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Does ICT Investment Matter for Growth and Labor Productivity in Transition Economies?

  • Marcin Piatkowski

Following up on a previous paper by the same author on the contribution of ICT capital to growth and labor productivity in Poland 1995-2000, this paper extends the study to eight transition economies: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and Slovenia. The paper shows that the contribution of investment in IT hardware, software and telecommunication equipment to output growth and labor productivity between 1995 and 2000 in most countries featured in the study was much higher than what might be expected on the basis of the level of their GDP per capita. This may suggest that the transition economies – through the use of ICT - are benefiting from the technological leapfrogging to increase the growth rates in output and labor productivity and hence accelerate the process of catching-up. The relatively large contribution of ICT capital to output growth and labor productivity is due to an extraordinary acceleration in real ICT investments, which were growing between 1995 and 2000 at an average rate of more than 20% a year for almost all countries in the study. Large investments in ICT seem to have been induced by (i) falling prices of ICT products and services, which encouraged companies to substitute ICT for non-ICT capital and (ii) an opportunity for higher-than-normal returns on ICT investments due to a large pent-up demand for ICT infrastructure, a legacy of decapitalization and technological gap existing before 1989.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Development and Comp Systems with number 0402008.

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Date of creation: 27 Feb 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0402008
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  1. Zsolt Darvas & András Simon, 1999. "Capital Stock and Economic Development in Hungary," MNB Working Papers 1999/3, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary).
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