Assessing the Gains from E-Commerce

37 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2019 Last revised: 10 Apr 2019

See all articles by Paul Dolfen

Paul Dolfen

Stanford University

Liran Einav

Stanford University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Peter J. Klenow

Stanford University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Benjamin Klopack

Stanford University

Jonathan Levin

Stanford University - Department of Economics; Stanford Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Laurence Levin

VISA Decision Sciences

Wayne Best

VISA, Inc.

Date Written: February 2019

Abstract

E-Commerce represents a rapidly growing share of consumer spending in the U.S. We use transactions-level data on credit and debit cards from Visa, Inc. between 2007 and 2017 to quantify the resulting consumer surplus. We estimate that E-Commerce spending reached 8% of consumption by 2017, yielding consumers the equivalent of a 1% permanent boost to their consumption, or over $1,000 per household. While some of the gains arose from saving travel costs of buying from local merchants, most of the gains stemmed from substituting to online merchants. Higher income cardholders gained more, as did consumers in more densely populated counties.

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Suggested Citation

Dolfen, Paul and Einav, Liran and Klenow, Peter J. and Klopack, Benjamin and Levin, Jonathan D. and Levin, Laurence and Best, Wayne, Assessing the Gains from E-Commerce (February 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25610. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3346257

Paul Dolfen (Contact Author)

Stanford University

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Liran Einav

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
650-723-3704 (Phone)
928-223-4973 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Peter J. Klenow

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Benjamin Klopack

Stanford University

Jonathan D. Levin

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Laurence Levin

VISA Decision Sciences ( email )

901 Metro Center Boulevard
Mail Stop: M3-2B
Foster City, CA 94404-277
United States

Wayne Best

VISA, Inc. ( email )

900 Metro Center Blvd
Foster City, CA 94404
United States

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