Defining Tech: An Examination of How the ‘Technology’ Economy Is Measured

Nordic and Baltic Journal of Information and Communications Technologies, Vol. 1, 101–120.

20 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2019

See all articles by Christopher Hooton

Christopher Hooton

George Washington University Institute of Public Policy; Internet Association

Date Written: December 4, 2018

Abstract

The paper conducts a comprehensive review and critical comparison of the empirical methodologies for defining the high-technology sector (or ‘tech’) in social science research and analysis. It consolidates both qualitative (expert-based) approaches and quantitative (threshold-based) approaches for the broader audience of researchers. In the quantitative approaches, the paper identifies two accepted metrics and two loosely defined criteria used in distinguishing tech. The paper finds a generally consistent theoretical conceptualization for how to distinguish tech from other sectors, but inconsistency and no consensus on the implementation of that theory in applied research methods. The paper proposes two steps forward for future methodologies by identifying of a set of consensus industries present across tech definitions and by arguing for a continuum-based approach to identifying technology intensity in industries, businesses, and products/services.

Keywords: technology sector, digital economy, online platforms, technology theory, measurement of technology

JEL Classification: P00, O3

Suggested Citation

Hooton, Christopher, Defining Tech: An Examination of How the ‘Technology’ Economy Is Measured (December 4, 2018). Nordic and Baltic Journal of Information and Communications Technologies, Vol. 1, 101–120.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3309058

Christopher Hooton (Contact Author)

George Washington University Institute of Public Policy ( email )

Institute of Public Policy
2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC DC 20052
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://gwipp.gwu.edu/

Internet Association ( email )

Washington, DC
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://internetassociation.org/

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