A real-time revolution will up-end the practice of macroeconomics

One consequence of the massive increase in the variety and volume of data now available is that economists are using it to build models of the economy to help understand behaviours and predict future spending patterns.


The results are still rudimentary, but as digital devices, sensors and fast payments become ubiquitous, the ability to observe the economy accurately and speedily will improve. That holds open the promise of better public-sector decision-making—as well as the temptation for governments to meddle.