The Economic Impact of ICT

Measurement, Evidence and Implications

image of The Economic Impact of ICT

Information and communications technology (ICT) has become a key driver of economic growth over the past decade. The rapid diffusion of the Internet, of mobile telephony and of broadband networks all demonstrate how pervasive this technology has become. But how precisely does ICT affect economic growth and the efficiency of firms? And how well can these effects be measured?

This report provides an overview of the economic impact of ICT on economic performance, and the ways through which it can be measured. Using available OECD data, the first part of the book examines the available measures of ICT diffusion, the role and impact of ICT investment and the role of ICT-using and ICT-producing sectors in overall economic performance. The second part of the book offers nine studies for OECD countries, based on detailed firm-level data and prepared by researchers and statisticians from a wide range of OECD countries. These studies use a variety of methods and provide detailed insights on the effects of ICT in individual countries.



Introduction and Summary

This chapter summarises the main findings of this report. It shows that ICT is having farreaching impacts on economic performance and the success of individual firms, in particular when it is combined with investment in skills, organisational change, innovation and new firm creation. These impacts can be observed in firm-level studies for many OECD countries, but have only translated into stronger economic performance at the economy-wide or industry level in a few OECD countries. The limited impact of ICT at the aggregate level in many OECD countries is not necessarily due to lack of investment in ICT, but more to lack of complementary changes and investment that enable the full exploitation of ICT. The chapter also identifies some issues that will require further work, in developing better methods and data, and in further empirical analysis...


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