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Paul Reimers

8 March 2023
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2794
Details
Abstract
Is digitalisation a massive gamechanger which will deliver huge gains in productivity, or is it more of a sideshow with only limited impacts? We use a large balance sheet panel dataset comprising more than 19 million European firm-level observations to empirically investigate the impact of digitalisation on productivity growth via various previously unexplored chan-nels and mechanisms. Our results suggest that for two otherwise identical firms, the firm that exhibits on average a higher share of investment in digital technologies will exhibit a faster rate of TFP growth, but not all firms and sectors experience significant productivity gains from digitalisation. Digitalisation does not seem to have relatively stronger impacts on the productivity of frontier firms compared to laggards, nor does it help to turn laggards into frontier firms. Overall, firms should not regard digital investment as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy to improve their productivity. Digital technologies are a gamechanger for some firms. But they seem more like a sideshow for most firms, who attempt to be increasingly digital but are not able to adequately reap its productivity gains.
JEL Code
D22 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
D24 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Production, Cost, Capital, Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity, Capacity
D25 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations
O33 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Technological Change, Research and Development, Intellectual Property Rights→Technological Change: Choices and Consequences, Diffusion Processes