Weekly Summary-Jack Tong
Paper: Information Technology and Administrative Efficiency in U.S. State Governments – A Stochastic Frontier Approach
While extant literatures discussing IT value in organizations focus mostly on for-profit institution, this paper provide a new perspective to understand how IT system and investment could improve the efficiency of government and public administration. Analyzing a combination dataset from the IT budget data in state governments, the census data on state government expenditures, and a variety of information on public services states provide, the authors measure technical efficiency with a stochastic frontier analysis with a translog cost function and estimate the effect of IT spending on efficiency. The analyses provide evidence for a significantly positive relationship between IT spending and cost efficiency and indicate that on average, all else being equal, a $1 increase in per capita IT budget is associated with $1.13 efficiency gains.
Since state governments have used IT extensively for internal administration and delivery of public services such as education, social welfare, healthcare, and law enforcement, it is critical from both taxpayer perspective and IT investment planning perspective to understand whether the adoption and investment of IT infrastructure indeed generates sufficient value to the public. The authors adopt a stochastic frontier approach with a cost function, whose data are collected from NASCIO and the census data on state government finances, to estimate the relationship between IT spending and cost efficiency of state governments. The authors find that the relationship is positive and statistically significant, suggesting that the higher IT investments, the greater state government efficiency is.