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Information Technology Use and Productivity at the Individual Level


  • Gandal, Neil
  • King III, Charles
  • Van Alstyne, Marshall W.


We employ a unique data set on white-collar workers that combines direct observations of individual use of information technology as well as objective information on individual performance. The main hypothesis we examine is whether heavier users of IT are more productive, and if heavier users of IT are indeed more productive, how does this increase in productivity manifest itself? Our results suggest that, controlling for other factors, the size of an individual’s internal email network is more highly correlated with revenues generated by that individual than age, experience or education. Further, the number of unique electronic contacts is more significant than the number of messages, external network size, and all other measures of email communication including declared time spent on email. Additionally, even after accounting for the individual’s number of unique contacts within the firm, the social network measure of “betweenness” is also highly correlated with revenues. We attribute the strength of these results to the fine grain detail of the data on this form of task-based white collar work.

Suggested Citation

  • Gandal, Neil & King III, Charles & Van Alstyne, Marshall W., 2007. "Information Technology Use and Productivity at the Individual Level," CEPR Discussion Papers 6260, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6260

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
    2. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
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    More about this item


    information technology; productivity; social networks;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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