Assessing the Productivity of Information Technology Equipment in U.S. Manufacturing Industries

Catherine J. Morrison, Ernst R. Berndt

NBER Working Paper No. 3582
Issued in January 1991
NBER Program(s):   PR

In this paper we report results of an empirical assessment of the cost reducing impacts of recent dramatic increases in stocks of "high-tech" office and information technology equipment (0) using annual data from various two digit US manufacturing industries over the 1952-1986 time period. While there are exceptions, on balance we find that in 1986, estimated marginal benefits of investments in this 0 equipment are less than marginal costs, implying over investment in 0 capital in 1986. The sign of the estimated elasticity of demand for labor with respect to changes in the stock of 0 capital is evenly divided in the fourteen industries, but whether positive or negative, in all industries this elasticity increases in absolute magnitude over time, indicating ever greater impacts of 0 capital on the demand for aggregate labor. Finally, our estimates of the elasticity of technical progress with respect to 0-capital are very small in magnitude implying that increases in o capital have only a small impact on technical progress.

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  • Published as "Productive and Financial Performance in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: An Integrated Structural Approach", SEJ, Vol. 60, no. 2(1993): 376-392. ,
  • Published as "High-Tech Capital Formation and Economic Performance in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: An Exploratory Analysis", JE. Published as "Assessing Productivity of Information Technology Equipment in U.S. Manufacturing Industries", Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 79, no. 3 (1997): 471-481.

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