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Modelling data sharing: why is it important?

Access to data can determine whether a company develops a new product and enters a market - driving innovation and productivity growth - and data sharing could be a way to encourage more economic dynamism. But the impact of more or less data sharing – on companies, consumers, and the economy – is really hard to know with any certainty.

To explore this issue, the ODI developed an illustrative agent-based model of data sharing in the economy with the aim to develop a much richer picture of the effects of more or less data sharing on the economy.

Our approach

We used agent-based modelling to articulate our concept of the data economy, and our model is just a first attempt to work through key ideas.

We wanted to try agent-based modelling because recent advances in computing power mean that it has become easier to gauge how the decisions of individual consumers and companies can, over time, produce effects that we might not have expected.

But note that the model has been guided by expertise rather than statistical data and cannot be used to make predictions or policy. Once we have used the model to learn more about our ideas, we intend to make it more robust.

Key outputs

An agent-based model for data policy decision making

View our agent-based model (ABM) of data sharing in a simple economy. Although the ABM is too simple to extrapolate from, we can still use it to think through policy issues and refine the questions we ask about interventions in the real world.

Data portability and an agent-based model of the data economy

In this blog post, find out what happens when we increase data portability in our agent-based model.

How we developed a model of data sharing in the economy

Find out how we got to grips with developing an agent-based model (ABM) as part of our research project, and what we learned from the process.

How can we better model data policy?

Find out if agent-based modelling can help us understand the economic impact of data sharing...

Economics of information

Find out how our agent-based model used some of the most novel ideas in economics research to examine the links between data sharing and innovation.

The impact of data policy

Read our blog post, How can we predict the impact of data policy?

Get involved

Are you interested in open data? Are you curious about how you could use it, share it or help promote its social, economic and environmental benefits? Get in contact.

Background and funding

This work is part of a three-year innovation programme, running to March 2020 with a funding profile of £2m each year from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

The work will enable the UK to build on its established strengths in data and data analytics, break new ground in creating value from data across industry, and ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of data innovation globally.

See all research and development around data innovation for the UK