Statistical Indicators
Benchmarking the Information Society



All major national as well as supra-national statistical agencies have begun to address the problems that arise out of the shortcomings of available statistical data to shed light on the New Economy and the Information Society. The OECD has created a "Working Party on Indicators for the Information Society" in March 1999. Its work has until know focused especially on issues of measurement relating to electronic commerce (cf. OECD DSTI/ICCP/IIS(99)4/FINAL). It has also produced a proposal for a model questionnaire for a business survey that has already been conducted in 3 of the Nordic Member States (cf. OECD DSTI/ICCP/IIS(2000)6). EUROSTAT is participating in these efforts and also has working groups dealing with these issues.

The Statistical Programme 1998-2002 of EUROSTAT defined as one of the main aims of the ESS during this period the development of statistics on the labour market, industry, services, trans-European networks and living conditions under the heading "Competition, growth and employment and the Pact for Employment". EPROS (The European Plan for Research in Official Statistics) includes the call for research on SINE (Statistical indicators for the New Economy), which "not only [concerns] conceptual research in that field, but also measurement and exploitation of new indicators" (EPROS 2000, p.11). EC and EUROSTAT also indicate that "in order to understand the socio-economic impacts of IST, indicators on availability, penetration, activities and use, particularly by households, are needed. It is argued that special user surveys should be undertaken" (cf. EPROS 2000, p 11).

The SIBIS project has to be seen against this background. The project approach is based on the utilisation of existing official statistics including the results of relevant representative surveys wherever possible, supplemented by fresh data collection via new surveys to be carried out as part of the project where necessary and required for statistical indicator / index construction.