1375.0 - Discussion Paper: Measuring a Knowledge-based Economy and Society - An Australian Framework, 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/08/2002   
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Contents >> Preface

There is no internationally agreed framework for measuring the extent to which an economy or society is knowledge-based. As a contribution to debate on this topic, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has developed a framework for measuring a knowledge-based economy or society.

The aim of the framework is to enable assessment, through use of relevant statistics, of the degree to which Australia is a knowledge-based economy and society. In putting forward this framework the ABS is not assuming the merit or otherwise of a knowledge-based economy or society.

The framework and its indicators have a national focus. However, for many of the indicators suggested, information at a regional level (State/Territory or lower) may be available from the original sources.

Given the subject matter of the framework, its structure and indicators will clearly need to change over time to remain relevant. The reasons for change include:

  • changes in views and policy interests
  • changes in availability and use of technology
  • changes to indicators as users and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) become more familiar with data sources and as statistical developments lead to improved data.

Most other work in this field refers to the so-called Knowledge-based Economy (sometimes called the New Economy or Modern Economy). The framework presented in this paper explicitly includes the concept of a knowledge-based society because of the presumed importance of social factors to economic change and the potential impacts on society of an increasing emphasis on the importance of knowledge It is, however, acknowledged that the treatment of knowledge in society in this framework is most strongly focussed on aspects which are related to the economy, either as inputs or outcomes.

The aim of this Discussion Paper is to stimulate discussion on the proposed framework. Readers are therefore invited to comment on the theoretical basis and structure of the framework, as well as the range of indicators proposed.

Dennis Trewin
Australian Statistician

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