“Wait a minute! We discovered this problem in 1999, and only five years later, we’re getting the data.”

Dale Jorgenson

economists only in 1999, much progress had already been made towards developing the knowledge and data needed to inform policy making. This conference, he noted, had advanced our understanding of the nature of software and the role it plays in the economy. It had also highlighted pathbreaking work by economists like Dr. Varian on the economics of open-source software, and Drs. Berndt and White on how to measure prepackaged software price while taking quality changes into account. Presentations by Mr. Beams and Ms. Luisi had also revealed that measurement issues concerning software installation, business reorganization, and process engineering had been thought through, with agreement on new accounting rules.

As Dr. Jorgenson further noted, the Bureau of Economic Analysis had led the way in developing new methodologies and was soon getting new survey data from the Census Bureau on how much software was being produced in the United States, how much was being imported, and how much the country was exporting. As national accountants around the world adopted these standards, international comparisons will be possible, he added, and we will be able to ascertain what is moving where—providing the missing link to the offshore outsourcing puzzle.

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