Computerization in France: an evaluation based on individual company data
In this article we evaluate the contribution of computers to the growth of value-added during the last 15 years in France. Following North American studies, we use traditional growth accounting methods to assess the relative size of two types of contribution : on the one hand the effect of computer diffusion on growth due to the accumulation of productive capital taking place within all industries ; on the other hand the contribution to growth of the MFP growth achieved in the information technologies (IT) producing industries. We use individual firm data aggegated by industry, which provide us with a measure of the firm's computer stock. Diffusion effects turn out to be significant around 0,3 point for an average annual value-added growth of 2,6% during the period 1987-1998. They are concentrated in a small number of industries that make an intensive use of computers. Multifactor productivity gains in IT industries also contribute significantly to growth (0,4 point over the same period). All in all, we evaluate the contribution of computerization in France at 0,7 point of annual growth during the period 1987-1998. Besides we show that computer use and multifactor productivity growth in the IT industries have significantly reduced the value-added price inflation by 0,3 and 0,4 point respectively for an average annual price growth of 1,4% between 1987 and 1998.
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