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Assessing The Productivity Of Information Technology Equipment In U.S. Manufacturing Industries

Catherine Morrison Paul

The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2000, vol. 79, issue 3, 471-481

Abstract: We assess the cost-reducing impacts of increasing stocks of "high-tech" equipment (O capital). Our empirical analysis is based on a dynamic production theory model and annual data for two-digit U.S. manufacturing industries (1952-1991). We find evidence of overinvestment in O capital in the mid to late 1980s, following a period of strong investment incentives in the late 1970s. By the end of the 1980s, however, the returns to investment and falling prices for O capital more than justified the high investment levels in nondurable-goods industries, and the benefit-cost ratio was also increasing for durable-goods industries. The underlying substitution patterns suggest that high-tech capital expansion increases demand for most capital and noncapital inputs overall, but saves on materials inputs. In durables industries, however, both energy and "other" capital appear somewhat substitutable with O capital, and in nondurables industries increasing high-tech intensity may be a factor underlying stagnating labor demand. © 1997 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Date: 2000
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The Review of Economics and Statistics is currently edited by Amitabh Chandra, Olivier Coibion, Bryan S. Graham, Shachar Kariv, Amit K. Khandelwal, Asim Ijaz Khwaja, Brigitte C. Madrian and Rohini Pande

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