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Telecommunications Infrastructure and Economic Development: A Simultaneous Approach

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  • Lars-Hendrik Röller
  • Leonard Waverman

Abstract

In this paper we investigate how telecommunications infrastructure affects economic growth. This issue is important and has received considerable attention in the popular press concerning the creation of the "information superhighway" and its potential impacts on the economy. We use evidence from 21 OECD countries over the past twenty years to examine the impacts that telecommunications developments may have had. We estimate a structural model which endogenizes telecommunication investment by specifying a micro-model of supply and demand for telecommunication investments. The micromodel is then jointly estimated with the macro-growth equation. After controlling for country-specific fixed effects, we find evidence of a positive causal link, provided that a critical mass of telecommunication infrastructure is present. ZUSAMMENFASSUNG - (Telekommunikations-Infrastruktur und Wirtschaftsentwicklung: Ein simultanes Modell) In diesem Beitrag wird untersucht, welchen Einfluß die Telekommunikations-Infrastruktur auf die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung ausübt. Diese wichtige Frage hat im Zusammenhang mit der Diskussion um "Informationsautobahnen" Aktualität erlangt. In der vorliegenden Studie wird der Einfluß der Telekommunikations-Infrastruktur für 21 OECDLänder für die vergangenen 20 Jahre analysiert. Es wird ein Strukturgleichungsmodell geschätzt, in dem Investitionen in die Telekommunikations-Infrastruktur als endogene Variable erfaßt werden und in einem Mikromodell Angebot und Nachfrage nach Telekommunikations- Investitionen spezifiziert werden. Das Mikromodell wird dann zusammen mit der Makro- Wachstumsgleichung geschätzt. Als Ergebnis stellen die Autoren dann eine positive Kausalbeziehung zwischen Telekommunikations-Investitionen und wirtschaftlicher Entwicklung fest, wenn eine kritische Masse an Telekommunikations- Infrastruktur existiert.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG) in its series CIG Working Papers with number FS IV 96-16.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Jul 1996
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Publication status: Published in the The American Economic Review , Vol. 91(4,September), 2001, pp. 909-923.
Handle: RePEc:wzb:wzebiv:fsiv96-16

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  1. Greenstein, Shane M & Spiller, Pablo T, 1995. "Modern Telecommunications Infrastructure and Economic Activity: An Empirical Investigation," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(4), pages 647-65.
  2. David Aschauer, 1988. "Is public expenditure productive?," Staff Memoranda 88-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  3. Gramlich, Edward M, 1994. "Infrastructure Investment: A Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1176-96, September.
  4. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, . "Equipment Investment and Economic Growth," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _122, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  5. Quah, Danny, 1993. "Empirical cross-section dynamics in economic growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 426-434, April.
  6. Quah, Danny, 1993. " Galton's Fallacy and Tests of the Convergence Hypothesis," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(4), pages 427-43, December.
  7. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1993. "Endogenous Innovation in the Theory of Growth," NBER Working Papers 4527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1993. "State-specific estimates of state and local government capital," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 185-209, April.
  9. Leff, Nathaniel H, 1984. "Externalities, Information Costs, and Social Benefit-Cost Analysis for Economic Development: An Example from Telecommunications," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 255-76, January.
  10. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
  11. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, . "How Strongly Do Developing Countries Benefit from Equipment Investment?," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _108, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  12. Pereira, Alfredo M. & de Frutos, Rafael Flores, 1999. "Public Capital Accumulation and Private Sector Performance," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 300-322, September.
  13. Olivier Cadot & Lars-Hendrik Röller & Andreas Stephan, 1999. "A Political Economy Model of Infrastructure Allocation: An Empirical Assessment," CIG Working Papers FS IV 99-15, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  14. Alicia H. Munnell, 1992. "Policy Watch: Infrastructure Investment and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 189-198, Fall.
  15. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1994. "Public-Sector Capital and the Productivity Puzzle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 12-21, February.
  16. Frank R. Lichtenberg, 1993. "The Output Contributions of Computer Equipment and Personnel: A Firm- Level Analysis," NBER Working Papers 4540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Hardy, Andrew P., 1980. "The role of the telephone in economic development," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 278-286, December.
  18. Shane M. Greenstein & Pablo T. Spiller, 1996. "Estimating the Welfare Effects of Digital Infrastructure," NBER Working Papers 5770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Garcia-Mila, Teresa & McGuire, Therese J., 1992. "The contribution of publicly provided inputs to states' economies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 229-241, June.
  20. Norton, Seth W, 1992. "Transaction Costs, Telecommunications, and the Microeconomics of Macroeconomic Growth," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 175-96, October.
  21. John G. Fernald, 1999. "Roads to Prosperity? Assessing the Link between Public Capital and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 619-638, June.
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