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OECD Information technology outlook ICTs and the Information Economy 2002 Edition - ICTs and their role in the economy

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This issue of the Information Technology Outlook suggests, on the basis of recent evidence and analysis, that something new is indeed taking place in the structure of OECD economies and that it is this transformation, driven and facilitated by information and communication technologies (ICTs), which has contributed to the high growth recorded in several OECD countries during the second half of the 1990s (OECD, 2001). In many respects, Solow's paradox is being resolved. In addition to the surge in investment, ICT also appears to have brought other, more qualitative, economic benefits, like valuable networks between suppliers and more choice for consumers, notably thanks to the Internet. ICT has spurred innovation in services, has improved the efficiency of manufacturing and design, while making inventories and overheads more manageable. It has been a catalyst of change in business, improving work organisation, and helping firms to reduce routine transaction costs and rationalise their supply chains. Crucially, ICT, particularly when combined with skill upgrading and organisational change, seems to have facilitated productivity-enhancing changes within firms, in both new and traditional industries.  Such benefits are long-term in their effects, and will continue to develop, even given the difficulties and challenges that the industry faces today.

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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 2002-06-01

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