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  • Author: Reinhilde De Veugelers
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Using new evidence on the digitalisation activities of firms in the European Union and the United States, we document a trend towards digital polarisation based on firms’ use of the latest digital technologies and their plans for future investment in digitalisation. A substantial share of firms are not implementing any state-of-the-art digital technologies and do not have plans to invest in digitalisation. However, there is also a substantial share of firms that are already partially or even fully implementing state-of-the-art digital technologies in their businesses and that plan to further increase their digitalisation investments. Small Manufacturing firms and old small firms in services are significantly more likely to be and remain non-active in terms of digitalisation. Our results do not provide any evidence that EU firms are more likely than their US counterparts to be stuck on the wrong side of the digitalisation divide. Taking into account firm size and firm age, there are no significant differences between the EU and the US in terms of having more or fewer persistently non-digital firms. As persistently digitally-inactive firms are also less likely to be innovative, to add employees or to command higher mark-ups, it is important for policymaking to remove barriers that trap these firms in persistent digital inactivity. Lack of access to finance is a major barrier for EU firms compared to their US counterparts, particularly for the EU’s persistently non-digital firms, and especially for older, smaller companies in services. Improving their access to finance might therefore go a long way towards addressing the corporate digitalisation divide in the EU.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Innovation, Strategic Competition, Digital Revolution
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Maria Demertzis, André Sapir, Guntram Wolff
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The United States is the European Union’s most important trade and bilateral investment partner, which has, until now, supported a multilateral trade system and European integration and has provided a security guarantee to the countries of the EU. But like other advanced economies, the US’s relative weight in the global economy has declined. The new US administration seems intent on replacing multilateralism with bilateral deals. In trade, it aims to secure new trade deals in order to reduce bilateral trade deficits and to protect, in particular, the US manufacturing sector. In climate policy, the US commitment to the Paris Agreement is being questioned. In defence, the security umbrella appears less certain than previously. The overall promise behind this change of direction is to put ‘America first’ and deliver better results for US citizens.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Multilateral Relatons, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America