E-Commerce and Local Labor Market

작성자 관리자   |   2024-05-23 11:48:06

E-Commerce and Local Labor Market

주하연(서강대학교 경제대학)

1. Introduction

The rapid growth of e-commerce has dramatically changed the modern retail sector over the last few decades. The recent evolution of physical retail markets, driven by the shift in consumers’ shopping behaviors toward online shopping, has caused an increasing number of traditional brick-and-mortar stores to shut down. Particularly, a series of bankruptcies among major retail chains in the US (e.g., Sears in 2018 and ToysRus in 2017) has raised concerns in the media about jobs being lost in the so-called “Retail Apocalypse” (Economist 2017, New York Times 2017). The extinction of physical retail stores, as some extreme views predict, may have a disruptive influence on local markets with a high retail job concentration by eliminating local jobs and shrinking local tax bases.

However, our understanding of the ongoing restructuring process in the retail industry and its effect on local labor markets is still limited. For example, along with the substantial job losses resulting from the destruction of brick-and-mortar stores, as reported in the major news media, some local businesses, on which the time and money saved via online shopping are now spent, can also fuel job creation. Despite the importance of the impact this process could have on local labor markets, academic efforts to quantify the effects of e-commerce have thus far remained scarce (Hortaçsu and Syverson 2015).

2. E-Commerce and Local Labor Markets

E-commerce sales have grown rapidly worldwide. As of 2015, the online shares in the UK, China, the US, and Japan were 12.5%, 10.8%, 7.18%, and 4.75%, respectively.3) The online share in Korea reached 11.7% in 2015, considerably higher than that in most countries. Fast Internet connections and relatively low shipping costs, thanks to the country’s relatively small country size, explain the fast diffusion of e-commerce in Korea.

3. Summary Statistics

To measure annual online shares by county, we use the credit card transaction data provided by Shinhan Card Co. (hereafter, “the Company”). And, we use two employment measures in our analysis: the number of workers and that of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs. To determine local retail employment, we mainly exploit the Census on Establishments (CE) obtained from Statistics Korea.
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