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ICT and productivity growth - the paradox resolved?

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  • Alan Hughes
  • Michael S Scott Morton
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    Abstract

    This paper argues that the gains from ICT at the individual business level depend upon the implementation of a range of complementary ÔinvestmentsÕ and organisational changes appropriate to the competitive and institutional context of particular sectors. To support our proposition we provide a brief overview of a recently emerging but compelling body of large sample micro-econometric research. We focus in depth, however on a single case study of ICT related organisational transformation in the transportation sector. This case builds upon the conceptual framework developed in the MIT interesting organisations project (Scott Morton (2003)). Taken as a whole we believe there is clear evidence of the conditions that seem to be required before the payoff from ICT can be realised by an organisation and hence diffuse through the economy. Effective use of ICT requires a holistic solution which recognises that there is no single factor, or even just a few, which leads to successful exploitation. Rather success comes from the artful crafting of a series of interrelated and mutually interdependent driving forces. The paradoxical 'gap' between investment in computers and realised performance can be closed if this lesson is absorbed.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by ESRC Centre for Business Research in its series ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers with number wp316.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp316

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    Web page: http://www.cbr.cam.ac.uk/

    Related research

    Keywords: ICT; Complementary Investment; Productivity; Transport Services;

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    References

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    1. Black, Sandra E & Lynch, Lisa M, 1996. "Human-Capital Investments and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 263-67, May.
    2. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2002. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization, And The Demand For Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376, February.
    3. S. Black & L. Lynch, 1997. "How to compete: the impact of workplace practices and information technology on productivity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20298, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. David, P.A., 1989. "Computer And Dynamo: The Modern Productivity Paradox In A Not-Too Distant Mirror," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 339, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    5. David Card & Richard B. Freeman, 2002. "What Have Two Decades of British Economic Reform Delivered?," NBER Working Papers 8801, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. Martin N. Baily, 2004. "Recent productivity growth: the role of information technology and other innovations," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 35-42.
    8. Paul A. David, 2005. "Understanding Digital Technology’s Evolution and the Path of Measured Productivity Growth: Present and Future in the Mirror of the Past," Macroeconomics 0502022, EconWPA.
    9. Brynjolfsson, Erik. & Hitt, Lorin M., 1994. "Information technology as a factor of production : the role of differences among firms," Working papers 3715-94. CCSTR ; #173., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    10. Barras, Richard, 1990. "Interactive innovation in financial and business services: The vanguard of the service revolution," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 215-237, June.
    11. Bart van Ark & Robert Inklaar & Robert H. McGuckin, 2002. "'Changing Gear' - Productivity, ICT and Services Industries: Europe and the United States," Economics Program Working Papers 02-02, The Conference Board, Economics Program.
    12. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: U.S. Economic Growth in the Information Age," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 125-236.
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    14. Dale W. Jorgenson & Mun S. Ho & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2002. "Projecting productivity growth: lessons from the U.S. growth resurgence," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q3, pages 1-13.
    15. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2003. "Computing Productivity: Firm-Level Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 793-808, November.
    16. Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw & Giovanna Prennushi, 1995. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity," NBER Working Papers 5333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Dirk Pilat & Frank C. Lee, 2001. "Productivity Growth in ICT-producing and ICT-using Industries: A Source of Growth Differentials in the OECD?," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2001/4, OECD Publishing.
    18. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 2004. "What's driving the new economy?: the benefits of workplace innovation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages F97-F116, 02.
    19. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald & Nicholas Oulton & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2003. "The case of the missing productivity growth: or, does information technology explain why productivity accelerated in the United States but not the United Kingdom?," Working Paper Series WP-03-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    20. Robert J. Gordon, 2003. "Hi-tech Innovation and Productivity Growth: Does Supply Create Its Own Demand?," NBER Working Papers 9437, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Erik Brynjolfsson & Loren Hitt & Shinkyu Yang, 2002. "Intangible Assets: How the Interaction of Computers and Organizational Structure Affects Stock Market Valuations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(1), pages 137-198.
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    Cited by:
    1. Lynch, Lisa M., 2007. "The Adoption and Diffusion of Organizational Innovation: Evidence for the U.S. Economy," IZA Discussion Papers 2819, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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