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Unformatted text preview: nd its aftermath mak e more rec ent
data hard to interpret. As for the s trong produc tiv ity growth in the late 1990s , it may hav e
been premature to s ee it as the effec t of information tec hnology mak ing all s orts of s ec tors
more produc tiv e. It now look s as though it was driv en jus t by the indus tries ac tually mak ing
the c omputers , mobile phones and the lik e. The effec ts on the produc tiv ity of people and
c ompanies buy ing the new tec hnology s eem to hav e begun appearing in the 2000s , but may
not y et hav e c ome into their own. Res earc h by Sus anto Bas u of Bos ton College and J ohn
www.e c onomist.c om/ne ws/br ie f ing/21569381- ide a - innova tion- a nd- ne w- te c hnology- ha ve - stoppe d- dr iving- gr owth- ge tting- inc r e a sing 4/8 1/31/13 I nnova tion pe ssimism: Ha s the ide a s ma c hine br oke n down? | The Ec onomist Fernald of the San Franc is c o Federal Res erv e s ugges ts that the lag between inv es tments
in informationandc ommunic ation tec hnologies and improv ements in produc tiv ity is
between fiv e and 15 y ears . The drop in produc tiv ity in 2004, on that rec k oning, reflec ted a
s tate of tec hnology definitely preGoogle, and quite pos s ibly preweb.
Full ex ploitation of a tec hnology c an tak e far longer than that. Innov ation and tec hnology ,
though talk ed of almos t interc hangeably , are not the s ame thing. Innov ation is what people
newly k now how to do. Tec hnology is what they are ac tually doing; and that is what matters
to the ec onomy . Steel box es and dies el engines hav e been around s inc e the 1900s , and
their us e together in c ontaineris ed s hipping goes bac k to the 1950s . But their great impac t
as the bac k bone of global trade did not c ome for dec ades after that.
Roughly a c entury laps ed between the firs t c ommerc ial deploy ments of J ames Watt’s
s team engine and s team’s peak c ontribution to Britis h growth. Some four dec ades
s eparated the c ritic al innov ations in e...
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- Spring '14