Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 43–67 | Cite as

Data, information and knowledge: have we got it right?

  • Max BoisotEmail author
  • Agustí Canals


Economists make the unarticulated assumption that information is something that stands apart from and is independent of the processor of information and its internal characteristics. We argue that they need to revisit the distinctions they have drawn between data, information, and knowledge. Some associate information with data, and others associate information with knowledge. But since none of them readily conflates data with knowledge, this suggests too loose a conceptualisation of the term ‘information’. We argue that the difference between data, information, and knowledge is in fact crucial. Information theory and the physics of information provide us with useful insights with which to build an economics of information appropriate to the needs of the emerging information economy.


Information Knowledge Economics of information Information theory Physics of information 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IN3Universitat Oberta de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Sol Snider Center for Entrepreneurial Research, The Wharton SchoolUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.IN3Universitat Oberta de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.ESADE Business SchoolUniversitat Ramon LlullBarcelonaSpain

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