This paper analyses the relevance of information and communication technologies (ICT) for firms' probability of global sourcing of inputs. Using firm-level data from Germany in 2009, which include mainly small and medium-sized firms, the empirical analysis differentiates between manufacturing and service firms. The results show some differences between the manufacturing and service sector. Controlling for various sources of firm heterogeneity, the global sourcing probability is increasing in the firms' share of employees with Internet access in the manufacturing sector. E-commerce-intensive firms are more likely to source inputs from abroad but generally, this relationship between e-commerce and global sourcing is only robust in services and much stronger there than in manufacturing. In both sectors, it is strongest in industries with higher upstream industry diversity. Moreover, labour productivity is positively linked to global sourcing. The findings support arguments for the importance of the Internet for global trade and they confirm the productivity advantage of importing in comparison to non-importing firms that is stated in the literature.
Rasel, Fabienne (2015), ICT and Global Sourcing - Evidence for German Manufacturing and Service Firms, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 15-086, Mannheim. Download