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Bilgi Ekonomisi ve Y�netimi Dergisi 2007, Cilt: II, Sayı:II G�Z


The Journal of Knowledge Economy & Knowledge Management 2007, Volume II Fall


ICT, Human Capital and TFP in Malaysia: A Statistical Approach

Jorah Ramlan, Elsadig Musa Ahmed and Leo Pointon


Abstract: This paper finds that the contribution of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to Malaysian economic growth is the highest at an average of 13 percent for the period 1966 to 2005 against 4.7 percent for Total Factor Productivity (TFP), 9.7 percent for Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 9.6 percent for capital, and 3.0 percent for labour. The decomposition of human capital growth indicates that the contribution for ICT intensity at 14 percent is highest in the sub-period of 1987 to 2005, while TFP is 2.1 percent, output-human capital ratio is 6.6 percent, capital intensity is 6.1 percent, and labour productivity is 3.4 percent.  This suggests that Malaysia’s ICT commitments are significant to the development of human capital in Malaysia. However, the results for TFP suggests that Malaysia’s productivity is input driven, thus indicating that the policies and programmes to increase the rate of TFP have been unsuccessful.

 Keywords: Malaysia; ICT; TFP; Labour Productivity; Human capital JEL classification: E23; C22




The remarkable progress in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) witnessed in the past decade has made an increasingly profound impact on economic activity and the way people work, communicate, and spend time across countries around the world.

ICT includes an array of hardware, software, telephones, businesses, services, and networks that enable to access to internet. ICT usually support by the equipment such as computers, the internet, CD-ROMS and other software, radio, video, television, and digital cameras that can be used in the works. 

In addition, ICT is defined as Information Technology (IT) plus Telecommunication Equipment and Services. The IT, in turn, refers to a combined industry, which includes IT hardware (office machines, data processing equipment, and data communications equipment), IT software, and IT services (WITSA, 2000). 

Moreover, human capital can define as the skills and knowledge intensity of the labour force in an economy, which are essentially acquired through schooling and training. The relevance of human  capital accumulation  to  the  process  of  economic  development  stems  from  its  potential  beneficial  impact  on macroeconomic productivity and on the long-run distribution of incomes, once some basic conditions are met.   

The knowledge-based economy is not confined to ICT alone. Even before the evolution of the ICT, it was the knowledge that was personified in human beings' “human capital” and technology. It was further embodied in the capital investment as being undertaken by the Asian economies that eventually brought about the so-called Asian miracle. There is no one standard definition of the knowledge-based economy but an acceptable one must place importance on the generation and exploitation of knowledge to create new value in the economy. Indeed, knowledge is information that is put to productive work. Knowledge includes information in any form, know-how and know-why. Knowledge is not only embodied in goods and services, particularly in high technology based industries, but also in knowledge as a commodity itself, manifested in forms such as intellectual property rights or in the tacit knowledge of highly mobile key employees. And it involves the way people interact as individuals and as a community. Unlike capital and labour, knowledge is a public good and sharing it with others involves zero marginal cost. In addition, technological breakthrough based on knowledge creates technical platforms that support further innovations and drive economic growth (Bank Negara Malaysia, 1999). 

Despite many studies augmenting the ICT-growth nexus model to include intangible variables and employing more sophisticated estimation techniques in the 1990s period, the results of the impact of ICT on growth still remain controversial. For example, Pohjola (2001) uses data covering the 1980 to1995 period for 39 countries and employs OLS method of estimation. He finds that the effect of ICT on growth is not significant, except for developed countries and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries where ICT has a significant positive effect on growth. Using restricted and unrestricted estimation method, Pohjola initial estimation is based on the augmented Solow model which predicts that the different steady states reached by countries is determined by the different types of capital; in this case, physical capital, human capital, and technology capital. Further, since the country-specific convergence to the steady states is known to be slow, restricting the parameters in the Solow augmented model would lead to the depreciation rates on the different types of capital to be equal, for an estimable equation. Jorgenson et al. (2002) concluded that the impact of TFP on US growth is very small. This result is very similar to Gordon (2000). In the follow up study, Stiroh (2002) introduce other explanatory variables into the regression equation based on sector classification of US industries. He found a significant confirmation of trend breaks in the US time series of productivity growth rates in the IT-using industries. Stiroh’s methodology and results were extended to some OECD countries by Van Ark et al. (2002). They decomposed the aggregate productivity growth into ‘intra-effect’ and ‘shift-effect’ in order to estimate the impact of ICT on growth. Neither method yields a statistically significant ICT-growth coefficient. They conclude that this result may relate to the measurement issue demonstrated by the variability in the IT intensity sectors classifications. Pilat and Lee (2001) examine the roles of the ICT-producing sector and of key ICT-using industries in overall productivity growth in OECD countries, conclude that a large ICT sector is no prerequisite for faster Multi Factor Productivity growth. On the other hand, Jeong et al. (2001) examine the ICT-growth nexus using aggregate data covering the 1980 to 1995 period for Korea, and control for a number of ICT variables such as the broad ICT investment, the narrow ICT investment, and non-ICT investment. They obtain a positive and significant impact of ICT on growth. Cross-country comparison by Bosworth and Collins (2003) for 84 countries, Christensen et al. (1980) for OECD countries, and Pohjola (2003) for 51 countries, exercised growth accounting to gauge the impact of TFP on growth. The controversial results from these studies are considered pivotal to a new generation of ICT effectiveness study and has been criticised for its intriguing implication (Soludo and Kim, 2003).  

There is some debate in the literature as to the extent of the impact of ICT on the growth of the developing countries. Dewan and Kraemer (2000) estimated an inter-country production function relating ICT and non-ICT inputs to GDP output on panel data from 36 countries over the 1985-1993 period and found significant differences between developed and developing countries with respect to their structure of returns from capital investments. The authors concluded that returns on ICT investment are positive and significant for developed countries, but not statistically significant for developing economies.

Gordon (2000), Loveman (1988), Roach (1987, 1988), and Strassman (1997) showed that productivity gains from ICT in the aggregate economy have been limited, despite the rapid improvement in price-performance ratio of computers and heavy investment in ICT. This argument was based in part on the fact that the United States (US) invested heavily in ICT during the 1970s and 1980s, yet productivity growth slowed during that period compared to the earlier post-war years. This has been referred to as the ‘productivity paradox’. Among development agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, there is likewise disagreement as to what role ICT should play in various development projects. 

The purpose of this study is to twofold: (1) to determine whether there is significant impact of ICT on TFP in Malaysia’s economic growth, and (2) to determine the contribution of ICT in human capital development in Malaysia. The caveats of this study are (1) it is country specific, and (2) it is based on aggregate data. 

A review of existing literature on ICT in relation to Malaysia’s economic growth shows that since ICT was recognised as the engine of growth for the Malaysian economy, the significance of TFP has been given much emphasis. It was reported that TFP contributed 24.8% to GDP during the Seventh Malaysia Plan, as compared to 25% by labour and 50% capital. In the Eighth Malaysia Plan, TFP is expected to contribute 37.2% to GDP growth while labour and capital are expected to contribute 21.5% and 41.3% respectively.1 

In the last few years, the empirical studies on ICT effectiveness still show no sign of agreement. Nevertheless, a majority of ICT effectiveness studies have paid more attention to the decomposition of productivity growth of labour capital into the capital deepening and TFP components (Elsadig 2006). The study on the impact of ICT is closely associated to TFP in the growth accounting literature. The key issue is for long-run sustainability of growth. Based on the empirical evidence from the neoclassical growth model, factor accumulation exhibits diminishing returns. Therefore, for sustainable long-run growth, a country cannot rely only on accumulation of factor inputs but there must also be growth in TFP. 

This paper is organized as follows: section 1 is an overview of ICT in Malaysia; section 2 describes the data set and a descriptive analysis of the data; section 3 presents the methodology and estimation procedures; section 4 reports the results; and section 5 provides the conclusion.


I. The Development of ICT in Malaysia


The effect of the shift from agricultural intensive to manufacturing intensive economy is reflective in the performance of Malaysia’s economy in the last two decades. Changes in government policies relating to the focus and direction of the economy since 1957, has positively altered the development of the economy. The move to an export oriented economy has also made the country to be more technology savvy. The development of technology parks and the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) is reflective of the country’s commitment to embracing new technology, specifically, the ICT.

The definition of ICT2 in Malaysia from the statistical standpoint is based on the definition agreed by OECD. The definition for ICT sector is based on the following principles: 

  • For the manufacturing industries, the products of an industry must be intended to fulfil the function of information processing and communication and using electronic processing to detect, measure/record physical phenomena or to control a physical process. These include office and accounting machinery, computers and computer peripherals, telecommunication cables and wires, electric power cables and wires, other insulated wires and cables, semi-conductor devices, electronic valves and tubes and printed circuit boards, other electronic components, television and radio transmitters and apparatus for line telephony and line telegraphy, TV and radio receivers, sound or video recording or reproducing apparatus, and associated goods.
  • For the services sector, the products must be intended to enable the function of information processing and communication by electronic means. These include distributive trades (wholesale and retail of machinery, equipment and supplies), renting of office machinery and equipment (including computers), telecommunications (telephone services, broadcasting, internet service provider and paging services), and computer and related activities services (hardware consultancy, software consultancy and supply, maintenance and repair and other computer related services). 

Malaysia has invested significantly to upgrade the telecommunication technology in the country in order to be able to support the development in ICT. The computerization of workflow in other economic sector also indicates investment in ICT equipment in order to increase productivity. Government and private sectors have decided to embrace the ICT and to reap its benefit for economic as well as accounting profits. The increase in import spending for telecommunication equipment shows a trend closely associated to the development in ICT.  

Human Capital in ICT 

The introduction of human capital has had significant impact to the development of ICT. Awang (2004) studies the development of human capital and technology development in Malaysia and concludes that there must be more ways to upgrade and increase human capital to take advantage of ICT. Elsadig (2006) compares the contribution of ICT to human capital in the manufacturing sector of Malaysia, and finds that achieving knowledge-based economy through the proxy of ICT in terms of geometric progression is faster than achieving it through human capital proxy, involved in the sector and other traditional inputs. Tan et al. (2004) examined human capital from the k-economy perspective and conclude that Malaysia is relatively more efficient in promoting and developing Knowledge-based economy (k-economy) when compared to large economies such as the USA and Japan, and other less developed countries. Tan and Foong (2004) discussion on human capital is focused on the tertiary education system and found, among others, that there is a clear indication of a change in the government support for funding with the announcement of the k-economy Master Plan in the year 2002.   Human capital has been measured in various ways. While Awang (2004) looks at education and training, Elsadig (2006) decomposes labour into skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour. 

A. Dynamics of ICT Contribution to Growth 

In discussing the dynamics of ICT contribution to growth in Malaysia, this paper will focus on four areas, which are, size, structure, performance, and ranking. 

a. Size

For the period 1995-1999, the cumulative annual growth rate of the ICT market is projected to grow at 19% for hardware, 10% for data communications, 25% for software and 22% for services. From 1995 to 1998, investment in ICT expanded at a rate of 8.4% annually, an increase from RM3,800 million in 1995 to RM4,840 million in 1998. This is due to incentives introduced to promote the usage of ICT, which include the removal of sales tax on computers and components, and the granting of accelerated capital allowance for expenses on computers and other ICT equipment. In the export-oriented sector, the growth of 21.2% in 1999, in the electronics and electrical products, was attributed to the increased usage of the Internet and e-commerce, rising demand for communication chips for use in computer modems, networks and cellular phones from major market in the US, Europe and Japan. 

The banking and finance sector registered the highest user of ICT for its business function. The manufacturing sector was classified as a medium user with half of its activities supported by ICT.  

b. Structure

The main telecommunication operator is Telecom Malaysia (TELEKOM). However, there are 5 telecommunication companies, which are currently in operation to provide telephony services. Telecommunication operators in Malaysia improved their services through investments in telecommunication infrastructure, comprising of fibre optics, satellite, and wireless technology. There are 3 types of telecommunication infrastructure available in Malaysia, namely, fixed line, cellular, and the Internet.  

The network structure consists of 6 network-based telecommunication companies that have been licenced to provide Internet service in Malaysia. They are MAXIS, DIGI, TT.DOT.COM, CELCOM, TELEKOM and PRISMANET. To-date only 3 network-based companies have started to provide the Internet service, namely, JARING, TMNet, and MAXISNet.  

c. Performance

The performance of ICT in Malaysia is gauged through e-commerce revenue and contribution to GDP export earning.  

In general there are 2 types of e-commerce, namely, business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). B2C is one-to-one borderless marketing where products and services are sold to consumers, and B2B commerce is where the transactions are between businesses. With the ICT, the contents of products and services such as software, documents, news, stocks and insurance policies can be converted into digital form over the Internet. Thus, allowing businesses to be conducted online. Among the initiatives to support e-commerce in Malaysia are, MyBiz and Malaysian Electronic Payment System (MEPS), the latter using the Secured Electronic Transaction (SET) Protocol.  

E-commerce revenue was US$6.31 million in 1997 and US$58.89 million in 1999. An IDC 1999 Report predicted an increase in e-commerce revenue of 58 times from US$58.89 million in 1999 to US$3469.85 million in 2004.  

In the export-oriented sector, the electronic industry remained the leading industry with a strong output expansion of 21.2% in 1999.This was largely attributed to the increased usage of the Internet and e-commerce, rising demands for computer chips for use in computer modems, networks and cellular phones. Output of the electrical products industry was mainly contributed by the improved demand for office and computer equipment, consumer durables and air-conditioners. 

d. Ranking

With regards to e-commerce, in a survey by the Economists Intelligence Unit, Malaysia ranked at number 32 of 60 countries in its most “e-business ready”. For general business environment, the criteria among others are economic strength, political stability, and regulatory climate; for connectivity, the criteria include factors such as existing telephone network, dial-up costs, and literacy rates.  

In terms of ICT expenditure by sector, the manufacturing sector constituted the largest share or 17 percent of total expenditure in 1998, followed by banking and finance at 14 percent. The share of ICT expenditure for home and personal use showed a significant increase from 2 percent in 1995 to 9 percent in 1998. 

With regards to ICT usage based on business function, finance and accounting department is the highest for financial control and administration. The finance sector also is the highest user of ICT in human resource, sales and marketing, operational production, and research and development function. The manufacturing sector ranks second to finance sector in ICT usage for business function. 

The government has implemented various projects to the development of ICT in Malaysia. They are as follows: 

  • The Multimedia Super Corridor
  • One-house-one-computer
  • Computer purchasing through the Employees Provident Fund
  • Abolition of import duties on computers and computer peripherals
  • Computers in schools
  • Computer literacy classes for housewives 
  • Establishment of the Communication and Multimedia Commission

The emphasis on science, technology, information, and knowledge as the catalyst to achieve economic goals and induced economic growth as indicated in the National Development Plan indicated a change in various information and communication technology indicators.

The number of personal computers in the population has increase from 39.7 to 146.8 in every 1000 people. This suggests a change of 269.7 percent in the period 1995 to 2002. Malaysia ranks second after Singapore, among the ASEAN countries for the installation of telephone lines for every 1000 people. The number of Internet subscribers indicates an increase of over 10 percent during this period, suggesting an increase in computer literacy among Malaysia’s population of 24.5 million in 2002. 

The positive growth of ICT during the period of 1995 to 2002 is reflective of the National Development Policy (1991-2000) and Vision 2020 (1991-2020). The average gross domestic product was 9.46 in 1995, the highest since the implementation of the first economic plan (1966). Despite the economic crisis of 1997, the expenditure on ICT as a proportion of gross domestic product continues to grow from 5.2 to 7.3 percent in 1999 and 2002, respectively. This might suggest the government’s commitment to promote ICT for the development of the economy or the change in prices of ICT products in relation to international trade. This has yet to be determined as the data for imports and exports of ICT products are not available at the time of this study.  

While the trend in economic growth suggests a gradual increase in the period of 1960s to the late of 1980s, covering almost three decades. However, the next 10 years, from 1987 to 1997, suggests a significant acceleration in economic growth, with an average annual change of about 9 percent during the period.   

Labour productivity in general, for the period 1988 to 1995, was quite stable but has experience a downturn since than. While some of the economic sectors, such as mining and quarrying, transport and communications, and construction recorded a change of 12.1, 9.0, and 8.6 percent respectively for the period 1988 to 1997, the other sectors recorded a lower percentage change in labour productivity with agriculture, forestry, livestock and fishing has the lowest average labour productivity change of 1.3 percent for this period.   

Manufacturing sector is a major contributor to the gross domestic product of Malaysia for the period 1988 to 1997 at almost 14 percent annually. The production of ICT products from the manufacturing sector suggests that Malaysia is an ICT intensive producer as well as an ICT user. This can be seen in the communication absorption matrix and the communication coefficient, which suggests that the finance sector is the most ICT intensive user. 

B. National Commitment to ICT Development 

To reflect its commitment to ICT development, Malaysia has implemented several strategies, which can be group into 5 major categories. There are (1) ICT policy initiatives, strategies and programmes, (2) Institutional Infrastructure, (3) Support mechanism for ICT-related entrepreneurial development, (4) The Malaysian venture capital industry, and (5) Legislative support.

The ICT Policy Initiatives, Strategies and Programmes consist of the Seventh Malaysia Plan (SMP), The National Information Technology Agenda (NITA), The Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), Demonstrator Application Grant Scheme (DAGS), and the Knowledge Economy Master Plan. 

The Institutional Infrastructure plan includes the development of Malaysian Institute of Microelectronic Systems (MIMOS) Berhad, Ministry of Energy, Communication and Multimedia (MECM), Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (CMC), and the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry Malaysia (PIKOM). 

There are several forms of support mechanism for ICT-related entrepreneurial development available in Malaysia to spur the growth of local hardware and software industry, content development, and the development of technopreneurs and netpreneurs. The main supports can be in the form of financial and non-financial incentives, R & D grants, and industry awards. 

The Malaysian venture capital industry was formal started in 1984 with the establishment of Malaysian Venture Berhad. The number of venture capital companies (VCC) has risen from 6 in 1990 to 30 in 1999 with an asset value of RM346 million in 1992 to RM1.7 billion in 1999. The government has stakes in 19 of the 30 VCC, 9 out of the 11 remaining VCC are subsidiaries of financial institutions

In the Budget 2000, the government announced the establishment of 2 venture capital funds totalling RM500 million. Of this amount, RM200 million is to finance high technology projects to be channelled through Bank Industri and Teknologi Malaysia Berhad. The remaining RM300 million is to finance investee companies. The MSC Venture One fund was established in June 1999 to provide venture capital financing to innovative and emerging ICT and multimedia companies at the start-up, growth and pre-initial public offering (IPO) stages. 

The Malaysian government has initiated several legislative relevant to provide support to the MSC. This multi-specific legislation has been passed in Parliament and they include the following: 

  • The Digital Signature Act 1997
  • The Computer Crimes Act 1997
  • The Electronic Government Act 1997
  • The Multimedia convergence Act 1997
  • The Telemedicine Act 1997
  • The Communication and Multimedia Act 1998
  • The Intellectual Property Protection Act 1998

Although the above legislations were prompted by the establishment of the MSC, they are of general application throughout Malaysia.  


II. Data


This paper will investigate the relationship between ICT and TFP with aggregate output using data from 1965 to 2005. Data on imports of telecommunication equipment is use as a proxy for ICT. The definition of telecommunication equipment has changed greatly by category as well as SITC3 code. In 1960 telecommunication equipment was categorized as wireless apparatus of all kinds, with SITC code of 721 04. In 1970 telecommunications equipment carried the SITC code of 724 and consist of various sub-categories with codes 721 1, 724 2, 724 91, and 724 99. In 1990 the code was 764 with subcategory codes 764 9, 764 93, and 764 99.  In the Information Economic Report (2005), the codes for telecommunications equipment are 851711 to 854470.  

The empirical work in this study utilizes the economic time series data of imports of telecommunication equipment as a proxy for ICT, gross domestic product (GDP), fixed capital expenditure (Capital), and total labour employed as a proxy fro human capital (HC) . There are 41 annual observations in total for each data set. The data for ICT, GDP and Capital are in Ringgit Malaysia (RM) adjusted for inflation using 1995 based year. These data from 1965 to 2005 are obtained from the United Nations Trade Statistical Yearbook (various years) and the Department of Statistics, Malaysia. 

Initial investigation on changes in growth rates for ICT, GDP, capital and labour factors, based on simple arithmetic, are shown in Table 1 and 2. The purpose of analysing the changes in ICT growth between two sub-periods and three sub periods is to substantiate empirically that shock(s) to the economy cannot be overlooked in the time series analysis on economic performance. The rest of this study follows the analysis of the two sub periods, which is deemed appropriate since uncontrollable economic situations might compromise the results of this study.

Table 1 depicts changes in growth rates for two sub-periods, 1965-1986 and 1987 to 2005. The results indicate significant increase in ICT contribution for the period 1987 to 2005 compared to 1965 to 1986. ICT also indicates the highest acceleration rate between the 2 sub-periods compared to GDP, capital and labour factors.   

The changes in growth rate for aggregate output (GDP), ICT, fixed capital (C), total employment (L), and labour productivity (LP) is higher for the period 1987 to 2005, duration of 19 years as compared to 1966 to 1986, duration of 21 years.  

Table 1: Changes in growth rates with 2 sub-periods

Factor 1966-2005 (A) 1966-1986


1987-2005 (C) Acceleration
        (C) – (A) (C) – (B)
ICT -0.227 -0.432 1.126 1.353 1.558
GDP 0.149 0.283 0.616 0.467 0.333
Capital 0.112 0.223 -0.268 -0.156 -0.045
Labour -0.001 -0.001 0.204 0.205 0.205
LP 0.074 0.142 0.713 0.639 0.571

Notes: Figures in Table 1 calculated from original data.   

Table 2: Changes in Growth rates with 3 sub-periods

Factor 1966-2005


1966-1986 (B) 1987-1996 (C) 1997-2005 (D) Acceleration
          (D)-(A) (D) - (B) (D) - (C)
ICT -0.227 -0.432 2.140 -0.257 -0.030 0.175 -2.397
GDP 0.149 0.283 1.170 1.106 0.957 0.823 -0.064
Capital 0.112 0.223 -0.509 1.408 1.296 1.185 1.917
Labour -0.001 -0.001 0.388 0.544 0.545 0.545 0.156
LP 0.074 0.142 1.355 3.654 3.580 3.512 2.299

Notes: Figures in Table 2 calculated from original data   

Table 2 shows the result from three sub-periods, which are, 1966-1986, 1987-1996, and 1997-2005. This is to accommodate the structural transformation that took place in Malaysian economy in 1987 and the economic Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. ICT factor reflects the highest growth rate change for the period 1987 to 2005 and 1987 to 1996 for two sub-periods and three sub-periods, respectively. The acceleration rate indicate that the rapid change in growth rate for ICT occurs in the period of 1987-2005 in two sub-periods analysis, and 1987-1996 in three sub-period analysis. However, the results in Table 2 indicate a negative acceleration rate for ICT for the period 1997 to 2005. The financial crisis of 1997 is so significant to Malaysia’s economy that it eclipsed the acceleration rate of the ICT in the period of 1966 to 2005, thus indicating a negative growth rate of 0.227, despite the tremendous growth of 2.14 in the period of 1987 to 1996.

Labour productivity indicates similar results to ICT with respect to the various sub-periods. The acceleration rate for labour productivity however, indicates a decreasing pattern for all sub-periods.


III. Methodology and Estimation Procedure

This study follows the work of Elsadig (2006) in using growth accounting to measure ICT contribution to aggregate output. Unlike his paper, this research focuses on the economy as a whole, endogenizing ICT in the measurement for TFP contribution. This paper identifies two sub-periods based on Ramlan (2006); 1965 to 2005, 1965 to 1986, and 1987 to 2005. The sub-periods represent the pre structural transformation and the post structural transformation in Malaysia’s economy. The production function for the economy from 1965 to 2005 is represented as follows: 


Where Y is gross domestic product, K is total capital, L is total employment, ICT is imports of telecommunication equipment, and R is residual, which proxies for TFP.

Under the assumption of competitive equilibrium and constant return to scale, equation 1 is transform to accommodate the decomposition of the aggregate output to marginal contribution of inputs and TFP growth.  The estimation procedures are as follows: 


Where, is intercept, , represents the output elasticity with respect to capital, labour, and ICT, respectively, ln is the log transformation of the variables, t represents the entire and sub-periods of the study, and R is the residual term. The intercept is of no significance in the calculation of growth rate. Based on the assumption of constant return to scale, is set to equal to 1.  

The next step is to allow for the calculation of TFP and the contribution from capital, labour and ICT inputs. To address the issue of data stationarity, we apply first-difference to all the variables thus; equation 2 is now calculated as follows: 


      t = 1966 to 2005, 1966 to 1986, 1987 to 2005 

Equation 3 states the decomposition of GDP growth into the contribution of capital, labour, ICT and the simultaneous contribution of the quality of the inputs. This is express as the TFP growth. It is important to note that equation (1), (2), and (3) endogenize ICT in the models, thus provide the product elasticity in the measurement of the growth rate of the aggregate output. Equation 1 is estimated using autoregression analysis to address the issue of autocorrelation among the variables. 

The contribution of the factors of production is further analysed through the decomposition of TFP in order to identify the contribution of the factors based on human capital productivity.  This provides the contribution of each input based on human capital per unit and TFP growth.

The decomposition of TFP to illustrate human capital productivity is shown as follows: 


t = 1966 to 2005, 1966 to 1987, 1988 to 2005



IV. Results and Interpretation


Table 3 shows the elasticity results for the various variables in the production function not including the ICT variable, while Table 4 endogenized ICT in the production function. The Durbin H statistic in tables 3 and 4 is within the decision rule, thus, we do not reject the null hypothesis of no autocorrelation in the regression analysis. The estimated coefficients of capital, labour, and ICT are significant at 10% level.  

Table 3: Elasticity of Inputs in the Productivity Indicators without ICT, 1965 to 2005 without ICT

Variable Elasticity
Capital 0.259


Labour 0.741


Constant 0.049


Durbin H -1.434

Notes: Figures in parentheses are t-values. * Indicates significance at 5% level.

            Results based on equation 2.

Table 4: Elasticity of Inputs in the Productivity Indicators with ICT, 1965 to 2005, with ICT

Variable Elasticity
ICT 0.036


Capital 0.236


Labour 0.728


Constant 0.047


Durbin H -1.565

Notes: Figures in parentheses are t-values. * Indicates significance at 2% level.

             Results based on equation 2.

Table 5 shows that TFP is the highest at 5.4% in the period 1987 to 2005. Wahab (2001) reported that TFP is 1.3% for the period 1980 to 1997 for the economy as a whole, while Elsadig (2006) reported a negative (-) 0.16 TFP for the period 1987 to 2001 in a study on the manufacturing sector. TFP is lowest at 4.6 percent for the period 1966 to 1986. This is indicative of the slow down in economy due to the oil crisis in the 1970s and the economic crisis of the early 1980s.    

Table 5: TFP contribution in economic growth without ICT

Factor 1966-2005 (%) 1966-1986 (%) 1987-2005 (%)
TFP 5.0 4.6 5.4
GDP 9.7 9.4 10.2
Capital 10.0 11.0 8.8
Labour 3.0 2.6 3.4

Notes: Results based on equation 3.


Table 6: TFP contribution in economic growth with ICT

Factor 1966-2005 (%) 1966-1986 (%) 1987-2005 (%)
ICT 12.6 8.0 18.4
TFP 4.7 4.6 4.9
GDP 9.7 9.4 10.2
Capital 10.0 11.0 8.8
Labour 3.0 2.6 3.4

Notes: Results based on equation 3. 

In Table 6, ICT contribution indicates the highest at 18.4% for the period 1987 to 2005 with an increase of 10% for the sub-period 1966 to 1986 to sub-period 1987 to 2005. TFP is highest in the period 1987 to 2005, at 4.9%. The period of 1987 to 2005 shows the highest contribution of TFP growth in tables 5 and 6 as this period is indicative of much changes in economic policies such as the decision in the development of the MSC, the privatisation of various government agencies, and the launching of Malaysia’s first satellite (MEASAT) to enhance the information and telecommunications technology. The impact of the ICT in TFP contribution is significant and is higher compared to capital and labour. The period of 1987 to 2005 where ICT contribution is highest is in sync with the development of the MSC whose flagship applications emphasize on the ICT. 

Table 7: TFP and Human Capital Productivity

Factor 1966-2005 (%) 1966-1986 (%) 1987-2005 (%)
ICT intensity 9.7 5.8 14.9
TFP 2.5 2.8 2.1
Output-Human capital intensity 6.7 6.8 6.6
Capital intensity 7.0 7.6 6.1
Labour intensity 2.9 2.6 3.4

Notes: Results based on equation 4. 

The decomposition of human capital productivity in Table 7 indicates that ICT intensity is the highest at 14.9 percent in the period 1987 to 2005, suggesting an increase of 9.1 percent from the period 1966 to 1986. TFP indicates a decrease of 0.7 percent from sub period 1966 to 1986 and 1987 to 2005. In the period of 1966 to 1986, TFP and Capital indicates higher per unit of labour contribution, while ICT and labour inputs indicate lower per unit of labour contribution as oppose to the period 1987 to 2005. This is indicative of the economic plans and policies, which emphasized knowledge as a basis in human capital.  Thus, this study suggests that the high ICT intensity in all the sub-periods compares to per unit of labour output for other inputs is due to the level of knowledge required in the human capital and spillover effect of the ICT.     

As for empirical evidence the findings of this study were compared with the findings of previous studies of other countries in table 8.


Table 8: Comparative Findings

Country ICT Intensity TFP Reference

(1966 to 2005)

9.7 2.5 Ramlan et. al (2007) (current study)

(1990 to 1999)

5.24 0.92 Lee and Khatri (2003)

(1976 to 2000)

15.31 1.17 O’Mahony and Vecchi (2003)
United Kingdom

(1976 to 2000)

20.55 1.29 O’Mahony and Vecchi (2003)
EU countries


1.00 3.91 Van Ark and Inklaar (2005)

Sources: Selected studies from the stated references 

This study finds that ICT intensity contributes 9.7% and TFP 2.5 %, while Lee and Khatri (2003) in their study of the impact of ICT and TFP on nine Asian countries based on growth accounting method that compares the results to the US. The Asian countries are China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. They conclude that the impact of ICT in Asia is mainly through capital deepening.  

Moreover, O’Mahony and Vecchi (2003) analyse the impact of ICT on TFP which is based on a heterogeneous dynamic panel approach. This study covers 31 US industries and 24 UK industries for the period 1976 to 2000. They conclude that there is a positive and significant long-run impact of ICT on TFP. 

Finally, Van Ark and Inklaar (2005) compare the US with selected EU countries to determine the extent to which ICT has affected the European economy. They conclude that there is no sign that Europe is catching up on the US in ICT use and related productivity.




V. Conclusion


Literature on Malaysia relating to ICT, are commonly descriptive in nature. This paper contributes to the existing literature from the statistical perspective, suggesting conclusive evidence on the impact of ICT in economic growth in Malaysia. This paper finds that the impact of ICT to Malaysian economy is the highest at an average of 13 percent for the period 1966 to 2005 against 4.7 percent for TFP, 9.7 percent for GDP, 9.6 percent for capital, and 3.0 percent for labour. The decomposition of human capital growth indicates that the contribution for ICT intensity at 14 percent is highest in the sub-period of 1987 to 2005, while TFP is 2.1 percent, output-human capital ratio is 6.6 percent, capital intensity is 6.1 percent, and labour productivity is 3.4 percent.  This suggests that Malaysia’s ICT commitments are significant to the development of human capital in Malaysia. However, the results for TFP suggest that Malaysia’s productivity is input driven and more need to be done in the development of human capital in order for Malaysia to achieve a sustainable economic growth. This paper concludes (1) investments in telecommunications equipment and infrastructure, are significant to Malaysia’s economic growth as a concomitant to the development of the ICT, (2) the ICT is a major contributor to the composition of human capital in Malaysia, (3) the policies and programmes to increase the rate of TFP have not been successful, (4) the economy is input driven with emphasis on physical capital, and (5) economic shocks and structural transformation is significant in determining the viability and reliability of economic policies. The caveat of this study creates room for further research, such as (1) the significance of the various policies and programmes implemented by the government to promote the ICT, and (2) the significance of the ICT in the farming and non-farming activities.




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    BEYDER-T�m hakları saklıdır



    The JKEM-All rights reserved

    Faculty of Business and Law, Multimedia University, 75450 Melaka, Malaysia

    (E-mails: ramlan_j@yahoo.com, elsadigmusa@yahoo.com , asadiq29@hotmail.com)

    1 Rafidah Aziz, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia, Inaugural Address, ‘44th Session of the APO governing Body Meeting’, Kuala Lumpur, 2002.

    2 Census of Information and Communication Technology Services 2002.

    3 Standard International Trade Classification.

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