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The Effect of Adjustment Costs and Organizational Change on Productivity in Canada: Evidence from Aggregate Data

  • Danny Leung

A basic neoclassical model of production is often used to assess the contribution of investment to output growth. In the model, investment raises the capital stock and output growth increases in proportion to the growth in capital. It has been argued, however, that computers, as a "general purpose technology," lead to process innovations and facilitate organizational coinvestments. Since there may be a learning period before firms realize the full potential of the new technology and begin to implement new processes, there may be a lag between the growth in investment and its benefits. In fact, during periods of rapid adoption of new technologies and equipment, firms may incur adjustment costs and struggle to maintain previous levels of output. Using aggregate annual Canadian data from 1961 to 2001, the author explores the magnitude of the effect that investment in new technology, in the form of new computer hardware, can have on output growth. He finds that such investment has a positive effect on output growth that cannot be explained by growth in inputs. This effect, however, is not instantaneous and is strongest only three years after the initial investment. Furthermore, the author's findings suggest that the effect of computer hardware investment has grown over time.

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Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Staff Working Papers with number 04-1.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:04-1
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  1. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2002. "Information technology and productivity: where are we now and where are we going?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Shapiro, Matthew D, 1986. "Capital Utilization and Capital Accumulation: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(3), pages 211-34, July.
  3. Alain Paquet & Benoit Robidoux, 1997. "Issues on the Measurement of the Solow Residual and the Testing of its Exogeneity: a Tale of Two Countries," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 51, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  4. Michael T. Kiley, 1999. "Computers and growth with costs of adjustment: will the future look like the past?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-36, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
  6. Robert E. Lucas & Jr., 1967. "Adjustment Costs and the Theory of Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 321.
  7. Edward N. Wolff, 2002. "Productivity, computerization, and skill change," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q3, pages 63-87.
  8. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2002. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization, and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376.
  9. Hashmat Khan & Marjorie Santos, 2002. "Contribution of ICT Use to Output and Labour-Productivity Growth in Canada," Staff Working Papers 02-7, Bank of Canada.
  10. Baldwin, John R. & Harchaoui, Tarek, 2002. "Productivity Growth in Canada," Productivity Growth in Canada, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis, number stcb6e, December.
  11. Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1988. "Estimation of the Internal Adjustment Costs Model Using Longitudinal Establishment Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(3), pages 421-30, August.
  12. Stiroh, Kevin J, 2002. "Are ICT Spillovers Driving the New Economy?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(1), pages 33-57, March.
  13. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2003. "Computing Productivity: Firm-Level Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 793-808, November.
  14. James Bessen, 2002. "Technology Adoption Costs and Productivity Growth: The Transition to Information Technology," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(2), pages 443-469, April.
  15. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald & Nicholas Oulton & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2003. "The case of the missing productivity growth: or, does information technology explain why productivity accelerated in the United States but not the United Kingdom?," Working Paper Series WP-03-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  16. Elena Arnal & Wooseok Ok & Raymond Torres, 2001. "Knowledge, Work Organisation and Economic Growth," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 50, OECD Publishing.
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