U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker received a series of recommendations from members of the Digital Economy Board of Advisors that identify key actions the U.S. Department of Commerce can take to support the digital economy, encourage growth and increase opportunity.
The recommendations, with accompanying reports, were issued by three working groups of the Board of Advisors that focused on areas where the digital economy has fundamentally transformed the economy. The working groups were established by the Board last spring, and their reports cap six months of intense work to offer actionable recommendations to the Department along with areas worthy of further study.
“At Commerce, we have taken significant steps to ensure that future Secretaries of Commerce have the tools to engage with the private sector and other leading thinkers on key issues related to the digital economy – and this Board is a critical piece of those efforts,” said Secretary Pritzker. “However, this is just the beginning of a much needed effort to ensure the global digital economy is enabling businesses and our workers to thrive and succeed. We expect the Commerce Department to continue to play a leadership role on digital economy issues both within the U.S. government and around the world.”
The Board’s “Measurement” working group concentrated on efforts to measure the digital economy, which has proven difficult to accurately assess with traditional metrics. The group identified a four-part framework that the Department can use to remake the federal government’s understanding of the market, which could help businesses to leverage new trends. The framework seeks such information as the cumulative impact of digitization on economic indicators such as GDP and productivity, as well as the extent of digitization across various sectors of the economy.
The “Jobs and Work” working group examined the digital economy from the perspective of how it is changing the nature of jobs and work. The group identified five areas of opportunity where the Department could take action to increase prosperity while maintaining the foundational values of work in the United States. These include promotion of post-secondary education emphasizing the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a digital economy, as well as an examination of labor laws and classifications to ensure they are meeting the needs of the modern labor market.
Finally, the “Digital Platforms” working group explored the role of digital platforms in enabling businesses to compete. The group focused on three areas in which the Department could help, including the formulation of policies to encourage small business use of digital platforms and the pursuit of international agreements that protect the free flow of information across borders.
“The recommendations we set forth today provide the Department of Commerce and the next administration with a roadmap for creating conditions for economic growth and opportunity in the digital economy,” said Zoë Baird, CEO and President of the Markle Foundation and co-chair of the Digital Economy Board of Advisors. “Working closely with the private sector, we believe the Department can empower businesses of all sizes to create more good jobs by leveraging digital platforms, and can help develop the workforce needed by growth companies so all Americans can benefit from the digital economy.”
“The analysis and recommendations of DEBA and its working groups address a broad range of topics important to building a healthy and vibrant digital economy,” said Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker, who also co-chairs the Board. “Together they chart a course for the Commerce Department to advance the open Internet’s economic benefits for all citizens and businesses.”
The Department is reviewing the Board’s recommendations, which will be incorporated into the work of the Department – and referred to Commerce expert agencies – in its ongoing efforts to support the digital economy. The DEBA is chartered until December 2017 and will continue past the Obama Administration.