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Abstract

The paper provides baseline conditions of U.S. e-commerce in the post-dot.com era. The article examines the key factors that act as determinants of e-commerce diffusion. It is based on qualitative analysis of U.S. industry survey data, matched to a similar data and analyses from other countries. It presents data taken from one of the most comprehensive sample surveys of U.S. firm activity in e-commerce. The paper analyzes differences among three industry sectors, and between small/medium and large firms using both qualitative interpretations and direct observations from the survey data, as well as use of structural equation modeling of e-commerce diffusion and impacts. Some differences in e-commerce orientation and experience were found across the three industry sectors studied in the survey. These differences are related largely to the nature of the tasks done in the respective industries, and to prior industry-level investment and learning related to e-commerce. There were also differences found in e-commerce attitudes and experience between small/medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and large establishments. Only modest differences were found between U.S. and non-U.S. establishments. Quantitative analysis revealed significant regression relationships with their level of statistical significance. Results show that e-commerce adoption is path dependent (i.e., establishments follow earlier investment patterns), and that each industry's market and institutional context play a significant role in adoption.

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