Introductory Remarks

Dale W. Jorgenson

Harvard University

Dr. Jorgenson, Chairman of the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) of the National Research Council, welcomed those assembled for the day’s symposium, “Deconstructing the Computer,” the second in a series of STEP Board-sponsored meetings devoted to “Measuring and Sustaining the New Economy.” This project focuses on the role of information technology (IT) in the U.S. economy.

Posing the question “Why information technology?,” Dr. Jorgenson offered three answers:

  • Developments in IT have been the main source of productivity growth in the U.S. economy for three decades.

  • This relatively small industrial segment, about 5 percent of the economy in terms of value added, by itself produced the great resurgence of the latter half of the 1990s that put the U.S. economy back on something approximating its historic track of growth.

  • IT had been, in addition, the major force behind a remarkable development of productivity in the years 2001–2002, during which the economy was in a recession.

For these reasons, Dr. Jorgenson explained, the STEP Board had chosen information technology as a launching pad for examining the relationships among sci-

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