Friday, 14 March 2008, Berlin
DIW Berlin, Mohrenstraße 58, 10117 Berlin
The adoption of information and communication technologies (ICT) by businesses can be spurred by different drivers and have consequences for innovation dynamics, productivity and growth, the development of market structures, firm performance, and the composition of the demand for labour.
However, drivers and impacts differ between sectors. The central study of the Sectoral e-Business Watch in 2007/08 focuses on these issues. It explores, by means of econometric models, what drives ICT adoption in different industries, and –vice versa– the impact of ICT at the firm and sector level. Some assumptions are tested, for instance regarding the impact on total factor productivity, on employment dynamics, on the role of ICT for innovation, and on how market structure and value chain characteristics of sectors influence ICT adoption patterns.
At this workshop, which was jointly organised by DIW Berlin and empirica as part of the Sectoral e-Business Watch programme, preliminary findings of this economic study were presented and discussed with a view to possible implications for industrial policy.
The event gathered about 35 researchers (notably from the fields of economics and innovation research), industry representatives (both from ICT producing and user industries), consultants and policy makers. The feed-back obtained from discussants and participants helped the SeBW study team to validate study findings.
The workshop was opened by Christian Wey, Head of Department Information Society and Competition, DIW Berlin. The first speaker, Hasan Alkas, e-Business Watch programme manager at the European Commission, DG Enterprise and Industry, gave an overview of the SeBW programme, emphasising its importance as a tool for formulating both overall and sectoral industrial policy at EU level. He also underlined the importance of the ICT sector for the European economy, both as a production sector in its own right, and as an element in the overall business chain.
The first session, which was chaired by Claudia Keser, DIW Berlin, focused on "ICT, productivity and the skills base". Georg Erber, DIW Berlin, presented selected results of a macro-economic analysis of the ICT impact on total factor productivity, and the complementary role of skills in the industry. This analysis was mostly based on the EU KLEMS Growth Accounts database. Study results were then discussed by Kaushalesh Lal, United Nations University UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University, and Graham Vickery, Head of the Information Economy Group, OECD.
The second session, which was chaired by Hannes Selhofer, empirica, focused on the role of ICT for innovation, implications of market structure and value chain characteristics. Daniel Nepelski from DIW Berlin presented a comparative assessment for different sectors based on firm-level data from the e-Business Watch Survey of 2007, using statistical instruments such as discrete choice models, linear models and descriptive statistics. These study results were then discussed by Tony Clayton, Director of Economic Analysis at the UK Office for National Statistics, and by Axel Pols, Head of Department Market Research and International Trade at BITKOM (German Association for IT, Telecommunications and New Media).