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The Swedish ICT miracle -- myth or reality?

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  • Edquist, Harald

Abstract

This paper investigates the relative labor productivity level for total manufacturing in Germany, Sweden and the US for the period 1980-2001. The paper also presents estimates of labor productivity levels for 18 different manufacturing industries for the period 1993-2000. The results show that the Swedish manufacturing productivity caught up with German and US productivity in the 1990s, overtaking the German level in 1995 and coming very close to the US level by the end of the 1990s. It has been argued that much of the Swedish surge in labor productivity during the second half of the 1990s was due to the spectacular growth of the Radio, television and communication equipment (RTC) (ISIC 32) industry. However, this paper shows that since 1998 Swedish RTC productivity has been declining relative to the corresponding industry in Germany and the US. Moreover, it is shown that the productivity growth of the ICT-producing industries is very sensitive to the value added price deflators that are used to calculate real value added growth rates. Unlike Sweden, the US uses hedonic price indexes for semiconductors and microprocessors. Therefore estimates based on the US intermediate input price deflators for semiconductors and microprocessors suggest that the productivity growth of the Swedish RTC industry during the 1990s is partly a statistical artefact. This implies that the productivity growth of total manufacturing also has been overestimated.
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Suggested Citation

  • Edquist, Harald, 2005. "The Swedish ICT miracle -- myth or reality?," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 275-301, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:17:y:2005:i:3:p:275-301
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Edquist, Harald, 2005. "The Swedish ICT miracle -- myth or reality?," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 275-301, July.
    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.
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    4. Eliasson, Gunnar, 2004. "Ignorant Actors in the Resource Rich World of the Knowledge Based Economy - On Rational Management in an Experimentally Organized Economy (EOE)," Ratio Working Papers 47, The Ratio Institute.
    5. Kevin J. Stiroh, 2002. "Information Technology and the U.S. Productivity Revival: What Do the Industry Data Say?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1559-1576, December.
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    7. Ark, Bart van & Inklaar, Robert & McGuckin, Robert, 2002. ""Changing gear" : productivity, ICT and services: Europe and the United States," GGDC Research Memorandum 200260, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    8. Stefano Scarpetta & Andrea Bassanini & Dirk Pilat & Paul Schreyer, 2000. "Economic Growth in the OECD Area: Recent Trends at the Aggregate and Sectoral Level," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 248, OECD Publishing.
    9. repec:dgr:rugggd:200472 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Dan Johansson, 2004. "Is small beautiful? The case of the Swedish IT industry," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 271-287, July.
    11. Edquist, Harald & Henrekson, Magnus, 2002. "Kommer IKT-revolutionen även att lyfta Europas ekonomier?," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 497, Stockholm School of Economics.
    12. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
    13. Jalava, Jukka & Pohjola, Matti, 2002. "Economic growth in the New Economy: evidence from advanced economies," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 189-210, June.
    14. Paul Schreyer, 2001. "The OECD Productivity Manual: A Guide to the Measurement of Industry-Level and Aggregate Productivity," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 2, pages 37-51, Spring.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Harald Edquist, 2010. "Does hedonic price indexing change our interpretation of economic history? Evidence from Swedish electrification," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(2), pages 500-523, May.
    2. Edquist, Harald, 2005. "The Swedish ICT miracle -- myth or reality?," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 275-301, July.
    3. Gabriel Moser & Wolfgang Pointner & Gerhard Reitschuler, 2004. "Economic Growth in Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom since the Start of Monetary Union," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 4, pages 53-66.
    4. Edquist, Harald & Henrekson, Magnus, 2004. "Technological Breakthroughs and Productivity Growth," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 0562, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 23 Jan 2006.
    5. Edquist, Harald, 2005. "Do hedonic price indexes change history? The case of electrification," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 586, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 29 Apr 2005.
    6. Elvio Mattioli e Giuseppe Ricciardo Lamonica, 2012. "Degree of integration and activation power of tourism in the European countries’ economies: an input-output analysis," RIEDS - Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica - Italian Review of Economics, Demography and Statistics, SIEDS Societa' Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, vol. 66(2), pages 57-72.
    7. Lars Jonung & Jaakko Kiander & Pentti Vartia, 2008. "The great financial crisis in Finland and Sweden - The dynamics of boom, bust and recovery, 1985-2000," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 350, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    8. Edquist, Harald, 2013. "Can double deflation explain the ICT growth miracle?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 302-305.
    9. Thomas von Brasch, 2015. "The Norwegian productivity puzzle - not so puzzling after all?," Discussion Papers 796, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    10. Kaitila, Ville, 2006. "Productivity, Hours Worked, and Tax/Benefit Systems in Europe and Beyond," Discussion Papers 1015, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    11. Md Shahiduzzaman & Allan Layton & Khorshed Alam, 2015. "On the contribution of information and communication technology to productivity growth in Australia," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 281-304, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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