Wednesday 14 May 2008

Keeping in STEP with intangible assets?

On 23 June 2008 the National Academies' Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy (STEP), in cooperation with the Committee on National Statistics, holds a one-day conference in Washington DC on Intangible Assets: Measuring and Enhancing Their Contribution to Corporate Value and Economic Growth (programme details here). According to information received together with the announcement of this event,

"Investment in intangibles, according to a 2006 Federal Reserve Board staff analysis, exceeds all investment in tangible property and, if properly accounted for, would raise US productivity growth by 20 percent for the period 1973-1995. These assets -- computer software, R&D, intellectual property, workforce training, brand equity and organizational capabilities -- now account for three quarters of economic activity. Increasingly, they are a principal driver of the competitiveness of US-based firms, economic growth, and opportunities for American workers. Some intangibles, like intellectual property, are being securitized, auctioned, and traded; a few years ago no one contemplated the existence, let alone the extent, of such "technology markets."

Yet despite these developments many intangible assets are not reported and are treated in the national economic accounts as expenses rather than investments. And there is no coordinated national strategy for promoting intangible investments apart, perhaps, from R&D.Sponsored by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis in response to a congressional directive, the agenda includes discussions of

* what are intangibles and how they work;
* how intangible investments compare and contribute to growth in the US, UK and Japan;
* how intangibles are created and used by firms;
* what new markets in intangibles are emerging;
* what government statistical agencies are doing to gather data on intangibles and
* what the government's role should be in supporting markets and promoting investment in intangibles.

Confirmed speakers include Commerce Under Secretary Cynthia Glassman; Irving Wladawsky-Berger, IBM; Jonathan Haskel, University of London and HM Treasury; Carol Corrado, Conference Board; Ken Flamm, University of Texas-Austin; Laurie Bassi, McBassi & Co; Baruch Lev, NYU Stern School; Ron Bossio, Financial Accounting Standards Board; Doug Lippoldt, OECD; Nir Kossovsky, Steel City Re; and Ken Jarboe, Athena Alliance".

Registration here.

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