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The Canada-US ICT Investment Gap: An Update


  • Andrew Sharpe


  • Jean-François Arsenault



In 2005, the CSLS published a report that examined spending on information and communication technology (ICT) in Canada and the United States between 1987 and 2004. It found that Canadian firms lagged considerably behind US firms in ICT spending and that this situation accounted to some extent for the lower labour productivity growth experienced in Canada. This report provides an overview of the latest developments using the most recent update of the CSLS ICT database. It finds that ICT investment spending in the United States in 2005 and 2006 continued to outpace that in Canada, increasing an average of 5.6 per cent annually in the United States compared to 3.3 per cent in Canada when expressed in current dollars. Following this trend, nominal ICT investment per worker in domestic currencies also grew faster in the United States than in Canada in 2005 and 2006, 3.7 per cent versus 1.6 per cent. The recent increase in the Canadian dollar, however, lead to a sharper decrease in ICT prices in Canada than in the United States over the 2004-2006 period. This in turn led to an increase in the level of PPP-adjusted ICT investment per worker in Canada relative to the United States from 56.5 per cent in 2004 to 58.0 per cent in 2006, continuing the positive trend started in 2000 when it stood at 49.0 per cent. While Canada’s steady relative improvement since 2000 in terms of ICT investment per worker is encouraging, the low relative level of ICT investment per worker remains problematic and should be of concern to policy-makers as ICT investment is a key driver of productivity growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Sharpe & Jean-François Arsenault, 2008. "The Canada-US ICT Investment Gap: An Update," CSLS Research Reports 2008-01, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  • Handle: RePEc:sls:resrep:0801

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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Deblock & Michèle Rioux, 2010. "NAFTA – A Model Running Out of Breath?," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 11(4), pages 9-16, December.
    2. Jasmin Thomas, 2016. "Explaining Industry Differences in IT Investment Per Worker Between Canada and the United States, 2002-2013," CSLS Research Reports 2016-01, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.

    More about this item


    Machinery and equipment investment; information and communications technology; ICT; Investment gap; Business sector; Industrial structure; Firm size;

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • M00 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - General - - - 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
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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