Conference, London, 27-29 August, 2002

The theme of this conference, ‘Official Statistics and the New Economy’ brought together over 300 statisticians and economists who were supplied with 106 papers to read, of which half were presented, which gave opportunities for questions, comments and discussions. With plenary and triple-parallel sessions, it was impossible for anyone to attend all that was on offer, nor is it possible to summarise it within the compass of space available here. 

The four Keynote papers were: What do we mean by the New Economy? (Dale Jorgensen, Harvard); Policy Implications and their Statistical Needs (Diane Coyle, Enlightenment Economics, London); Business Transformation Implications of the New Economy (Merlin Stone, Bristol Business School & IBM); and Measuring the New Economy (Steve Landefeld, Bureau of Economic Affairs, Washington) 

Despite several papers offering definitions of ‘the new economy’, not always identical, there were still discussants from the floor at the end of three days who confessed they were no wiser as to what the term signified. Early days, perhaps? 

At the other extreme was the arresting contrast, during a session on Labour Market and Skills Implications, of papers by Luay Shabaneh (Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics) on ‘Impact of Labor Shock on Women’s Participation in the Labor Force, Palestinian Experience’ and Michael Abouganem and Mark Feldman (Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel) on ‘Development of the High-tech Industry in Israel, 1995-1999, Labour Force and Wages. It is encouraging, in the circumstances, that traditional data collection is maintained. 

All the papers can be read on the ONS website,