of socioeconomic activities, there is a lack of consensus on an established framework to estimate the digital economy. This special supplement of Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2021 seeks to progress the discourse by measuring the size of the digital economy and assessing its relative importance in national and global production processes. To do so, the report puts forward a definition of the core digital economy and proposes an input-output analytical framework mainly using published input- output tables compiled from national statistics offices. Application of this framework to selected economies and years shows that the digital economy and digitally dependent industries contribute a significant portion of gross domestic product. Moreover, additional methods and data are employed to examine key digital economy phenomena and trends in relation to sectoral linkages, temporal price changes, jobs, global value chains, the COVID-19 pandemic, and Industry 4.0. This special supplement offers various statistics and insights that may aid researchers and policymakers in the use of digitalization metrics, and serves as a starting point for subsequent digital economy analyses.