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The boom and bust in information technology investment


  • Mark C. Doms


The growth rate of business investment in information technology boomed in the 1990s and 2000 before plunging in 2001. This boom and bust raises some natural questions: what were the reasons for the accentuated swings in growth rates, and, more importantly, what do those reasons portend for the future of IT investment? Much of the increase in IT investment in the late 1990s appears to be attributable to falling prices of IT goods, which in turn is largely attributable to technological change. However, IT investment was much higher in 1999 and 2000 than a model would predict. Another reason for the high growth rates in IT investment was that expectations were too high, especially in two sectors of the economy, telecommunications services and the dot-com sector. Looking ahead, technological change in the IT area will likely continue to move quickly, in large part because large amounts of research and development are being devoted to finding further technological breakthroughs.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark C. Doms, 2004. "The boom and bust in information technology investment," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 19-34.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfer:y:2004:p:19-34

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mark E. Doms & Wendy F. Dunn & Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2004. "How Fast do Personal Computers Depreciate? Concepts and New Estimates," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 18, pages 37-80 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Oliner, Stephen D. & Sichel, Daniel E., 2003. "Information technology and productivity: where are we now and where are we going?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 477-503, July.
    3. Doms, Mark & Forman, Chris, 2005. "Prices for local area network equipment," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 365-388, July.
    4. Jaison R. Abel & Ernst R. Berndt & Alan G. White, 2003. "Price Indexes for Microsoft's Personal Computer Software Products," NBER Working Papers 9966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Agarwal, Sumit & Chiu, I-Ming & Souphom, Victor & Yamashiro, Guy M., 2011. "The efficiency of internal capital markets: Evidence from the Annual Capital Expenditure Survey," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 162-172, May.
    2. Dynan, Karen E. & Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Sichel, Daniel E., 2006. "Can financial innovation help to explain the reduced volatility of economic activity?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 123-150, January.
    3. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2010. "Unmeasured Investment and the Puzzling US Boom in the 1990s," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 88-123, October.
    4. Greenstein, Shane, 2010. "Innovative Conduct in Computing and Internet Markets," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.


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