The Value of
Public Sector Information
Seminario, Informatica Giuridica
Università Carlo Cattaneo - LIUC
Castellanza –12 Maggio 2010
Research & Business
Fellow, Centro NEXA
Politecnico di Torino
Fellow, Dipartimento di
Università di Torino
• Background: Internet economics
• Government as a Platform
• The value of PSI
alcune caratteristiche economiche
dei beni e delle reti digitali
Digital technology could enable an extraordinary range of
ordinary people to become part of a creative process.
To move from the life of a consumer […] to a life where one
can individually and collectively participate in making
(The future of ideas, Lawrence Lessig)
The networked information economy makes individuals better
able to do things for and by themselves, […] the emergence of
this new set of technical, economic, social, and institutional
relations can increase the relative role that each individual is able
to play in authoring his or her own life.
(The Wealth of Networks, Yochai Benkler)
When I say that innovation is being democratized, I mean that
users of products and services—both ﬁrms and individual
consumers—are increas- ingly able to innovate for themselves.
(DEMOCRATIZING INNOVATION, Eric Von Hippel)
Digital goods are different…
A) Expensive to produce,
cheap to reproduce
Unique cost B) High ﬁxed costs,
characteristics low marginal costs
A) Experience goods
B) Non exclusive
Fonte: Shapiro&Varian, 1999
la “commedia” della
e dei rendimenti
la lunga coda
Confrontando i dati di vendita dei libri e le ricerche on-line sulla
piattaforma di commercio elettronico dell’editore californiano
O’Reilly , si nota che esiste una grande quantità di titoli che potrebbero
essere venduti ma sono assenti dalla distribuzione ﬁsica.
Facebook = 400M users
50% log-in every day
200M users interacting every day
A paradigmatic shift:
• The transition from a physically-based to a knowledge-
based economy made information a primary
• Digital access to information changes the structure of
industries, promoting services-oriented business models
based on disclosure and sharing of information
as a Platfrom
Nuovi modelli di valorizzazione del
Patrimonio Informativo Pubblico
USA e UK
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented
level of openness in Government. We will work together to
ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency,
public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen
our democracy and promote efﬁciency and effectiveness in
Transparency and Open Government Memorandum for the Heads of
Executive Departments and Agencies (2009)
"People are tempted to keep it [data].You hug your database,
you don't want to let it go until you've made a beautiful
website for it. Well I'd like to suggest that, yes, make a beautiful
website, who am I to say don't make a beautiful website? Make
a beautiful website, but ﬁrst, give us the unadulterated data, we
want the data, we want unadulterated data. We have to ask for
raw data now."
Tim Berners-Lee, Creator of the WWW, advisor data.gov.uk
Europa, Italia e Piemonte
Direttiva 2003/98/CE del 17 novembre 2003
The evolution towards an information and knowledge society inﬂuences the life of every citizen in the
Com-munity, inter alia, by enabling them to gain new ways of accessing and acquiring knowledge.
DIRECTIVE 2003/98/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 17 November
2003 on the re-use of public sector information
Decreto Legislativo 24 gennaio 2006 n. 36
PIEMONTE - Dimensione Locale
Delibera e Linee guida relative al riutilizzo del
patrimonio informativo pubblico
PSI data mines
• The Public Sector holds and
manages huge amounts of data
and information. Fostering
access to those repositories
enables new business
opportunities that can
broaden market volumes in
• PSI represents the raw
material from which value
added products and services
can be designed. COURTESY/RON WHEELER. The 8,000-foot deep Homestake
Gold Mine in South Dakota is the site where scientists, including
UC Berkeley researchers, plan to construct the world's deepest
• The US experience shows that PSI disclosure has strong
implications in terms of e-government and transparency.
• EU countries have a “second mover” chance to massively
implement such a disruptive paradigm shift.
The value of PSI (use)
PSI can be used and reused in
many ways (non rivalry in Several supply chain
1.Broad range of sectors 1.Linear models (private re-
2.Different sets of actors users add value)
3.PSI holders 2.User generated contents
4.Private re-users 3.Information sharing between
5.Regulatory bodies public bodies
MEPSIR (2006) estimates the EU market value of PSI as
27 billion Euros.
The value of PSI:
the “free data” approach
• The peculiar cost structure of digital data collecting,
processing and delivering (high ﬁxed costs, zero marginal cost)
strongly inﬂuences the possible pricing strategies to be
adopted by PSI holders.
• Pollock (2008): a price that equals marginal costs (i.e. PSI free
of charge) is socially optimal provided that elasticity of
demand and positive externalities overcome a given threshold.
✓ Empirics: those conditions are likely to be veriﬁed in most of
the PSI domains.
The value of PSI:
cost recovery approach
Although a cost recovery regime may bound potential
demand and distort competition, several critical issues
could trigger its adoption.
✓ Lack of long-run commitment in subsidizing PSI
✓ Underestimation of downstream demand and
✓ Short-term decision making.
✓ Moral hazard (?).
The value of PSI: possible scenarios
Directive 2003/98/EC is aimed at fostering PSI reuse mainly by promoting:
1.PSI availability in digital format
2.Transparency of reuse conditions and pricing
Which market conﬁgurations are likely to emerge?
Directive impact Main condition Example
Information is strongly liked with the Cadastral
Closed shop Minor. Public Sector bodies continue to
functioning of public bodies. information
control the supply chain.
Non-negligible. New entrants step into Information is important while not strategic Meteorological
the downstream market. for PA. data
Strong. Public Sector enlarges its inﬂuence Digitalization offers new opportunities for
over the downstream stages. value extraction.
Non-negligible. Public Sector has the Information reuse generates high demand
only role of information holder. volumes from citizens and ﬁrms
The price of PSI:
Externalities & Policy
All pricing strategies encompass potential risks of inefﬁciency
for PSI holders (due to lack of incentives in reducing costs
and/or improving quality).
The importance of the regulatory framework
The Central Role of Externalities
“The project of the next president is ﬁguring out how you create
bottom-up economic growth.”
( Barack Obama, The New York Time, February 2 2008)