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How the U.S. Census Bureau e-commerce figures overestimate output and online sales

Roger Betancourt ()

Economics Letters, 2018, vol. 172, issue C, 157-159

Abstract: I identify biases in the definition of e-commerce employed by the Census Bureau. They arise from using a concept based on the role of ICT in a transaction that is measured empirically on the basis of sales/revenues. I quantify this bias as a measure of output growth in the retail sector for the most important e-commerce retail sector at the NAICS 4-digit level (4541). In addition, a range of estimates for the bias as a measure of the growth of actual online sales in this sector is derived. Potential solutions are provided in a concluding section.

Keywords: E-commerce definition; Bias as output measure; Bias as online sales measure; Purchase process; Omni behavior; Channel customer/user distinction (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L81 L8 M3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2018.09.004

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:172:y:2018:i:c:p:157-159