The Growth of Enterprise Intangible Investment

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 09/99

Date: March 1999


Elizabeth Webster


Firms can invest in two types of capital good: tangible commodities such as plant and equipment and intangible commodities such as training and staff development, innovation, marketing, management expertise and workplace relations. Compared with the former, the analysis and measurement of the latter has been relatively neglected. This paper is an attempt to measure the relative growth in aggregate intangible capital and investment since the 1950s. One of the measures calculated suggests that intangible enterprise capital as a ratio of all enterprise capital has grown at an average annual rate of 1.3 per cent over the 50 years to 1998.

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