IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

special issue: The economic contribution of information technology: Towards comparative and user studies

Listed author(s):
  • Shane Greenstein

    (Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, 2001 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-2013, USA)

  • Timothy F. Bresnahan

    (Economics Department, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 99305, USA)

By what process does technical change in information technology (IT) increase economic welfare? How does this process result in increases in welfare at different rates in different countries and regions? This paper considers existing literature on measuring the economic benefits from information technology, emphasizing comparative issues and user studies. Following Bresnahan and Trajtenberg (1995), we call the invention associated with customizing the technological frontier to the unique needs of users in particular regions "co-invention", placing emphasis on understanding how its determinants vary across users in different regions. We develop a framework for understanding the processes behind value-creation, demand-side heterogeneity and co-inventive activity. Then we discuss why these processes make measuring the welfare benefits from advances in information technology particularly difficult. We highlight the metrics currently available for measuring the economic pay-out of the IT revolution and identify which of these vary meaningfully in a comparative regional context. Finally, we finish with observations about further areas of research.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Evolutionary Economics.

Volume (Year): 11 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 95-118

in new window

Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:11:y:2001:i:1:p:95-118
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:11:y:2001:i:1:p:95-118. 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: (Sonal Shukla)

or (Rebekah McClure)

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.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.