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E-commerce trends and impacts across Europe


  • Marin Falk
  • Eva Hagsten


This study investigates the patterns and trends of e-commerce activities as well as their impact on labour productivity growth in a group of European countries. At hand for the exercise is a unique panel of micro-aggregated firm-level data for 14 European countries spanning over the years 2002 to 2010. The empirical approach is twofold: A static specification and a dynamic panel data model. The former is a difference specification estimated by OLS and the latter uses system GMM to account for endogeneity of e-commerce activities. For the impact analysis e-commerce is narrowed down to e-sales, measured as the percentage of firms receiving orders online (EDI or websites) or as the share of total sales in firms. Descriptive statistics reveal that the proportion of firms engaging in e-sales activities is slowly growing over time starting from a low level. The OLS estimates, controlling for industry, time and country effects, show that the change in e-sales activities and labour productivity growth are significantly positively related. Specifically, an increase in e-sales raises the rate of labour productivity by 0.3 percentage points over a two-year period for the total sample. Services industries experience a larger impact than manufacturing. In addition, dynamic panel data estimates demonstrate that smaller firms gain the most from increases in e-sales. Overall, for the total business sector, these estimates reveal that the increase in e-sales activities during the period studied accounts for 17 per cent of the total growth in labour productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Marin Falk & Eva Hagsten, 2015. "E-commerce trends and impacts across Europe," UNCTAD Discussion Papers 220, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:unc:dispap:220

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Peneder & Julia Bock-Schappelwein & Matthias Firgo & Oliver Fritz & Gerhard Streicher, 2017. "Ökonomische Effekte der Digitalisierung in Österreich," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 90(3), pages 177-192, March.
    2. Lee Yub, 2018. "Ecommerce and Firm Performance: Evidence from Korea," Working Papers id:12428, eSocialSciences.
    3. Tamara Bińczak & Filip Kaczmarek & Jakub Rybacki, 2018. "Determinants of E-Commerce Turnover in Europe: Consumer Protection Matters," Gospodarka Narodowa. The Polish Journal of Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 3, pages 125-141.
    4. Grzegorz Szymanski & Robert Stanislawski, 2018. "Research Online - Purchase Offline - A Phenomenon Among The Young Generation In The E-Commerce Sector," Economy & Business Journal, International Scientific Publications, Bulgaria, vol. 12(1), pages 185-192.
    5. Cathles, Alison & Nayyar, Gaurav & Rückert, Désirée, 2020. "Digital technologies and firm performance: Evidence from Europe," EIB Working Papers 2020/06, European Investment Bank (EIB).
    6. Michael Peneder & Julia Bock-Schappelwein & Matthias Firgo & Oliver Fritz & Gerhard Streicher, 2016. "Österreich im Wandel der Digitalisierung," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 58979, December.
    7. Ouaida, Fadila & El Hajjar, Samer, 2018. "Assessing e-commerce productivity for French micro firms using propensity score matching," Economics Discussion Papers 2018-66, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    8. Eric Bartelsman & Eva Hagsten & Michael Polder, 2018. "Micro Moments Database for cross‐country analysis of ICT, innovation, and economic outcomes," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 626-648, September.
    9. Valarezo, Ángel & Pérez-Amaral, Teodosio & Garín-Muñoz, Teresa & Herguera García, Iñigo & López, Rafael, 2018. "Drivers and barriers to cross-border e-commerce: Evidence from Spanish individual behavior," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 464-473.
    10. Xu, Xun & Munson, Charles L. & Zeng, Shuo, 2017. "The impact of e-service offerings on the demand of online customers," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 231-244.
    11. Michael Böheim & Elisabeth Christen & Matthias Firgo & Klaus S. Friesenbichler & Philipp Piribauer, 2018. "Auswirkungen der Digitalisierung auf die Entwicklung von Wirtschaftsräumen," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 91(12), pages 881-890, December.

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