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Information Society and Media Directorate-General

Studies 2008

Using State-of-the-Art Models and Tools for the Assessment of ICT Impacts and Growth and Competitiveness in a Low-Carbon Economy

Study "Using State-of-the-Art Models and Tools for the Assessment of ICT Impacts and Growth and Competitiveness in a Low-Carbon Economy"

Summary of the Results

The objective of this study was to use the most suitable macroeconomic model(s) to assess the impact of ICT and ICT policy interventions on economic performance, building on the results of a previous evaluative study of models and tools. Policy simulations were carried out to explore the main implications of policy initiatives, bringing more insights into the role of ICT in the economy, examine the main factors influencing uptake and diffusion of ICT and the mechanisms of ICT's contribution to the achievement of the targets of the sutainable development strategy.

The research team found that, if states are concerned about future carbon emissions, then ICT's must be promoted in conjunction with renewable energy production systems such as smart grids. However while ICT's can have a very positive impact on carbon emissions, they are most effectively used in conjunction with a change in the price of carbon related emissions. If ICT's are promoted correctly and a global price for carbon is established then this report finds that global atmospheric parts per million can be capped at a level that may avoid the most catastrophic potential effects from climate change. This is however, far from guaranteed and policy makers must actively promote ICT's for renewable energy production as well as global agreements for an increas in the overall price for carbon.

Policy Recommendations:

  1. Combining carbon taxes with Network Solution (ICT diffusion) gives the best result for reducing carbon emissions; in particular the Networked Solution Policy itself has a similar effect on carbon emission to a 100$ carbon tax.
  2. Promote renewable energy-related ICT to maximise the technology's carbon-reducing effect.
  3. Reductions in energy efficiency brought about by ICT penetration, although important, are heavily off-set by the rebound effect.
  4. More than subsidising the ICT industry policies should improve the general business environment to maximise the diffusion of broadband and ICT investment.
  5. Avoid reductions in human capital investment, though they may be tempting in a period of recession, as these can be even more detrimental to ICT diffusion than directly cutting ICT related fund.
  6. Harmonise regulation across countries as this brings more benefits for economic growth than does simple deregulation.
  7. Avoid delays in implementing policy reforms because the costs of passivity accumulate quickly.

Expected Exploitation of the Results

The results of this study were used for analysis and assessments of information society policies at various levels, in particular:

  • to contribute to the conception of Digital Agenda for Europe initiative through providing a quantitative tool capable of assessing impacts of various high-level policy options,
  • to equip DG Information Society with suitable macro-model capable of analysing impact of EU policies in different domains,
  • to improve the understanding of macro-economic, social and environmental impacts of EU policies in global context.


  • Interim report pdf - 3 MB [3 MB] , annexes zip - 14 MB [14 MB]
  •  Final Report pdf - 6 MB [6 MB]


Background documents

  • Tender specifications pdf - 331 KB [331 KB] , annexes msw8 - 72 KB [72 KB]


  • Previous study

Additional Information/documentation

European Commission - Directorate General Information Society and Media
Policy Coordination and Strategy
Evaluation and Monitoring
Fax no.: +32 2 296 66 13
email: infso-c3 in the domain ec.europa.eu

Last update: 29/10/2015 | Top