IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Rise and Fall of German Productivity Software Investment as the Decisive Driver


  • Theo S. Eicher
  • Thomas Strobel


Investments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are the source of the global growth resurgence that commenced in the mid-1990s. Most studies focus on broad ICT measures, or on computer hardware; here we examine the contributions of software-intensive industries to productivity growth. The price of prepackaged software has been falling exponentially since the 1960s, which has led to substitutions towards software investments, and to reductions in the total cost of ICT hardware investments. We use novel German ICT investment data to show that software-intensive industries have been the crucial determinant of German productivity growth since 1995. Not only did these industries contribute strongly to productivity growth, but they offset declining investments and productivities in other industries. Post 1995, other industries' investments in new equipment per worker collapsed, while software-intensive industries' capital investments rose steadily to generate over half of Germany's productivity growth by 2000-04. We document sharply diverging productivity paths for software-intensive and other (non-software-intensive) industries. Post 1991, total factor productivity (TFP) declined secularly in other industries to generate a −0.39 percent drag on German labor productivity by 2000-04, while TFP in software-intensive industries rose steadily to contribute 35 percent to German labor productivity growth by the same period. Overall, the results combine to paint a stark picture of rising capital per worker and TFP growth in software-intensive sectors, contrasting with falling capital per worker and increasingly negative TFP growth in other sectors. About two-thirds of the impact from software-intensive industries is generated by investments in prepackaged and purchased custom software. (JEL codes: O03, O04) Copyright , Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Theo S. Eicher & Thomas Strobel, 2008. "The Rise and Fall of German Productivity Software Investment as the Decisive Driver," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 54(3), pages 386-413, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cesifo:v:54:y:2008:i:3:p:386-413

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Sharpe, 2014. "What Explains the Canada-U.S. Software Investment Intensity Gap?," CSLS Research Reports 2014-04, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:cesifo:v:54:y:2008:i:3:p:386-413. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.