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ICT Prices and ICT Services: What Do They Tell Us About Productivity and Technology

David Byrne and Carol Corrado

International Productivity Monitor, 2017, vol. 33, 150-181

Abstract: This article reassesses the link between ICT prices, technology, and productivity. To understand how the ICT sector could come to the rescue of a whole economy, a multi-sector model developed by Oulton (2012) is extended to include ICT services and used to calibrate the steady-state contribution of the ICT sector to growth in aggregate U.S. labour productivity. The extended model also has implications for the relationship between prices for ICT services and prices for the ICT assets used to supply them, namely, that, ICT service prices may diverge from ICT asset prices and reflect productivity gains from ICT asset management by the sector. All told, because ICT technologies increasingly diffuse through the economy via purchased services (e.g. cloud services, data analytic services), they are not fully accounted for in the standard narrative of ICT’s contribution to economic growth. When this omission is corrected and the price indexes for ICT assets developed in Byrne and Corrado (2017a) are used to indicate the relative productivity of the ICT sector, its contribution to potential labour productivity growth is estimated to be substantially larger than generally thought — 1.4 percentage points per year.

Keywords: Information and Internet Services; Labour Productivity; Prices; Multi-sector Growth Model; Economic Growth. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L86 O41 D24 E3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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