Sectoral e-Business Watch ("SeBW")


Project duration: 7/2007 - 9/2008
Funded by EC/DG Enterprise & Industry

  Sectoral e-Business Watch Reports with FCN lead (Report No.9/2008) or FCN input (Source: Sectoral e-Business Watch Reports with FCN lead (Report No.9/2008) or FCN input (Source:

The mission of the Sectoral e-Business Watch (SeBW) project is to support the work of the European Commission’s Directorate-General Enterprise and Industry (DG ENTR) in the field of ICT and e-business policies. In this policy area, DG ENTR itself has a twofold mission: “to enhance the competitiveness of the ICT sector, and to facilitate the efficient uptake of ICT for European enterprises in general”.

The services of the SeBW are expected to contribute to these goals. This overall mission can be broken down into the following main objectives: (1) to study and assess the impact of ICT on enterprises, industries and the economy in general; (2) to highlight barriers for ICT uptake, i.e. issues that are hindering a more effective use of ICT by enterprises in Europe; (3) to identify and discuss public policy challenges stemming from the observed developments, notably at the European level; and (4) to encourage dialogue with stakeholders from industry and policy institutions, providing a forum for debating relevant issues. By delivering evidence on ICT impact and barriers to uptake, the SeBW is to support informed policy decision-making in ICT-related fields in several policy domains including innovation, competition and structural policy. In this way the SeBW is to contribute to the widespread adoption and effective use of ICT across the European economy. These strategic objectives are to be realized by systematically monitoring and analyzing ICT adoption and e-business activity in European firms from different industries and their impact, as well as by assessing the implications of these developments for stakeholders. Stakeholders include enterprises, their employees, suppliers and customers – be it other businesses, consumers or the public sector –, and policy institutions with a responsibility for ICT and e-business-related issues.

The task of FCN in this project was essentially threefold: (1) to elaborate a report on the interdependencies between ICT and energy/electricity consumption (or intensity) at the aggregate sectoral level; (2) to provide input to the cross-sector study “An Economic Assessment of ICT Adoption and its Impact on Innovation and Performance”; and (3) to participate in the events organized by SeBW. The work on ICT and energy consumption has been the major focus of this part of the overall project. The role of ICT and e-business in shaping energy needs and energy consumer behavior has increased tremendously. Not only can the entity of ICT and e-business help to reduce energy consumption and thus costs by reorganizing production processes, but it can also lead to additional demand for energy due to new products and services provided and the energy consumption of the ICT capital stock itself. Hence, the overall impact of ICT on energy consumption is ambiguous and depends on the relative magnitude of two counteracting forces: (1) an income effect caused by the economic boost from increased ICT use (increase in energy consumption) and (2) a substitution effect caused by changes in the industrial structure and the capital stock towards higher productivity (decrease in energy consumption). Furthermore, there might also be some substitution of ICT and energy for labor and other input factors, so that it seems useful to look at the elasticities of substitution.

Project publications

Bernstein R., Madlener R. (2008). The Impact of Disaggregated ICT Capital on Electricity Intensity of Production: Econometric Analysis of Major European Industries, FCN Working Paper No. 4/2008, Institute for Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior, RWTH Aachen University, September.

Erber G., Madlener R. (2008). Impact of ICT and Human Skills on the European Financial Intermediation Sector, FCN Working Paper No. 5/2008, Institute for Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior, RWTH Aachen University, September (also published as EU KLEMS Working Paper No. 42, November 2008).

Erber G., Madlener R. (2009). Produktivität im Finanzsektor: Köpfe sind wichtiger als Computer, DIW Wochenbericht Nr. 8/2009 (18 February 2009), 76. Jg., S. 126-132.

Madlener R., Bernstein R. (2008). The Implications of ICT for Energy Consumption, Impact Study No. 9/2007, Sectoral e-Business Watch, September.



Reinhard Madlener

Institutsleiter FCN


+49 241 80-49820