Confronting the Crisis
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Confronting the Crisis

ICT Stimulus Plans for Economic Growth. Second edition, October 2009

This Report examines the scope for public financing and the role that the ICT sector and economic stimulus plans can play in regenerating economic growth and promoting economic recovery. More than fifty countries have launched economic stimulus plans in an effort to boost aggregate demand (Insight 4) – the OECD records as many as 25 OECD countries as having announced stimulus plans, while major emerging and transition countries including Brazil, Chile, China and the Russian Federation have also launched similar initiatives to stimulate their economies. Investments in ICT can play a strong role in generating long-term economic growth, as they offer strong multiplier effects in returns on investment, strong externalities and reduced economic leakages (Section 3.1). These strong externalities to ICT infrastructure suggest that the social returns on investment in ICTs are likely to exceed the private returns significantly, implying that private sector activity alone is unlikely to generate socially optimal levels of investment.

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We are now one year into the financial crisis which erupted in the autumn of 2008 and which has taken its toll on the global economy and financial markets. The financial crisis and associated economic slowdown are virtually unprecedented in size and scale, as well as the speed with which they have spread. Although stock markets have recovered somewhat and some economists are now more optimistic, it is clear that the world will continue to experience the economic aftershocks for some time yet, whilst undertaking the structural adjustments needed to respond fully to life after the crisis.