Working paper

Measuring the intangible economy to address policy challenges

The purpose of the first work package of the MICROPROD project was to improve the firm-level data infrastructure, expand the measurement of intangible

Publishing date
11 April 2022
Marie Le Mouel

This Working Paper is an output from the MICROPROD project, which received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 822390.

European economies exhibit the so-called ‘productivity puzzle, whereby investments’ in digital technologies and intangible assets have not delivered the hoped-for productivity gains. Explanations for this puzzle lie in the unequal ability of companies to make use of these technologies, and resulting patterns of market concentration, productivity divergence and dampened business dynamism. Access to firm-level data is essential to properly understand these rich dynamics. The purpose of the first work package of the MICROPROD project was to improve the firm-level data infrastructure, expand the measurement of intangible assets and enable cross-country analyses of these productivity trends. The MICROPROD researchers developed the Micro Data Infrastructure (MDI), a centralised platform that harmonises access to the firm-level data gathered by national statistical institutes. The data infrastructure developed through this work package offers valuable insights into the evolution of productivity across the European Union and into the effects of digitalisation and globalisation. It can thus generate important evidence for designing policies to support the European Commission’s policy objectives, especially for achieving the digital and green transitions. In addition, the research enabled by this data infrastructure and carried out within the context of MICROPROD can provide valuable lessons about the response of European economies to the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.

Recommended citation

Le Mouel, M. (2022) ‘Measuring the intangible economy to address policy challenges’, Working Paper 03/2022, Bruegel

About the authors

  • Marie Le Mouel

    Marie Le Mouel joined Bruegel in September 2021 as an Affiliate Fellow on the macroeconomics of decarbonization until July 2023. Her work aims at understanding the economic transformations that will accompany a transition to net-zero emissions, and at proposing a policy framework that ensures an efficient and socially just transition.

    Prior to joining Bruegel, she did a post-doc at Tilburg University, where she worked on the effect of innovation on productivity growth and on technical standard-setting. She maintains her affiliation with the Tilburg Law and Economics Centre (TILEC) and continues to teach economic growth in the Masters of Economics. She also has prior experience at the OECD, estimating the value and growth potential of investments in intangible assets.

    She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the DIW Berlin and Technical University Berlin, a M.A. in Economics and Public Policy from Sciences Po Paris and Ecole Polytechnique and a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University.

    Marie is fluent in French and English, and has knowledge of Spanish, German and Dutch.


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