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Information, Decisions, and Productivity: On-Board Computers and Capacity Utilization in Trucking

Author

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  • Thomas N. Hubbard

Abstract

Productivity reflects not only how efficiently inputs are transformed into outputs, but also how well information is applied to resource allocation decisions. This paper examines how information technology has affected capacity utilization in the trucking industry. Estimates for 1997 indicate that advanced on-board computers (OBCs) have increased capacity utilization among adopting trucks by 13 percent. These increases are higher than for 1992, suggesting lags in the returns to adoption, and are highly skewed across hauls. The 1997 estimates imply that OBCs have enabled 3-percent higher capacity utilization in the industry, which translates to billions of dollars of annual benefits. (JEL D24, L92, O33, O47)

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas N. Hubbard, 2003. "Information, Decisions, and Productivity: On-Board Computers and Capacity Utilization in Trucking," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1328-1353, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:93:y:2003:i:4:p:1328-1353
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282803769206322
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David, Paul A, 1990. "The Dynamo and the Computer: An Historical Perspective on the Modern Productivity Paradox," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 355-361, May.
    2. Susan Athey & Scott Stern, 2002. "The Impact of Information Technology on Emergency Health Care Outcomes," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(3), pages 399-432, Autumn.
    3. Robert J. Gordon, 2000. "Does the "New Economy" Measure Up to the Great Inventions of the Past?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 49-74, Fall.
    4. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
    5. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin Hitt, 1996. "Paradox Lost? Firm-Level Evidence on the Returns to Information Systems Spending," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(4), pages 541-558, April.
    6. 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.
    7. Erik Brynjolfsson & Shinkyu Yang, 1997. "Information Technology and Productivity: A Review of the Literature," Working Paper Series 202, MIT Center for Coordination Science.
    8. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U. S. Economy," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1911, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    9. Lichtenberg, F.R. & Lehr, B., 1996. "Computer Use and Productivity Growth in federal Government Agencies," Papers 96-10, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
    10. Thomas N. Hubbard, 2000. "The Demand for Monitoring Technologies: The Case of Trucking," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 533-560.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L92 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Railroads and Other Surface Transportation
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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