nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2007‒02‒24
five papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. Regional Versus Individual Aspects of the Digital Divide in Germany By Katrin Schleife
  2. Information Technology, Efficient Restructuring and the Productivity Puzzle By Grüner, Hans Peter
  3. Is the internet delivery channel changing banks' performance? The case of Spanish banks By Ignacio Hernando; María J. Nieto
  4. Predicting Sovereign Debt Crises Using Artificial Neural Networks: A Comparative Approach By Marco Fioramanti
  5. Genetic algorithm estimation of interest rate term structure By Ricardo Gimeno; Juan M. Nave

  1. By: Katrin Schleife (ZEW Mannheim, Centre for European Economic Research, Research Group Information and Communication Technologies)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the regional dimension of the German digital divide. It considers the impact of regional characteristics on differences in the share of Internet use between German counties. In addition, it studies the influence of regional factors as well as individual characteristics on the individual probability of becoming a new Internet user. Based on two large data sets, SOEP and INKAR, the analyses show that it is not the rusticity of a region itself that explains regional differences in Internet use. The results rather indicate that it is the different composition of the population between rural and urban areas that accounts for the regional digital divide.
    Keywords: digital divide, Internet use, regional differences
    JEL: O33 O18 R20
    Date: 2006–12
  2. By: Grüner, Hans Peter
    Abstract: Labour productivity in the US has recently grown more strongly than in most European countries. It is often argued that the American productivity increase is due to the widespread introduction of new information and communication technologies (ICT). But why have the same technologies not similarly increased Europe's labour productivity? This paper provides a theoretical explanation for this productivity puzzle based on an extension of Radner's (1992) model of hierarchical information aggregation. The introduction of new ICTs enables organizations to process any given amount of information with a shorter delay. This enables organizations to restructure and solve incentive problems without risking excessive delay. Even a marginal improvement in the ICT can yield significant increases in labour productivity if - and only if - the organization is drastically restructured. Restructuring yields hierarchies with fewer layers and fewer managers, all working under incentive pay and providing first best effort. However, managers need not participate in the gains associated with the restructuring of their business firms.
    Keywords: hierarchies; ICT; Information processing; labour productivity; restructuring
    JEL: D23 D70 D83 L22 P51
    Date: 2007–02
  3. By: Ignacio Hernando (Banco de España); María J. Nieto (Banco de España)
    Abstract: In spite of the conspicuous use of the Internet as a delivery channel, there is a relative dearth of empirical studies that provide a quantitative analysis of the impact of the Internet on banks´ financial performance. This paper attempts to fill this gap by identifying and estimating the impact of the adoption of a transactional web site on financial performance using a sample of 72 commercial banks operating in Spain over the period 1994-2002. The impact on banks´ performance of transactional web adoption takes time to appear. The adoption of the Internet as a delivery channel involves a gradual reduction in overhead expenses (particularly, staff, marketing and IT). This effect is statistically significant after one and a half years after adoption. The cost reduction translates into an improvement in banks´ profitability, which becomes significant after one and a half years in terms of ROA and after three years in terms of ROE. The paper also concludes that the Internet is being used as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, physical branches.
    Keywords: commercial banks, internet banking, profitability, cost and income structure
    JEL: G21 O32 O33
    Date: 2006–09
  4. By: Marco Fioramanti (ISAE - Institute for Studies and Economic Analyses; University of Pescara, Faculty of Economics)
    Abstract: Recent episodes of financial crises have revived the interest in developing models that are able to timely signal their occurrence. The literature has developed both parametric and non parametric models to predict these crises, the so called Early Warning Systems. Using data related to sovereign debt crises occurred in developing countries from 1980 to 2004, this paper shows that a further progress can be done applying a less developed non-parametric method, i.e. Artificial Neural Networks (ANN). Thanks to the high flexibility of neural networks and to the Universal Approximation Theorem an ANN based early warning system can, under certain conditions, outperform more consolidated methods.
    Keywords: Early Warning System; Financial Crisis; Sovereign Debt Crises; Artificial Neural Network.
    JEL: F34 F37 C45 C14
    Date: 2006–10
  5. By: Ricardo Gimeno (Banco de España); Juan M. Nave (Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera)
    Abstract: The term structure of interest rates is an instrument that gives us the necessary information for valuing deterministic financial cash flows, measuring the economic market expectations and testing the effectiveness of monetary policy decisions. However, it is not directly observable and needs to be measured by smoothing data obtained from asset prices through statistical techniques. Adjusting parsimonious functional forms - as proposed by Nelson and Siegel (1987) and Svensson (1994) - is the most popular technique. This method is based on bond yields to maturity and the high degree of non linearity of the functions to be optimised make it very sensitive to the initial values employed. In this context, this paper proposes the use of genetic algorithms to find these values and reduce the risk of false convergence, showing that stable time series parameters are obtained without the need to impose any kind of restrictions.
    Keywords: forward and spot interest rates, nelson and siegel model, non-linear optimization, numerical methods, svensson model, yield curve estimation
    JEL: G12 C51 C63
    Date: 2006–12

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