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IT Spending and Firm Productivity: Additional Evidence from the Manufacturing Sector

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  • Kevin M Stolarick

Abstract

The information systems (IS) "productivity paradox" is based on those studies that found little or no positive relationship between firm productivity and spending on IS. However, some earlier studies and one more recent study have found a positive relationship. Given the large amounts spent by organizations on information systems, it is important to understand the relationship between spending on IS and productivity. Beyond replicating positive results, an explanation is needed for the conflicting conclusions reached by these earlier studies. Data collected by the Bureau of the Census is analyzed to investigate the relationship between plant-level productivity and spending on IS. The relationship between productivity and spending on IS is investigated using assumptions and models similar to both studies with positive findings and studies with negative findings. First, the overall relationship is investigated across all manufacturing industries. Next, the relationship is investigated industry by industry. The analysis finds a positive relationship between plant-level productivity and spending on IS. The relationship is also shown to vary across industries. The conflicting results from earlier studies are explained by understanding the characteristics of the data analyzed in each study. A large enough sample size is needed to find the relatively smaller effect from IS spending as compared to other input spending included in the models. Because the relationship between productivity and IS spending varies across industries, industry mix is shown to be an important data characteristic that may have influenced prior results.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin M Stolarick, 1999. "IT Spending and Firm Productivity: Additional Evidence from the Manufacturing Sector," Working Papers 99-10, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:99-10
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/1999/CES-WP-99-10.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Productivity, R&D, and the Data Constraint," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 347-374 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Darrell Parsons & Calvin Gotlieb & Michael Denny, 1993. "Productivity and computers in Canadian banking," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 95-113, June.
    3. Martin Neil Baily & Robert J. Gordon, 1988. "The Productivity Slowdown, Measurement Issues, and the Explosion of Computer Power," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 347-432.
    4. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin Hitt, 1996. "Paradox Lost? Firm-Level Evidence on the Returns to Information Systems Spending," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(4), pages 541-558, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Haltiwanger, John & Jarmin, Ron & Schank, Thorsten, 2003. "Productivity, investment in ICT and market experimentation: micro evidence from Germany und the US," Discussion Papers 19, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    2. Petra Štamfestová, 2013. "Performance management of industrial companies in the Czech Republic," Ekonomika a Management, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2013(2), pages 5-17.
    3. B.K. Atrostic & Sang V. Nguyen, 2002. "Computer Networks and U.S. Manufacturing Plant Productivity: New Evidence from the CNUS Data," Working Papers 02-01, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    4. Yoann Barbesol & Thomas Heckel & Simon Quantin, 2008. "Élasticité de la production au capital informatique : estimations à l’aide de données d’entreprises," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 419(1), pages 55-71.
    5. repec:crs:ecosta:es419-420d is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Hans-Günther Vieweg & Thomas Fuchs & Reinhard Hild & Andreas Kuhlmann & Stefan Lachenmaier & Michael Reinhard & Uwe Christian Täger & Sebastian de Ramon & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2005. "Stand und Perspektiven der "New Economy" in ausgewählten Mitgliedstaaten der EU aus deutscher Sicht," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 19.
    7. Sang Nguyen & B.K. Atrostic, 2005. "Computer Investment, Computer Networks and Productivity," Working Papers 05-01, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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    Keywords

    CES; economic; research; micro; data; microdata; chief; economist;

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