Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Information society, work, and the generation of new forms of social exclusion: The two pillars of the information economy

The development of the information economy is based on two pillars: on the development of a new information sector and on the diffusion of modern ICT throughout the whole economy. While there is no doubt that being a leading producer of modern ICT will have a positive effect on national and regional competitiveness, the informatisation of work and the efficient use of modern ICT within production processes may have an even greater effect on economic growth and employment.

So far policy makers who aim at supporting the development of the information economy seem to focus more on the supply side than on the demand side. They intensively support the development of a new information sector or cluster, while giving less attention to changes in the mode of production. Informatisation of work and the effective use of modern ICTs in production processes does not seem to be in the centre of policy activities that aim at developing the information economy. We do not argue here that the traditional supply-side policy should be abandoned, but there is a need to shift attention from the supply side to the demand side of the information economy in order to boost growth and employment. In addition, policy makers should give particular attention to the question how to link a policy supporting ICT production with a policy that focuses on the diffusion and use of modern ICT within companies. What is needed is an 'umbrella policy' to cover and integrate both sides of the information economy.

The need for a diffusion-oriented policy is supported by the results of our research project, as technical factors are often mentioned as barriers to investment in modern ICTs. Particularly SMEs seem to have difficulties in assessing the value of modern ICTs for their business. Policy-makers should therefore support co-operation between producers and users of modern ICT. Closer cooperation with and consultation by producers of modern ICT may particularly help SMEs to overcome their concerns with respect to ICT investments, such as spreading costs, incompatibility with the existing technical system, software problems and others.

Reported by

University of Tampere
4 Tullikatu 6
33014 Tampere
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