Leveraging Data for the Public Good

Article by Christopher Pissarides, Fadi Farra and Amira Bensebaa: “…Yet data are simply too important to be entrusted to either governments or large corporations that treat them as their private property. Instead, governments should collaborate with companies on joint-governance frameworks that recognize both the opportunities and the risks of big data.

Businesses – which are best positioned to understand big data’s true value – must move beyond short‐sighted efforts to prevent regulation. Instead, they need to initiate a dialogue with policymakers on how to design viable solutions that can leverage the currency of our era to benefit the public good. Doing so would help them regain public trust.

Governments, for their part, must avoid top‐down regulatory strategies. To win the support they need from businesses, they need to create incentives for data sharing and privacy protection and help develop new analytical tools through advanced modeling. Governments should also rethink and renew deeply-rooted frameworks inherited from the industrial era, such as those for taxation and social welfare.

In the digital age, governments should recognize the centrality of data to policymaking and develop tools to reward businesses that contribute to the public good by sharing it. True, governments require taxes to raise revenues, but they must recognize that a better understanding of individuals enables more efficient policies. By recognizing companies’ ability to save public money and create social value, governments could encourage companies to share data as a matter of social responsibility…(More)”.