Working Paper No. 551

Is Human Capital the Key to the IT Productivity Paradox?

Published: February 27, 2001 Pages: 48Keywords: IT-Human Capital Complementarity; New Growth Theory; Applied EconometricsJEL-codes: J24; D24; L60

Is Human Capital the Key to the IT Productivity Paradox? Gudmundur Gunnarsson, Erik Mellander and Eleni Savvidou


Unlike previous analyses, we consider (i) that IT may affect productivity growth both directly and indirectly, through human capital interactions, and (ii) possible externalities in the use of IT. Examining, hypothetically, the statistical consequences of erroneously disregarding (i) and (ii) we shed light on the small or negative growth effects found in early U.S. studies, as well as the positive impacts reported recently. Our empirical analysis uses a 14-industry panel for Swedish manufacturing 1986-95. We find that human capital developments made the average effect of IT essentially zero in 1986 and steadily increasing thereafter, and, also, generated large differences in growth effects across industries.

Elgar Companion to

Social Capital and Health

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Martin Ljunge, IFN, is the author of a chapter, "Trust promotes health: addressing reverse causality by studying children of immigrants", in a new book edited by Sherman Folland and Eric Nauenberg. The cutting edge of research is presented, covering the ever-expanding social capital field.

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