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ICT and Productivity: A Review of the Literature




In this report we review the literature on the relationship between ICT and productivity. In Sect. 1 we discuss in broad terms the theoretical relationship between ICT and productivity, while in Sect. 2 we present the growth accounting methodology, which tries to measure the contributions to growth from difference sources (ICT and non ICT capital, human capital, total factor productivity). Within the growth-accounting methodology, in Sect. 3, we discuss the U.S. - E.U. productivity gap and the role of ICTs, and we show that the latter are responsible for the U.S. acceleration in productivity growth observed in the period 1996-2006 and for the widening of the U.S. – E.U. productivity gap in the same period. Then, in Sect. 4, we move to regression based studies, and we review the literature that uses macro, meso (sectoral) and firm/plant level data. While the overall message on the importance of ICT for growth coming from this literature is consistent with the findings of the studies based on growth accounting, the econometric approach allows researchers to investigate a wider set of questions. In particular, we focus on the role of ICT as a General Purpose Technology aspects and we review the literature studying the role of ICT and complementary assets in firms' productivity and the literature exploring the positive externalities related to ICT capital and the impact of ICT usage on the innovative capability of firms. Finally, we also review the literature on the relationship between ICT infrastructures and GDP growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Federico Biagi, 2013. "ICT and Productivity: A Review of the Literature," JRC Working Papers on Digital Economy 2013-09, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
  • Handle: RePEc:ipt:decwpa:2013-09

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yılmaz Kılıçaslan & Robin C. Sickles & Aliye Atay Kayış & Yeşim Üçdoğruk Gürel, 2017. "Impact of ICT on the productivity of the firm: evidence from Turkish manufacturing," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 277-289, June.
    2. Polák, Petr, 2017. "The productivity paradox: A meta-analysis," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 38-54.
    3. Desruelle, Paul & Stančík, Juraj, 2014. "Characterizing and comparing the evolution of the major global economies in information and communication technologies," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 812-826.

    More about this item


    ICT; labour productivity; total factor productivity; innovation;

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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