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ICT services and small businesses productivity gains: An analysis of the adoption of broadband internet technology

We analyse the impact of the adoption of broadband Internet technology on the productivity performance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). We distinguish access to the broadband infrastructure from the adoption of complementary services, i.e., different types of broadband software applications. The empirical analysis considers a sample of 799 firms observed from 1998 to 2004 that are representative of the population of Italian SMEs. Our econometric estimates indicate that the impact of the adoption by SMEs of basic broadband applications is negligible (or even negative). Conversely, SMEs are found to benefit from adopting selected advanced broadband applications depending on several contingent factors: (i) their industry of operations (services vs. manufacturing); (ii) the relevance of the specific broadband software applications for SMEs’ industry of operation; and (iii) the undertaking of complementary strategic and organisational changes.