This article examines the most recent assessments of the spread of information technology (IT) in the French economy and their contribution to growth; these evaluations are accompanied by some comparisons with the United States.
The authors start by looking at the impact of IT on the French economy, focusing first on the share of IT output in total production, and then on how they have spread throughout the whole economy. On this second point, they point out the difficulties of conducting an accurate evaluation in the absence of appropriate indicators and comparable data covering a long period. Nevertheless, they conclude that the IT have shown a strong upward trend in France, albeit to a lesser extent than in the United States.
In the second part of the article, the authors investigate the contribution of the IT (roughly defined as computer and telecommunications hardware and software) to growth. Here, too, they emphasize the problems of making an evaluation, but conclude that the contribution to the growth of GDP in France of all the IT taken together was probably on average around 0.3% per annum between 1967 and 1999. They note that this contribution, though far from negligible, was well below the comparable figure for the United States.