Essays on technological progress, organizational changes and growth

by Mattalia, Claudio

Abstract (Summary)
A very important phenomenon observed in the last decades is the development of the so-called "New Economy", characterized by the diffusion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). During this episode, very favourable economic conditions have characterized the US economy: high growth rates of output, strong growth in labour, low level of unemployment. As a consequence, a strong attention has been devoted to the study of what has been called the "ICT Revolution", both from an empirical and from a theoretical point of view. This thesis proposes some theoretical models that are able to describe the most important characteristics of the new economy, explaining the associated growth performance. In particular, Chapter 1 develops a model that is able to reproduce some features of the ICT revolution that emerge from the data, underlining the importance of embodiment and the long-run implications of embodied technological change, and focusing on the role of R&D and of innovation in the growth process of the new economy. In Chapter 2 the model is extended considering also the presence of human capital, in line with the recent theoretical and empirical advancements in the endogenous growth literature according to which not only R&D activity, but also human capital accumulation, is a primary determinant of economic growth. Indeed, in the new economy human capital can be of great importance, since education is crucial in acquiring the knowledge necessary to use the new technologies, and at the same time an increase in ICT makes it easier to accumulate human capital, that in this model is the true engine of growth. In Chapter 3, finally, the issue considered is represented by the role of another form of capital, organizational capital, that has recently been advocated to explain the productivity slowdown and that can be linked with the analysis of the ICT boom. The model proposed allows to deal with the phenomenon, observed in the last decades with the diffusion of Information and Communication Technologies, represented by the adoption by many firms of new organizational practices, characterized by a tendency towards multi-tasking. Other aspects recently observed, and that the model is able to reproduce, are the increase in the share of skilled workers and in the proportion of workers employed in managerial occupations. The dissertation therefore elaborates some models that underline the fundamental role of a number of factors (innovation, human capital and organization) that are at the origin of the growth performance of the recent ICT-based economy.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Université catholique de Louvain

School Location:Belgium

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:new economy endogenous growth information and communication technologies


Date of Publication:07/07/2008

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