Sectoral Determinants and Dynamics of ICT Investment in Italy
36 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2002
Date Written: January 2002
Many measures of the impact of Information and Comunication Technology (ICT) on growth have been provided for the United States; much fewer analyses have been proposed for European countries, due also to scarcity of disaggregated data. In this paper we make use of very detailed sectoral data for Italy to study both the aggregate evolution and the sectoral diffusion of ICT investment expenditure during the 1990s. In the aggregate we find that the 1992 recession strongly halted ICT investment, and only in 1999 the Italian economy recovered the same rate of ICT capital formation. Second, mixed evidence on diffusion is shown by the sectoral expenditure on ICT capital goods: although the ICT fraction of total investment has increased in all the relevant macro-sectors (industry, commerce and advances services), the number of total sectors investing in ICT has not risen between 1992 and 2000. Finally, an econometric analysis of sectoral ICT determination shows that, besides capital intensity and interest rates, R&D expenditure is a strong predictor of ICT investment expenditure. Hence, since R&D-intensive sectors are usually associated with the highest growth potential, ICT expenditure by those sectors may trigger a virtuous growth dynamics.
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