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Stanford Digital Economy Lab (S-DEL) Research Seminar

Nov 30, 2020 12:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Liran Einav
Professor of Economics @Stanford University
Abstract E-commerce represents a rapidly growing share of consumer spending in the U.S. We use transaction-level data on credit and debit cards from Visa, Inc. between 2007 and 2017 to quantify the resulting consumer surplus. We estimate that e-commerce spending reached 8% of consumption by 2017, yielding consumers the equivalent of a 1% permanent boost to their consumption, or over $1,000 per household per year. While some of the gains arose from avoiding travel costs of buying from local merchants, most of the gains stemmed from substituting to merchants available online but not locally. Higher income cardholders gained more, as did consumers in more densely populated counties.