The Internet as a General-Purpose Technology: Firm-Level Evidence from Around the World

9 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2015

See all articles by George R. G. Clarke

George R. G. Clarke

Texas A&M International University - A.R. Sanchez Jr., School of Business

Christine Zhen-Wei Qiang

World Bank - Information and Communications Technologies Department (ICT)

Lixin Colin Xu

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: February 22, 2015

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Clarke, George and Qiang, Christine Zhen-Wei and Xu, Lixin Colin, The Internet as a General-Purpose Technology: Firm-Level Evidence from Around the World (February 22, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2568472 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2568472

George Clarke

Texas A&M International University - A.R. Sanchez Jr., School of Business ( email )

5201 University Blvd.
Laredo, TX 78041-1900
United States

Christine Zhen-Wei Qiang

World Bank - Information and Communications Technologies Department (ICT) ( email )

Strategy Unit
2121 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20433
202-473-8259 (Phone)
202-473-1155 (Fax)

Lixin Colin Xu (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
MC 3-427
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-473-4664 (Phone)
202-522-1155 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/cxu

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