Sunday, August 14, 2022

Play

Voting-rights groups sue AZ to block 'Election Security' Bills; U.S House vote expected today on the new Inflation Reduction Act; the Attorney General moves to release details on search of Trump s home.

Play

Local election officials detail how election misinformation is fueling threats; Media outlets ask a court to unseal the search warrant of Donald Trump's home; and the CDC changes its approach to COVID-19.

Play

Infrastructure funding is on its way, ranchers anticipate money from the Inflation Reduction Act, and rural America is becoming more diverse, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the leadership.

MIT Research Looks at Facebook's Worth to People

Play

Monday, May 6, 2019   

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A new Massachusetts Institute of Technology study aims to capture how much people would pay for free online services such as Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube. The researchers' premise is that because a country's Gross Domestic Product is a measurement of spending, it fails to include much of the digital economy - which is free.

To calculate this gap, they asked 65,000 people in online surveys what they would need to be paid to stop using various digital services for one month. Respondents in the U.S. said, for instance, they'd want $48 on average to give up using Facebook for a month.

Study co-author Avinash Collis, co-leader of the Measuring the Economy project said he didn't anticipate the responses.

"We were really surprised by the magnitude of these numbers,” Collis said. “We did not expect them to be as high as we found."

The study offers a new category of GDP, known as GDPB - the B is for benefit - to try to quantify the economic impact of services that aren't included in the traditional GDP. It's part of a growing body of research that suggests the whole concept of Gross Domestic Product may need an update.

But according to Collis, the lessons from this research are not simple. First, he said, it would be hard for online services to start charging users.

"Many of these products substitute for each other. Like with Facebook, we found that lots of people who use Facebook also use and value Instagram and YouTube really high,” he said. “So, if you start charging for Facebook, they could migrate to Instagram or YouTube. The implications there are not clear."

In other words, people could just move to whatever service is still free.

He also mentioned that beyond their economic impact, the societal benefits of these platforms need further analysis. Collis offered an interesting comparison.

"Some people could argue that these goods might be like cigarettes - more people buy them, then GDP would increase,” he said. “But it probably is not good from the health implications for a society."

The research indicates economic production isn't the only measure of a nation's well-being.


get more stories like this via email

Since the 2020 election, at least 19 states have passed 34 laws restrict­ing access to voting, according to the Brennan Center For Justice. (Orlowiski Designs/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Voting-rights advocates are suing the state of Arizona over new regulations they say make it harder for some people to register and would block thousa…


Social Issues

New Hampshire ranks second in the country on measures of child well-being, according to the new 2022 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey …

Social Issues

Massachusetts ranks first in the nation for children's well-being, according to the 2022 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation…


While there are continued disparities, an annual report says Minnesota has seen progress in elevating kids out of poverty, with 12% of children falling into that category. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Minnesota once again gets a high ranking among states for child well-being, but an annual report says the state's disparities remain a challenge…

Social Issues

Some measurements of children's well-being show warning signs in Iowa in the area of education. The numbers contrast with Iowa's overall ranking in a …

Pictured in the center is Francine "Fran" Pace, one of 11 graduates of this summer's Youth Leadership Academy for Iowans with disabilities. (Photo courtesy of DD Council).

Health and Wellness

Nearly a dozen Iowa youths with disabilities are taking newly developed leadership skills out into the world. A summer academy wrapped up this month…

Environment

A coalition of community organizations teamed up in Oregon to force a chronic polluter out of business, and bring environmental justice to a nearby …

Health and Wellness

During National Health Center Week, health-care advocates are highlighting the work Community Health Centers are doing to improve access to care …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright Š 2021