Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

S. Darrell Mundy

Committee Members

Larry Morgan, Billy J. Trevena


In this study an attempt was made to determine and compare the human and physical characteristics and costs associated with selected alternative economic and social data information systems for the state of Tennessee. The objectives were: to determine and compare the input requirements and output characteristics of selected information systems; to determine and compare the cost-effectiveness of the systems at selected output levels; and to determine and compare other advantages and disad-vantages of the various systems. The effects on costs of different computer hardware capabilities and speeds, and costs of leasing were compared with costs of purchas-ing the computer equipment. The procedure involved cost-effectiveness analysis using economic engineering data. Six alternative data information systems were chosen as being representative of the systems presently in use at information centers. The alternatives varied in computer capability and speed. The human and physical facilities, other than computer hardware, were held constant among alternatives. Working time was varied in three shifts. Costs were divided into three categories: equipment, labor, and building. The economic stages of each category were delineated and then summed to find the total cost for each alternative. Thirty-three managerial, professional, and cleri-cal personnel were needed to fulfill the data information systems functions in one shift. Additional shifts in-creased the personnel to 39 for two shifts and 45 for three shifts. This increase reflected the addition of six operators to run the computer each shift. Annual wage and fringe benefit costs were $438,154.08, $495,549.60, and $552,945.12, respectively for one shift, two shifts, and three shifts. Building costs included construction and mainte-nance of an 11,675 gross square foot building. Building costs included land costs. Total construction cost was $632,025. Annual cost to the user of the building was $111,893.20. Building and land costs were held con-stant across alternatives. Equipment costs consisted of costs for office equipment, office supplies, keypunch equipment, computer hardware, and computer software. Computer hardware storage capabilities varied from 147K bytes to 524K bytes. Two different computer processors were included with difference being speed capability. Equipment costs ranged from an annual lease cost of $243,061.68 to $390,712.50. Annual purchase costs for equipment, prorated over 60 months, ranged from $214,396.08 to $338,552.76. The number of average jobs the six alternative data information centers could produce in a month ranged from 2,400 to 42,293 jobs. The monthly cost per job in the lease option ranged from $2.08 per job to $27.54 per job. Monthly costs per job in the purchase option ranged from $1.98 to $26.54. Annual total costs for the data information center ranged from $793,108.92 to $1,055,551.08 under the lease option. Annual total costs for the data information center under the purchase option ranged from $764,443.32 to $1,003,391.04.

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