BPEA | 1994 No. 2

Computers and Output Growth Revisited: How Big is the Puzzle?

Stephen D. Oliner and
Stephen D. Oliner Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Daniel E. Sichel
Headshot of Dan Sichel
Daniel E. Sichel Professor of Economics - Wellesley College
discussants: Robert J. Gordon and
Robert Gordon Headshot
Robert J. Gordon Stanley G. Harris Professor of the Social Sciences - Northwestern University
Jack E. Triplett
Jack E. Triplett Former Brookings Expert

1994, No. 2

DURING THE PAST 15 years, U.S. companies have poured billions of dollars
into information technology. Yet, through the 1980s, many observers
argued that these companies were not getting their money’s worth.
As hard as analysts scoured the numbers, they could not show that computing
equipment contributed much to productivity growth, leading to
Robert Solow’s famous quip that “you can see the computer age everywhere
but in the productivity statistics.”