Information Technology and Productivity: Old Answers and New Questions

Posted: 1 Sep 2008

See all articles by Kevin J. Stiroh

Kevin J. Stiroh

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Date Written: September 2008

Abstract

This article reviews the US productivity growth experience over the last decade and discusses a set of issues that will likely impact productivity growth over the next decade. I begin by examining the evolving productivity picture since the early 1990s by looking at vintage data on actual productivity from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and on the productivity outlook from the Congressional Budget Office. I then examine the sources of productivity growth to show how the productivity experience of the second half of the 1990s differed sharply from the experience during the first half of the 2000s. In particular, information technology appears much less important in the 2000s. I conclude by raising a series of questions around technological progress, investment and other factors to help frame discussions about the prospects for future of productivity growth for the US economy. (JEL codes: D24, O47)

Keywords: Productivity growth, information technology

Suggested Citation

Stiroh, Kevin J., Information Technology and Productivity: Old Answers and New Questions (September 2008). CESifo Economic Studies, Vol. 54, Issue 3, pp. 358-385, 2008; CESifo Economic Studies, Vol. 54, No. 3, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1260611 or http://dx.doi.org/ifn023

Kevin J. Stiroh (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of New York ( email )

33 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10045
United States
(212) 720-6633 (Phone)
(212) 720-8363 (Fax)

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