The Internet as a General-Purpose Technology: Firm-Level Evidence from Around the World
9 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2015
Date Written: February 22, 2015
This paper uses firm-level data to assess whether telecommunication services are general-purpose technologies (technologies that benefit a large segment of the economy and have long-lasting effect). It finds that only Internet services are so: firm growth and productivity are much higher when Internet access is greater and when firms use the Internet more intensively; and Internet access benefits firms in high- and low-tech industries, firms of all sizes, and exporter and non-exporter firms. Small firms appear to benefit more from the Internet than large firms do. In contrast, fixed-line and cellular services are not robustly linked to firm performance.
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