nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2008‒05‒10
five papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. On the Impact of Digital Technologies on Corruption: Evidence from U.S. States and Across Countries By Thomas Barnebeck Andersen; Jeanet Bentzen; Carl-Johan Dalgaard; Pablo Selaya
  2. The Internet as a business environment in Romania By Moga, Liliana Mihaela; Virlanuta, Florina Oana; Buhociu, Florin Marian; Moga, George
  3. Technology adoption and herding behavior in complex social networks By Natalie Svarcova; Petr Svarc
  4. Information Technology, Research & Development, or Both? What Really Drives A Nation's Productivity By Francesco VENTURINI
  5. Neue Möglichkeiten zur Nutzung vertraulicher amtlicher Personen- und Firmendaten (Research Data Centers and new ways to access confidential official micro data) By Kaiser, Ulrich; Wagner, Joachim

  1. By: Thomas Barnebeck Andersen (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Jeanet Bentzen (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Carl-Johan Dalgaard (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Pablo Selaya (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: We hypothesize that the spread of the Internet has reduced corruption, chiefly through two mechanisms. First, the Internet facilitates the dissemination of information about corrupt behavior, which raises the detection risks to shady bureaucrats and politicians. Second, the Internet has reduced the interface between bureaucrats and the public. Using cross-country data and data for the U.S. states, we test this hypothesis. Data spans the period during which the Internet has been in operation. In order to address the potential endogeneity problem, we develop a novel identification strategy for Internet diffusion. Digital equipment is highly sensitive to power disruption: it leads to equipment failure and damage. Even very short disruptions (less than 1/60th of a second) can have such consequences. Accordingly, more frequent power failures will increase the user cost of IT capital; either directly, through depreciation, or indirectly, through the costs of protective devises. Ceteris paribus, we expect that higher IT user costs will lower the speed of Internet diffusion. A natural phenomenon which causes a major part of annual power disruptions globally is lightning activity. Lightning therefore provides exogenous variation in the user cost of IT capital. Based on global satellite data from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), we construct lightning density data for a large cross section of countries and for the U.S. states. We demonstrate that the lightning density variable is a strong instrument for changes in Internet penetration; and we proceed to show that the spread of the Internet has reduced the extent of corruption across the globe and across the U.S. The size of the impact is economically and statistically significant.
    Keywords: public corruption; internet; information
    JEL: K4 O1 H0
    Date: 2008–04
  2. By: Moga, Liliana Mihaela; Virlanuta, Florina Oana; Buhociu, Florin Marian; Moga, George
    Abstract: In an ever-developing society, a strong, viable economy is vital for any country that seeks to survive on the global market and to provide upwardly decent living standards for its citizens. Recognizing the above mentioned points as mandatory, but also prompted in its actions by the European community of which it recently became a member, Romania is taking steps to develop its electronic commerce to meet 21st century global standards. Some of the more important legal measures that have aided the development of e-commerce in Romania include the liberalization of telecommunications, the validation of electronic documents, the creation of customer protection services and regulations and the facilitation of electronic fund transfer through debit/credit cards. The obstacles encountered in the implementation of e-commercial transactions are manifold. The small number of users that can access the Internet from home and the people’s mistrust and lack of familiarity with e commercial transactions are only a few of the hindrances setting back their development in Romania. Emanating from the present study are numerous solutions for the improvement and popularization of Romanian e-commerce which would raise awareness about the advantages of electronic commerce on the Romanian business scene.
    Keywords: e-commerce; e-banking; usage; factors
    JEL: F11 C88 G21
    Date: 2007–11–01
  3. By: Natalie Svarcova (Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic); Petr Svarc (Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
    Abstract: Using a simple computational model, we study consequences of herding behavior in population of agents connected in networks with different topologies: random networks, small-world networks and scale-free networks. Agents sequentially choose between two technologies using very simple rules based on the previous choice of their immediate neighbors. We show that different seeding of technologies can lead to very different results in the choice of majority of agents. We mainly focus on the situation where one technology is seeded randomly while the other is directed to targeted (highly connected) agents. We show that even if the initial seeding is positively biased toward the first technology (more agents start with the choice of the first technology) the dynamic of the model can result in the majority choosing the second technology under the targeted hub approach. Even if the change to majority choice is highly improbable targeted seeding can lead to more favorable results. The explanation is that targeting hubs enhances the diffusion of the firm’s own technology and halts or slows-down the adoption of the concurrent one. Comparison of the results for different network topologies also leads to the conclusion that the overall results are affected by the distribution of number of connections (degree) of individual agents, mainly by its variance.
    Keywords: technology adoption, simulation, networks, herding behavior
    JEL: D71 D74
    Date: 2008–05
  4. By: Francesco VENTURINI (Universita' Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Economia)
    Abstract: To what extent are the productivity spillovers of information technology related;to R&D activity? Do these factors distinctly affect economic growth, or does the IT impact merely reflect the embodiment of R&D-driven technical progress? Based on country-level data, this work shows that both forms of technically advanced capital (R&D and IT) matter for long-run productivity growth. We control for either the domestic specialization in digital productions or import penetration of high-tech goods. In any case, the national endowment of IT assets emerges as a robust source of spillovers. It is also shown that the R&D base of the domestic producers of IT goods is a fundamental driver of productivity for the industrialized countries. In terms of TFP gains, a low degree of industry specialization in information technology can hardly be compensated by a country's trade openness, ie importing R&D-intensive (IT) goods from abroad. This contrasts to what occurs for less advanced productions.
    Keywords: Information Technology, Productivity, Research & Development, Spillovers, Trade
    JEL: E22 F43 O32 O47
    Date: 2008–05
  5. By: Kaiser, Ulrich; Wagner, Joachim
    Abstract: "Researchers in Germany have nowadays access to confidential micro data compiled from official statistics in a way that could not have been dreamt of just a few years ago. This paper describes the new institutions that grant data access - most importantly the research data centers located inside the data producing agencies - and how to access the micro data, and presents information about selected recently released data sets with a high potential for scientific research and policy evaluation. Furthermore, we contrast the German situation with the Danish way of handling research access to confidential micro data. Finally, we take a look at ongoing projects that will further improve data access in Germany." (author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))
    Keywords: amtliche Statistik, personenbezogene Daten, prozessproduzierte Daten, Betriebsdatenerfassung, Steuern, Finanzwissenschaft, Sozialversicherung, Datengewinnung, Datenqualität, Datenaufbereitung, Anonymität, Datenschutz, Datenanalyse, Integrierte Erwerbsbiografien, IAB-Betriebs-Historik-Panel, IAB-Betriebspanel, IAB-Linked-Employer-Employee-Datensatz, empirische Forschung, empirische Sozialforschung
    Date: 2007–06–20

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