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Title: E-Commerce
Authors: VANCAUTEREN, Mark 
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: United Nations
Source: Bull, Peter (Ed.). The Impact of Globalization on National Accounts, p. 249-264
Series/Report: ECE/CES
Series/Report no.: 14
Abstract: International e-commerce, which involves cross-border transactions over the internet, shows every sign of continuing to expand rapidly. The potential savings of transaction costs from e-commerce are substantial. The most important cost-saving aspect of e-commerce is the reduction in travel, administration, communication and search costs. One consequence of such cost advantages is that many small cross-border transactions have now become economic. In addition, e-commerce has also made possible new kinds of trade in services. While the growth of cross-border e-commerce is widely acknowledged, it imposes measurement challenges for international trade statistics. This chapter begins with definitional and conceptual issues related to e-commerce, which falls into two transactional categories: products ordered and delivered via electronic means, and products ordered electronically but delivered physically. Various definitions of e-commerce exist. For instance, “electronic means” is a broad term that includes both the internet and a range of other computer-based networks. The statistical challenge of measuring e-commerce and how it may affect national accounts is the main topic of this chapter. The globalization aspect of e-commerce accounts for part of the measurement challenge. Before discussing the implications for different areas of national accounts and related statistics (international trade, consumer prices, transportation margins, etc.), the chapter considers what economic benefits lead firms and consumers to engage in e-commerce, and its economic effects. Annex 13.1 to this chapter describes initiatives on e-commerce by Statistics Netherlands. This country experience offers further insights into the practical difficulties presented by e-commerce to compilers of national accounts.
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Category: B3
Type: Book Section
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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