The Impact of Information and Communication Technologies in Latin America
Edited by Mario Cimoli, André A. Hofman and Nanno Mulder
Chapter 4: ICT Investment in Latin America: Does it Matter for Economic Growth?
Gaaitzen J. De Vries, Nanno Mulder, Mariela Dal Borgo and André A. Hofman* 1 INTRODUCTION Information and communication technologies (ICT), as a general-purpose technology, have contributed substantially to economic and productivity growth in member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in the past decade. Evidence on the growth impact of ICT in the United States is paramount. The acceleration of growth in the United States after 1995 is largely attributed to the intensive use of ICT in the production process (Oliner and Sichel, 2000; Jorgenson, 2001). Studies for the European Union and Japan also find that ICT investment contributed substantially to growth and productivity in the past decade (Schreyer, 2000; Jorgenson and Motohashi, 2003; Van Ark and Piatkowski, 2004; Timmer and Van Ark, 2005; Piatkowski, 2006). For Latin America, official ICT investment series are not available, and their importance and growth impact is uncertain. Scarce evidence for Latin America, based on imputing ICT investment from expenditure data drawn from private data sources, suggests that the contribution of ICT investment to economic growth has been relatively modest over the past decade (Pohjola, 2003; Jorgenson and Vu, 2005 and Chapter 1 this volume). This paper breaks new ground in the estimation of ICT investment and the contribution of ICT capital services to economic growth for Latin America. In the first part of this paper, we estimate ICT investment for five Latin American countries (namely, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay) using national accounts data from statistical offices.1...
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