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.



IT, Productivity and Growth in Enterprises

New Results from International Micro Data

The relationship between information technology (IT), productivity, and growth has been established at the aggregate level. However, the mechanism through which the effect operates at the level of specific businesses remains unclear. Statistical agencies have developed indicators of businesses’ readiness to use IT (e.g. the IT infrastructure, diffusion of specific technologies), and some indicators on actual usage (e.g. purposes, frequency of use). The next phase is developing estimates of the impact of IT use. A recent OECD study addressed this question using aggregate data for OECD countries, and micro data for Germany and the United States. A second phase of the OECD study envisions a series of two- and three-country studies making use of newly available micro data for roughly a dozen countries. This paper outlines one such study, a three-country project addressing the impact of IT use in Denmark, Japan, and the United States. Each country recently collected new data at the level of specific businesses on the use of IT by businesses, and has conducted preliminary analyses of its own data. Each country also has different underlying market and institutional structures. The next phase of this project will be to develop estimates of the impact of IT use based on these new micro data, developing and testing hypotheses that acknowledge differences among the countries in market and institutional structures...


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