Beyond the dot.coms: the economic promise of the Internet by Robert E. Litan

By Robert E. Litan

During this quantity, revered economists articulate the expected monetary influence of the net among 2001 and 2006. Drawing on study carried out through the Brookings and BRIE activity forces, the authors tackle the internet's capability affects on productiveness, costs and industry constitution.

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2 In the financial services arena, Eric Clemons and Loren Hitt, also from the Wharton School, argue that most of the savings from automating internal or back-office transactions already may have been realized in the pre-Internet era. Nonetheless, the net should enable financial institutions to lower their processing costs further, allowing customers to enjoy reduced waiting and travel time as well as mailing costs. The economy as a whole could also realize substantial savings if online banking were to replace face-to-face transactions with      bank tellers as well as the whole system of payment by check.

The Internet is likely to yield some cost reductions that show up as productivity gains in industries or sectors other than those in which the savings may be initially generated. But can these projected productivity gains be quantified at least roughly? How significant are they likely to be? Table 3-1 tabulates the projected cost savings that the authors of each of the sector studies have estimated. All estimates refer to the potential annual cost reductions that the sector experts believe to be achievable within the next five years.

For example, the savings estimates for the manufacturing sector are based on the assumption that firms within the sector, on average, are less successful than industry leader Cisco has been in using the Internet to cut production costs. Even so, the range for savings estimates reported in the table reflects considerable conservatism about other firms’ relative success; the upper-bound figure, for example, assumes that the average firm is able to reduce its costs by just 2 percent, well below the 5 percent cost reduction estimated by Cisco.

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