- JRC nr: JRC92173
- Publication date
- 3 February 2015
This paper examines the impact of one transmission channel for the economic effects of a shift from offline to online consumption: cross-border trade costs. We use data on cross-border e-commerce between EU Member States to estimate the implied cross-border trade cost reduction when consumers move from offline to online consumption. We plug this trade cost estimate into a macro-sector multi-country CGE model to estimate the impact of online retailing on consumers as well as producers. We find that cross-border e-commerce increases real household consumption. However, the domestic spill-over effect squeezes price margins in the retail sector and has a negative output effect for that sector. The resulting retail sector efficiency gains have a positive effect on production in other sectors. The combined macro-economic effect of these transmission channels is generally positive for EU Member States, ranging between 0.07 and 0.25 per cent of GDP. As such, this paper adds an innovative macro-perspective to existing micro-economic estimates of the impact of e-commerce on consumer welfare. The paper does not consider several other transmission channels such as price and variety effects.
Joseph Francois, Bertin Martens, Fan Yang