2001 State Data Conference

The theme of the third conference focused on the question of whether Connecticut was falling behind in its efforts to develop and provide and serve data users. As with any other scarce commodity, the provision of data involves opportunity costs. Since we often have to give up other goods and services to produce data, we will (quite rationally) never produce the full quantity or quality of data we are technically capable of producing or using.

What’s more, this calculus is complicated by information’s often unpredictable value, a characteristic that makes it easy to underestimate information’s true worth.

Additionally, information users see data as a public good —- once produced, it becomes difficult to limit access to users capable of paying and who value the data. This perception reduces the incentive for providers to continue to offer data in sufficient quantity or quality.

Because of these challenges to the operation of markets, data collection and dissemination is often organized through quasi-public and government agencies, such as the U.S. Census bureau.

Read the Conference Abstract, the Executive Summary or see each individual presentation.