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special issue: The economic contribution of information technology: Towards comparative and user studies

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Author Info

  • Shane Greenstein

    (Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, 2001 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-2013, USA)

  • Timothy F. Bresnahan

    (Economics Department, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 99305, USA)

Abstract

By what process does technical change in information technology (IT) increase economic welfare? How does this process result in increases in welfare at different rates in different countries and regions? This paper considers existing literature on measuring the economic benefits from information technology, emphasizing comparative issues and user studies. Following Bresnahan and Trajtenberg (1995), we call the invention associated with customizing the technological frontier to the unique needs of users in particular regions "co-invention", placing emphasis on understanding how its determinants vary across users in different regions. We develop a framework for understanding the processes behind value-creation, demand-side heterogeneity and co-inventive activity. Then we discuss why these processes make measuring the welfare benefits from advances in information technology particularly difficult. We highlight the metrics currently available for measuring the economic pay-out of the IT revolution and identify which of these vary meaningfully in a comparative regional context. Finally, we finish with observations about further areas of research.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Evolutionary Economics.

Volume (Year): 11 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 95-118

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Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:11:y:2001:i:1:p:95-118

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Related research

Keywords: Measurement of technical change - Information technology - General purpose technology;

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Cited by:
  1. Malerba, Franco & Orsenigo, Luigi, 2010. "User-producer relations, innovation and the evolution of market structures under alternative contractual regimes," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 26-40, March.
  2. Ann P. Bartel & Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn L. Shaw, 2005. "How Does Information Technology Really Affect Productivity? Plant-Level Comparisons of Product Innovation, Process Improvement and Worker Skills," NBER Working Papers 11773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Franco Malerba, 2006. "Innovation, Industrial Dynamics and Industry Evolution: Progress and the Research Agendas," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 97(5), pages 21-46.
  4. Dario Mock & Grischa Perino, 2008. "Wasting innovation: barriers to entry and European regulation on waste electronic equipment," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 1-10, August.
  5. Andrea Szalavetz, 2007. "Changing National Innovation Systems in Advanced Economies – Lessons for Catching-Up Follower Countries," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 1, pages 66-76.
  6. Kranz, Johann & Picot, Arnold & Roemer, Benedikt, 2011. "Unlocking the potential of the smart metering technology: How can regulation level the playing-field for new services in smart grids?," 22nd European Regional ITS Conference, Budapest 2011: Innovative ICT Applications - Emerging Regulatory, Economic and Policy Issues 52183, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
  7. Chris Forman & Avi Goldfarb & Shane Greenstein, 2002. "Digital Dispersion: An Industrial and Geographic Census of Commerical Internet Use," NBER Working Papers 9287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Sandro Sapio & Andrea Roventini & Mauro Napoletano, 2006. "Modelling smooth and uneven cross-sectoral growth patterns: an identification problem," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 15(7), pages 1-8.
  9. Malerba, Franco, 2007. "Innovation and the dynamics and evolution of industries: Progress and challenges," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 675-699, August.
  10. Bronwyn H. Hall & Lee Manfred, 2007. "Innovation in non-bank payment systems," Proceedings – Payments System Research Conferences, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  11. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:15:y:2006:i:7:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Sandro Sapio & Grid Thoma, 2006. "The Growth of Industrial Sectors: Theoretical Insights and Empirical Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing," LEM Papers Series 2006/09, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.

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