Published on 26 February 2020
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The Value of Data – Policy Implications

The Value of Data

Policy Implications – Main report

Published: February 2020


Diane Coyle
Stephanie Diepeveen
Julia Wdowin
Bennett Institute, University of Cambridge

Jeni Tennison
Lawrence Kay
Open Data Institute

Publication from the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, Cambridge in partnership with the Open Data Institute.

Excerpt from the Introduction:

“There is a lively debate about the value of data, but the creation of value from data of different kinds, its capture by different entities, and its distribution, need to be better understood. This matters for effective policy as well as business opportunities, in order to ensure that society as a whole gains from the data-fuelled changes in the economy. Yet at present there is too little distinction in the debate between different types and uses of data, and the private and public value these could create, even though the number of data transactions is growing significantly.

This report proposes an approach to understanding questions of value, and the policy implications, based on the economic characteristics of data. Its aim is to contribute to a shared understanding of the value of this newly pervasive intangible asset. By ‘value’, we are referring to the economic concept of ‘social welfare’: the broad economic well-being of all of society, including the profitability of businesses, the incomes and needs of individuals, and non-monetary benefits such as convenience or health.”

We are grateful to the Nuffield Foundation for funding this project, Valuing Data: Foundations for Data Policy under grant number WEL/43956.

The Nuffield Foundation is an endowed charitable trust that aims to improve social well-being in the widest sense. It funds research and innovation in education and social policy and also works to build capacity in education, science and social science research. The Nuffield Foundation has funded this project, but the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation. More information is available at

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