Professor John Quiggin
Professor John Quiggin
12 November 2013

He's quirky, confident and just a little bit controversial.

He'll be delivering this year's Colin Clark Memorial Lecture and he's UQ School of Economics Professor John Quiggin.

Professor Quiggin will be issuing a call to arms for economists to work out a new way to determine the value of the internet in a digital economy.

“With the industrial economy we had a very sharp division between the household sector and the market sector,'' he said.

“We still think we can do things the old way, based on an industrial model but, more and more, it's ceasing to have any real meaning.''

Professor Quiggin said this was particularly relevant to the big question of ascertaining the value of the National Broadband Network.

“There's the cable and you pay for that but nobody has ever really measured what you can do with what the cable makes possible,'' he said.

“How can it be measured? We've had a long time to tackle the problem and we haven't really done anything about it.''

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.

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

In the industrial economy of the 20th century, the central problem in the national accounting was the need to avoid double counting, by measuring only the value added at each stage of production.

This problem is closely related to that of benefit-cost analysis for public projects.

In the 21st century digital economy, value is primarily derived from the flow of information rather than physical inputs and outputs.

This creates new problems for national accounting, and for benefit-cost analysis.

One example of these problems is the question of how to evaluate alternative proposals for the National Broadband Network.

Professor Quiggin will deliver the 23rd Colin Clark Memorial Lecture in The Long Room, Customs House, on Thursday 14 November. Bookings are essential.

More information is available here or phone 07 3365 4482.

Media: Professor John Quiggin,, 0400 747 165.