The impacts of country characteristics upon the value of information technology as measured by productive efficiency
Based on the theory of production, this paper investigates information technology (IT) contribution at a country level by linking it to the complementarity/substitutability phenomena created by the joint presence of IT and the five selected national characteristics. It negates the relationship between IT value and productivity based on a comprehensive panel data set from 25 countries over the period 1997-2006, when the individual analytical method is applied and productive efficiency is used as the performance criterion. The IT productivity paradox is re-examined under the one-equation stochastic frontier production model, while the influence of the five national characteristics is tested under the two-equation stochastic frontier production model. The findings include the following: (i) The IT productivity paradox occurs in not only middle-income (developing) countries but also high-income (developed) countries. (ii) Eastern European countries gain more productive efficiency than the G7 countries when IT is considered as a production factor. (iii) Different national characteristics have impacts on a country's output and productive efficiency. (iv) The chosen national characteristics present both complementarity and substitutability phenomena in association with IT investment, however, the joint presence of national savings and IT creates the substitutability phenomenon across different frontiers. (v) In linking cross-country differences in the IT investments to stages of economic development, our complimentary qualitative analysis tends to conclude that the investments in IT in the advanced developed countries (e.g., G7) and some of the newly developed or emerging economies are likely needed to keep the pace with other competitors and maintain their status of economic development; and the IT investments in the Eastern European countries are necessary to reach the competitive level as well as to raise their economic-development level. (vi) An important policy implication is that policy makers must carefully utilize national characteristics while formulating IT investment strategies.
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