Expanding the Definition and Measurement of Knowledge Economy: Integrating Triple Bottom Line Factors into Knowledge Economy Index Models and Methodologies

Publication Title

Journal of Modern Accounting and Auditing

Publication Date


Document Type



knowledge economy index, triple bottom line, natural capital indicators, human capital indicators, societal regime, intellectual capital, economic indexes, knowledge society


Economics | Library and Information Science


The application of knowledge is a primary source of growth in the knowledge economy. The World Bank Group has developed a rigorous assessment methodology for assessing a country’s ability to access and use knowledge to become more competitive in the knowledge economy of the 21st century. The World Bank’s annual knowledge economy index is grounded on a four-pillar model: (1) economic incentives and institutional regime; (2) education and skills; (3) information and communication infrastructure; and (4) innovation systems. An argument can be made that the model lacks coverage of some key factors that pertain to intellectual capital and the production and consumption of knowledge. The model’s heavy focus on economic incentives and open institutional regimes comes at a societal cost. This paper proposes an alternative knowledge economy index which is grounded in a more holistic and balanced view of a knowledge society. Adopting the perspective of triple bottom line shifts the purpose and design of a knowledge economy from one of aggregation and reporting to action and involvement. The World Bank’s scorecard and indexing methodology are adaptable to this new perspective and a new set of indicators.