The Colin Clark Memorial Lecture Series

Our annual public lecture and most prestigious event

2022 Colin Clark Memorial Lecture by
Professor Erik Brynjolfsson, Stanford University

GDP-B: Accounting for the value of new and free goods in the digital economy

Join author, inventor and esteemed academic Professor Erik Brynjolfsson, Stanford University, as he presents a new method for measuring real GDP growth in a digital economy.

As technology continues to grow and evolve, so too does the way we interact with each other and the world around us. As billions of connections are made every day, this hyperconnectivity is strengthening our digital economy, but it's also undermining conventional notions about how businesses are structured; how firms communicate; how consumers obtain goods, information and services; and how this is measured, leaving economists questioning the metrics behind standard statistical agency reports for GDP (gross domestic product) - particularly in relation to new and free goods.

At this year's Colin Clark Memorial Lecture, Professor Erik Brynjolfsson explains how potential mismeasurement can arise from not fully accounting for new and free goods, while also putting forward a new framework for measuring welfare change and real GDP growth.

The new metric, labelled GDP-B as it captures the benefits associated with new and free goods, is seen to go “beyond GDP”.

Professor Brynjolfsson speaks to his research applying this framework to several empirical examples - including Facebook and smartphone cameras - to estimate their valuations through incentive-compatible choice experiments with findings adding up to 0.11 percentage points to welfare growth per year.


Dr Erik Brynjolfsson speaking to a crowdAbout the speaker - Professor Erik Brynjolfsson

Professor Erik Brynjolfsson is the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Professor and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI), and Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab. He is the Ralph Landau Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) and holds appointments at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford Department of Economics and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

One of the most-cited authors on the economics of information, Brynjolfsson was among the first researchers to measure productivity contributions of IT and the complementary role of organizational capital and other intangibles. He has done pioneering research on digital commerce, the Long Tail, bundling and pricing models, intangible assets and the effects of IT on business strategy, productivity and performance.

Brynjolfsson speaks globally and is the author of nine books including, with co-author Andrew McAfee, best-seller The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, and Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future as well as over 100 academic articles and five patents. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from Harvard University in applied mathematics and decision sciences and a PhD from MIT in managerial economics.

Read Brynjolfsson's research papers

About the series

Economist Dr Colin Clark
Dr Colin Clark

The lecture series is named in honour of the late Dr Colin Clark and his outstanding contribution to the field of economics. Each year a leading expert in economics is invited to present the keynote address. 

Dr Colin Clark was a UQ Economics academic whose work on national income accounting was fundamentally important to the development of macroeconomics and to the approach of John Maynard Keynes.

While visiting Australia, he accepted the invitation of Queensland Premier Forgan Smith to work with the government. He reflected on the opportunity in a letter to John Keynes writing the opportunity was "too remarkable an opportunity to be missed for putting economics into practice."

In 1938 he was appointed Government Statistician, Director of the Bureau of Industry, and Financial Advisor to the Queensland Treasury, and provided the State's first set of economic accounts in 1940.

Dr Clark's greatest contribution to economics was his pioneering role in the construction of national accounts.

Previous lectures

Previous speakers

Thirtieth2021Matthew Jackson, The economic consequences and dynamics of social networks
Twenty-ninth2019Professor Alicia Rambaldi, International comparison methods
Twenty-eighth2018Professor Daniel Zizzo, Decision making: How to change it and why it matters 
Twenty-seventh2017Professor John Quiggin, Unscrambling the Toll Road Egg
Twenty-sixth2016Professor Leslie M. Marx, How to defend against potential collusion by your suppliers
Twenty-fifth2015Professor Alison Booth, Gender in economics: A story in the making
Twenty-fourth2014Professor Dale Jorgenson, Australia and the Growth of the World Economy
Twenty-third2013Professor John Quiggin, National Accounting and the Digital Economy: The Case of the NBN
Twenty-second2012Professor Ross Garnaut
Twenty-first2011Professor Stephen King
Twentieth2010Professor Erwin Diewert
Nineteenth2009Dr David Gruen, What Have We Learnt? The Great Depression in Australia from the Perspective of Today
Eighteenth2008Mr Gary Banks AO
Seventeenth2007Professor Ian Harper
Sixteenth2006Professor Alan Heston
Fifteenth2005Professor Stan Metcalfe CBE
Fourteenth2004Professor Allan Fels AO
Thirteenth2003Mr Angus Maddison
Twelfth2002Mr Ian Macfarlane
Eleventh2001Dr Peter McCawley, Asian Poverty: What can be Done?
Tenth2000Professor Bob Gregory
Ninth1999Mr Ted Evans
Eighth1998Mr Ian Castles
Seventh1997Professor Geoffrey Harcourt
Sixth1996Dr Peter Crossman
Fifth1995Professor Warren Hogan
Fourth1994Emeritus Professor H.M. (Ted) Kolsen
Third1993Professor Peter Groenewegen
Second1992Emeritus Professor Heinz Wolfgang Arndt
Inaugural1991Emeritus Professor Jim O.N. Perkins