IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Business-to-Business Electronic Commerce


  • David Lucking-Reiley

    () (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

  • Daniel F. Spulber

    () (Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University)


This paper, prepared for the Journal of Economic Perspectives, provides an overview of the economic issues arising in business-to-business (B2B) online commerce. Just as the industrial revolution mechanized firms' manufacturing functions, the information revolution is now mechanizing firms' marketing functions. Industry insiders have forecast tremendous growth in B2B e-commerce, most predicting transaction volumes in the trillions of dollars by 2005. We begin by defining the scope of B2B e commerce, and describing its possible benefits. Next, we consider the intermediation services and transaction mechanisms offered by B2B companies, drawing on models of market microstructure and of auctions. We provide an overview of the new entrants, examining the markets they propose to serve and the types of services that they propose to provide. We include a table of 49 examples of newly established B2B Web sites. Next, we comment on the possible effects of B2B e-commerce on economic productivity. We then examine competition between B2B companies and the industry structure we might expect this competition to generate. Finally, we explore the potential effects of B2B e-commerce on the organizational structure of the companies that are the purchasers and suppliers in the B2B markets.

Suggested Citation

  • David Lucking-Reiley & Daniel F. Spulber, 2000. "Business-to-Business Electronic Commerce," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0016, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0016

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2000
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daniel F. Spulber, 1996. "Market Microstructure and Intermediation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 135-152, Summer.
    2. Robert J. Gordon, 2000. "Does the "New Economy" Measure Up to the Great Inventions of the Past?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 49-74, Fall.
    3. Lucking-Reiley, David, 2000. "Auctions on the Internet: What's Being Auctioned, and How?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 227-252, September.
    4. David, Paul A, 1990. "The Dynamo and the Computer: An Historical Perspective on the Modern Productivity Paradox," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 355-361, May.
    5. Dennis W. Carlton, 1984. "Futures markets: Their purpose, their history, their growth, their successes and failures," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 4(3), pages 237-271, September.
    6. Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon & Spulber, Daniel F, 2000. "The Fable of Fisher Body," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 67-104, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0016. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (John P. Conley) or (Marina Grazioli). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.