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Information Technology Outlook 2002

ICTs and the Information Economy

image of Information Technology Outlook 2002

Information technology (IT) continues to be a major driver of economic change, restructuring businesses, affecting skills and employment, and contributing significantly to growth and wealth creation. This volume describes the main trends in industries and businesses supplying IT goods and services. It looks at the impact of IT diffusion and applications, as well as the growing importance of network effects as the use of IT expands. It describes recent market dynamics and gives a detailed overview of the globalisation of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. It also analyses the increasingly important software sector and examines the growth in electronic commerce as well as some of the barriers to its expansion.

This volume also looks at developments in the provision and use of ICT skills, mismatches between supply and demand and potential remedies. It traces the diffusion of ICTs and examines the digital divide among individuals, households and businesses, then highlights the potential of selected technological developments that will affect the commercial exploitation and socio-economic impacts of ICTs in the medium term.

Finally, it provides an overview of IT policies in OECD countries, particularly those aimed at expanding the supply and use of ICT skills and overcoming the digital divide.

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E-commerce Intensity

This chapter focuses on e-intensity indicators, in particular on the use of the Internet to purchase and sell, as well as on the nature and volume of electronic commerce transactions. In the aftermath of the "dot com" crash, many "virtual" start-ups that sold and/or purchased exclusively on line have disappeared. Overall, the growth of electronic commerce transactions has been less spectacular than some consultants had predicted. On the other hand, newly available official statistics show that, while still small, the volume of electronic transactions is growing and that the Internet is increasingly being used as a channel for transactions, especially purchases. The chapter begins by defining what is meant by electronic commerce transactions and by highlighting some of the relevant measurement issues. Available and comparable official statistics for measuring electronic transactions are still limited. This chapter uses the few high-quality indicators available to capture the nature and volume of electronic commerce transactions and identify common trends across countries, sectors and firm size. Finally, it exploits existing surveys to discuss some of the benefits of and barriers to electronic commerce transactions as perceived by businesses and individuals.

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