Ecommerce and Firm Performance: Evidence from Korea LEE Kyu Yub / Working Paper 17-06
Official estimates peg global business-to-business ecommerce at 15 trillion dollars and global business-to-consumer ecommerce at 1.2 trillion dollars in 2013 (UNCTAD 2015). When we turn to official estimates for Korea, it is easy to find that Korea's business-to-consumer ecommerce market is growing at more than twenty percent per year and has emerged as the third largest global ecommerce market in Asia. It is not very much surprising to know the numbers for Korea since Korea is one of the world's most advanced countries in terms of information and communication technology. However, it is somewhat surprising that we know little about how ecommerce firms or establishments are distributed in the economy of Korea. In addition, we know little about how ecommerce establishments perform relative to their counterparts of a similar age and size in the same industry.
The paper aims to characterize and test performance differences between ecommerce and non-ecommerce firms or establishments. Although the number of ecommerce establishments makes up a small fraction of the economy, ecommerce establishments have a heavier weight in sales, em-ployment, and wage. Due to endogeneity of ecommerce variable, the paper reconstructs the 2010 Korea Census dataset by using Propensity Matching Score and shows that in manufacture ecommerce establishments have, on average, larger sales-per-worker and pay higher wage whereas in services ecommerce ones have higher sales-per-worker but pay no larger wage than their counterparts of a similar age and size in the same industry. It also adds quantile estimates showing that sales-per-worker differences between ecommerce and non-ecommerce establishments in manufacture are positive and statistically significant only at lower quantiles of the distribution. In services, sales-per-worker differences between them are positive and significant at most of distribution but turns to be negative, though not significant, at above upper quantile of the distribution.
Investment Climate in the EAEU and Korea's Entry Strategy LEE Jae-Young, LEE Cheol-Won and MIN Jiyoung / World Economy Brief 18-01
This study proposes to lay the foundation for economic cooperation and expand industrial cooperation. The following four measures are the keys to create an institutional base for economic cooperation.
First, it will be critical to conclude a Korea-EAEU FTA. Such an FTA would provide a new concept for strategic cooperation in the so-called "Eurasian value-chain system," as well as in the new Eurasian growth space. It will be a window of opportunity for the Eurasian region to establish significant links with Korea, and to bring the APEC region closer to Russia.
Second, utilizing the Korea-Russia investment platform when entering the EAEU market is an important element. The Korea-Russia investment platform created in 2013 has not been utilized at all up to now. Through discussion with Russia, it will be necessary to adjust the investment destinations, industries, methods, and scope of cooperation to employ the platform. In this way, the platform can be expanded and become more useful and effective.
Third, designing investment package support programs for SMEs is another significant measure. Overseas investment by SMEs will be important in building a foundation for cooperation with the EAEU when considering the economic complementarity of the two sides. Such collaboration is possible due to the EAEU's demand for modernization in its manufacturing sector. Job creation and competitiveness improvement could be realized through the sophistication and internationalization of Korean SMEs.
Fourth, it will be necessary to establish a "graduate school for Eurasian policy." When the agenda of strengthening cooperation with Russia and the northern countries is incorporated into Korea's mid- and long-term international strategy, it will become an urgent task to build a human resources nurturing system. Thus the founding of such a graduate school should be seriously considered. Given Russia's growing political and economic presence in the international community, it is necessary to train elite talent to deal with issues regarding the EAEU.
In order to lay the institutional foundation, a close cooperation between the two sides is significant, perhaps by reorganizing or newly launching channels under the governments. Also necessary will be an organization that is mainly dedicated to Eurasian issues. Most importantly, embarking on negotiations for a Korea-EAEU FTA should come first to promote investment between Korea and the EAEU. Members of the EAEU think that the Korea–EAEU FTA has to extend beyond the scope of conventional FTAs. Bilateral industrial cooperation stimulated by Korea's investment must be included and enhanced. To enable Korea-EAEU FTA negotiations to commence, an "investment promotion committee" should be formed and the needs of EAEU member states must be discussed. At the same time, it will be necessary to establish a "northern cooperation fund" which supports SMEs to enter the EAEU market under the Ministry of Strategy and Finance. The positive effects that a Korea-EAEU FTA would have on investment should be communicated through a number of regular investment forums. Constructing industrial zones and discovering the investment promising sectors in the EAEU will have to take place as well. In particular, industrial complexes jointly planned by the two sides will help Korean enterprises to enter the EAEU market. For this, additional studies on the conditions of possible industrial zones and specialized industries should be carried out. Investment promising sectors have to be detected through an analysis of industrial competitiveness, policies and investment climate.