Working Paper No. 527

ICT and Household-Firm Relations

Published: December 29, 1999Pages: 23Keywords: Information Technology; Household Production; Division of Labor; Market Powers; CompetitionJEL-codes: D13; D40; D8, L1

ICT and Household-Firm Relations Assar Lindbeck and Solveig Wikström


This paper discusses how ICT and emerging electronic commerce in consumer products influence the relative efficiency in production of households and firms, resulting in changes in the division of tasks between these two types of agents. Increased information and competence of households, in combination with stiffer competition among firms, will also increase the power of households relative to firms, at least in a long-term perspective with free entry of firms. Households will also get more powerful channels to influence firms directly, i.e. beside the indirect influence via market transactions. We point out that this will result in various counter-reactions by firms, including increased differentiation of products and prices. Finally, we briefly consider various limitations and obstacles to electronic commerce in a long-term perspective.

Assar Lindbeck

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