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What Happened To The Knowledge Economy? Ict, Intangible Investment, And Britain'S Productivity Record Revisited

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  • Mauro Giorgio Marrano
  • Jonathan Haskel
  • Gavin Wallis

Abstract

Despite the apparent importance of the "knowledge economy," U.K. macroeconomic performance appears unaffected: investment rates are flat, and productivity has slowed. We investigate whether measurement issues might account for this puzzle. The standard National Accounts treatment of most spending on "knowledge" or "intangible" assets is as intermediate consumption. Thus they do not count as either GDP or investment. We ask how treating such spending as investment affects some key macro variables, namely, market sector gross value added (MGVA), business investment, capital and labor shares, growth in labor and total factor productivity (TFP), and capital deepening. We find: (a) MGVA was understated by about 6 percent in 1970 and 13 percent in 2004; (b) instead of the business investment/MGVA ratio falling since 1970 it has been rising; (c) instead of the labor share being flat since 1970 it has been falling; (d) growth in labor productivity and capital deepening has been understated and growth in TFP overstated; and (e) TFP growth has not slowed since 1990 but has been accelerating. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation International Association for Research in Income and Wealth 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Mauro Giorgio Marrano & Jonathan Haskel & Gavin Wallis, 2009. "What Happened To The Knowledge Economy? Ict, Intangible Investment, And Britain'S Productivity Record Revisited," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(3), pages 686-716, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:55:y:2009:i:3:p:686-716
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mauro Giorgio Marrano & Jonathan Haskel, 2006. "How Much Does the UK Invest in Intangible Assets?," Working Papers 578, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    2. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2000. "The Resurgence of Growth in the Late 1990s: Is Information Technology the Story?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 3-22, Fall.
    3. D. W. Jorgenson & Z. Griliches, 1967. "The Explanation of Productivity Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 249-283.
    4. Carol A. Corrado & Charles R. Hulten & Daniel E. Sichel, 2006. "Intangible Capital and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 11948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Corrado, Carol & Haltiwanger, John & Sichel, Daniel (ed.), 2005. "Measuring Capital in the New Economy," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226116129, June.
    6. repec:dgr:rugggd:200363 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Carol Corrado & John Haltiwanger & Daniel Sichel, 2005. "Introduction to "Measuring Capital in the New Economy"," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring Capital in the New Economy, pages 1-10 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Nicholas Oulton & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2003. "Capital stocks, capital services, and depreciation: an integrated framework," Bank of England working papers 192, Bank of England.
    9. Timmer, Marcel P. & Ypma, Gerard & Ark, Bart van der, 2003. "IT in the European Union: driving productivity divergence?," GGDC Research Memorandum 200363, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    10. Robert J. Gordon, 2003. "Exploding Productivity Growth: Context, Causes, and Implications," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 207-298.
    11. Mary O’Mahony & Willem de Boer, 2002. "Britain’s Relative Productivity Performance: Has Anything Changed?," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 179(1), pages 38-43, January.
    12. Carol Corrado & John Haltiwanger & Dan Sichel, 2005. "Measuring Capital in the New Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number corr05-1, July.
    13. Nicholas Oulton & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2005. "Productivity growth in UK industries, 1970-2000: structural change and the role of ICT," Bank of England working papers 259, Bank of England.
    14. Venetia Bell & Pablo Burriel-Llombart & Jerry Jones, 2005. "A quality-adjusted labour input series for the United Kingdom (1975-2002)," Bank of England working papers 280, Bank of England.
    15. Gavin Wallis, 2009. "Capital Services Growth in the UK: 1950 to 2006," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(6), pages 799-819, December.
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    JEL classification:

    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts

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