The Impact of Digital Transformation on the Western Balkans: Tackling the Challenges Towards Political Stability and Economic Prosperity (WB-DIGI)

Commissioned by: Deutsche Telekom, Telenor Norway, Telenor Serbia, Telenor Montenegro, Telekom Austria, SAP, Ernst&Young
Project duration: October 2, 2017–February 9, 2018
Project manager: Maruška Vizek
Collaborators: Tajana Barbić, Tanja Broz, Goran Buturac, Branka Domić, Ivana Kovačević, Davor Mikulić, Vedran Recher, Marina Tkalec, Iva Tomić, Maruška Vizek
The main objectives of the study are to raise attention for digital transformation in the Western Balkans and to create leverage for discussions on a political level with all relevant stakeholders in the region. In general, the study addresses the steps that are required to reach an improved and desired future state of digitalization in the Western Balkans. Thereby, the focus shall not only be on economic and commercial aspects, but also on social, political, and cultural aspects.
In a first step of the analysis performed in the study, the economic impacts of digital transformation on the Western Balkans are analyzed, focusing thereby on economic aggregates (GDP, employment, and productivity). Additionally, analysis is done with regard to the extent by which the investments of ICT players contribute to economic value creation in the region (via input-output tables).
In the second step, enhanced and improved possibilities for cross-border trade and cross-border interaction based on a harmonized and standardized digital transformation process are examined in order to determine whether there are “synergies” from a harmonized and collaborative digital transformation that exceed the mere sum of benefits that would accrue at an individual country-level.
In the third step, an analysis and survey of the (existing) micro-level data and corresponding research shall be conducted to complement the macro-analysis and to show the benefits and potentials digital transformation could have for certain markets and industries.
Finally, the challenges and benefits from an economic perspective for the so-called analog complements (labor markets and old-economy industries) shall be addressed. In particular, focus on a theoretical basis will be placed on the implications of digital transformation for labor markets by potentially allowing a more (transaction cost) efficient matching and allocation processes.

RESEARCH AREAS: Sectors and enterprises