The Evolving Role of ICT in the Economy

June 2018

The Evolving Role of ICT in the Economy

This study - a research collaboration between Huawei and LSE's Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) - reviews and contributes to the evidence on the economics of information and communication technologies (ICT). By common consensus, the influence of ICT on the economy appears to be pervasive and decisive. Arguably, a driving factor behind this consensus is the ubiquity of ICT.

Despite this ubiquity, a number of major puzzles surround the role of ICT in the economy. The influence of ICT on productivity and economic growth was very slow to appear and then seemed to dissipate after the early 2000s. This has led to ‘ICT realists’ such as Robert Gordon to renew their questioning of the structural importance of ICT relative to earlier ‘General Purpose Technologies’ (GPTs) such as the steam engine, electrification and the automobile (Gordon, 2012). In addition, the penetration of computers and related technologies into the labour market via the perceived displacement of jobs through automation has contributed to a wave of economic pessimism around ICT.

In this report, the authors review this debate and provide some new contributions. These cover the technological influence of ICT as a generator of ‘knowledge spillovers’, an analysis of the now long history of broadband diffusion in a data-rich setting of the UK, and a discussion of recent employment trends and the challenge of automation.

Read more

Huawei press release - Digitalisation and work: what future for our jobs?

CSR Europe & Huawei event: Digitalisation & Work - ICT, Driver of Social Value

Report launch at the Huawei Asia-Pacific Innovation Day 2018