creative bookkeeping that the study did (very successfully) raised the interest of the European Commission in PSI—and especially its potential value.
Nearly five years later, we did the MEPSIR study. You would expect that the value would be higher by that time, because even with a modest growth of 3 percent, the EU’s €68 billion would now be €80 billion, but we actually arrived at a lower number, a base number of €27 billion. To be honest, that was still pretty much an overestimate. One of the things we asked for was the market size, which is different from the value added and much larger. Because all the studies had used estimates of value added, it was important in this study to use it as well in order to make comparisons.
Another issue was that it seemed the small countries tended to overestimate the value of the market significantly. Compensating for that, we divided the numbers by two. Finally, in order to fill in the missing values, we had to correct the method used. Just as Pira had done, we had used GDP as a base. But that really does not make sense because you are dealing with some big countries, such as Poland, that just do not have a vibrant information industry. So it is probably better to use the economic value of the publishing industry as a distributor of PSI, and if you do that, you arrive at lower numbers again. When we make all of these corrections, we drop from €27 to €5 billion or even €3 billion—truly a big difference. Obviously, these are not precise numbers, but they give us an order of magnitude—about 15 to 20 times less than the Pira study estimated.
Now let us look at the more recent OFT study, which covered only the United Kingdom. It arrived at an overall number of almost £600 million. If you take away all the distortions—due to trading tricks and so on—you arrive at a value of £1.1 billion, or almost double the original figure. If you then use this method to calculate a value for the European Union as a whole, you arrive at a total of €3 to €5.5 billion—pretty close to the MEPSIR figures.
Finally, let us return to the initial 2001 Dutch study. It was rather detailed, but it was focused only on geo-information and covered only the Netherlands. Extending this to all PSI sectors for all of the European Union is, of course, a very tricky business, but if you do so you end up with values of between €5 to €7 billion. Again, that is much lower than the €68 billion that was mentioned by Pira. If we take a new look at Pira, it basically said that the United States has a much stronger private information industry. Furthermore, Pira’s number included IT software, hardware, Hollywood—you name it, they added everything up. But that begs the question—and this is really the key question—of to what extent this difference is due to differences in pricing policy, that is, to the difference between an open access model and a closed access model. The assumption was that there would be a more vibrant information sector if PSI were more readily available.
It is actually possible to argue the other way around. Because the United States has a much stronger private information industry, there is more of a mature demand for PSI. And there may another factor: that Americans are just better at exploiting information services, whether in the private or public sector. Or there may be no relationship whatsoever. Honestly, I do not know, and there been no research in this specific area. Gerhard Wagner from Austria is probably one of the few who has done in-depth empirical research making comparisons between countries. He has found some