Performance, IT maturity and offshoring behaviour of Italian manufacturing corporations in the dire straits of globalisation
This study examines productivity and profitability of Italian manufacturing corporations in relation to IT usage and offshoring of intermediate goods. The information set is based on a balanced panel of enterprises' economic accounts and foreign trade statistics for the years 2000-2004, linked to 2002 and 2004 surveys on ICT usage. The analytical framework is similar to one previously developed for Sweden, allowing for (partial) comparability. Offshoring is positively related to productivity, although the significance of intensity variables depends on employment size and industry. The same occurs for some variables of IT maturity (workers using PCs and a composite indicator), and for human resources as proxied by cost of labour (i.e. wage levels). These variables also show a positive impact on profitability, although limited to productions which are easy to outsource. Offshoring decisions and IT maturity, instead, do not present any strong mutual relation. The key issue of the direction of causality between IT maturity, offshoring and productivity is also tentatively addressed: lagged offshoring appears to weakly impact productivity, while lagged IT maturity does not, and a reverse causality from productivity to IT maturity is revealed. This first evidence, albeit limited, challenges some commonplaces, suggesting the coexistence of different business models. A richer information set should allow for a more appropriate treatment of these issues, as well as for extending the analysis to other, crucial determinants of performance.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2008|
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