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Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance

Author

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  • Erik Brynjolfsson
  • Lorin M. Hitt

Abstract

To understand the economic value of computers, one must broaden the traditional definition of both the technology and its effects. Case studies and firm-level econometric evidence suggest that: 1) organizational "investments" have a large influence on the value of IT investments; and 2) the benefits of IT investment are often intangible and disproportionately difficult to measure. Our analysis suggests that the link between IT and increased productivity emerged well before the recent surge in the aggregate productivity statistics and that the current macroeconomic productivity revival may in part reflect the contributions of intangible capital accumulated in the past.

Suggested Citation

  • Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:14:y:2000:i:4:p:23-48
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.14.4.23
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Trajtenberg, M., 1995. "General purpose technologies 'Engines of growth'?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 83-108, January.
    2. Robert E. Hall, 2001. "The Stock Market and Capital Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1185-1202, December.
    3. Nathalie Greenana & Jacques Mairesse, 2000. "Computers And Productivity In France: Some Evidence," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 275-315.
    4. Berndt, Ernst R. & Morrison, Catherine J., 1995. "High-tech capital formation and economic performance in U.S. manufacturing industries An exploratory analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 9-43, January.
    5. Lehr, William & Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1998. "Computer Use and Productivity Growth in US Federal Government Agencies, 1987-92," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 257-279, June.
    6. Lorin M. Hitt, 1999. "Information Technology and Firm Boundaries: Evidence from Panel Data," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 10(2), pages 134-149, June.
    7. Maryellen R. Kelley, 1994. "Productivity and Information Technology: The Elusive Connection," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(11), pages 1406-1425, November.
    8. Mark Doms & Timothy Dunne & Kenneth R. Troske, 1997. "Workers, Wages, and Technology," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 253-290.
    9. Schankerman, Mark, 1981. "The Effects of Double-Counting and Expensing on the Measured Returns to R&D," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(3), pages 454-458, August.
    10. Boskin, Michael J, et al, 1997. "The CPI Commission: Findings and Recommendations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 78-83, May.
    11. Donald Siegel, 1997. "The Impact Of Computers On Manufacturing Productivity Growth: A Multiple-Indicators, Multiple-Causes Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(1), pages 68-78, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L63 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Microelectronics; Computers; Communications Equipment

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