Although the terminology of Big Data has so far gained little traction in economics, the availability of unprecedentedly rich datasets and the need for new approaches - both epistemological and computational - to deal with them is an emerging issue for the discipline. Using interviews conducted with a cross-section of economists, this paper examines perspectives on Big Data across the discipline, the new types of data being used by researchers on economic issues, and the range of responses to this opportunity amongst economists. First, we outline the areas in which it is being used, including the prediction and ‘nowcasting’ of economic trends; mapping and predicting influence in the context of marketing; and acting as a cheaper or more accurate substitute for existing types of data such as censuses or labour market data. We then analyse the broader current and potential contributions of Big Data to economics, such as the ways in which econometric methodology is being used to shed light on questions beyond economics, how Big Data is improving or changing economic models, and the kinds of collaborations arising around Big Data between economists and other disciplines.
Taylor, L., Schroeder, R., & Meyer, E. (2014). Emerging practices and perspectives on Big Data analysis in economics: Bigger and better or more of the same? Big Data & Society, 1(2). https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951714536877