Can E-commerce Mitigate the Negative Impact of COVID-19 on International Trade?

Discussion Papers


by Kazunobu Hayakawa, Hiroshi Mukunoki, and Shujiro Urata

February 2021


This study aims to empirically investigate the role of E-commerce (EC) on the trade impacts of COVID-19. To this end, we estimate gravity equations for bilateral trade among 34 reporting countries and their 145 partner countries during January–August in 2019 and 2020. Our major findings can be summarized as follows. A larger number of confirmed cases or deaths in both importing and exporting countries significantly decreases international trade. However, we found that EC development in importing countries contributes to mitigating this negative effect of COVID-19 on trade while that in exporting countries does not. These results are robust for our use of multiple measures of EC development.

Keywords: COVID-19, E-commerce, Trade

JEL classification:F15, F53

Please note that discussion papers are works in various stages of progress and most have not been edited and proofread and may contain errors of fact or judgment. Revised versions of these papers may subsequently appear in more formal publication series. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s). The IDE does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included and accepts no responsibility for any consequences arising from its use.