nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2008‒08‒31
ten papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. Organizational Redesign, Information Technologies and Workplace Productivity By Leonard J. Mirman; Benoit Dostie; Rajshri Jayaraman
  2. A Conceptual Framework for Mobile Learning By Tétard, Franck; Patokorpi, Erkki; Carlsson, Joanna
  3. E-commerce and farmers’ decision-making: A case study from Uttar Pradesh (India) By Silvia Gaiani
  4. Once Built Well, They Might Come: An Empirical Study of Mobile E-Mail By Gebauer, Judith; Shaw, Michael J.; Subramanyam, Ramanath
  5. User Requirements of Mobile Technology--Results from a Content Analysis of User Reviews By Gebauer, Judith; Tang, Ya; Baimai, Chaiwat
  6. The Adoption of New Technologies and the Age Structure of the Workforce By Meyer, Jenny
  7. Applying the Theory of Task-Technology Fit to Mobile Technology: The Role of User Mobility By Gebauer, Judith; Tang, Ya
  8. User Requirements of Mobile Technology: A Summary of Research Results By Gebauer, Judith
  9. Confessions of an Internet Monopolist: Demand Estimation for a Versioned Information Good By Chappell, Henry; Guimaraes, Paulo; Ozturk, Orgul
  10. Virtual Assisted Self Interviewing (VASI) : An Expansion of Survey Data Collection Methods to the Virtual Worlds by Means of VDCI By Mark W. Bell; Edward Castronova; Gert G. Wagner

  1. By: Leonard J. Mirman; Benoit Dostie (IEA, HEC Montréal); Rajshri Jayaraman
    Abstract: Using a large longitudinal, nationally representative workplace-level dataset, we explore the productivity gains associated with computer use and organizational redesign. The empirical strategy involves the estimation of a production function, augmented to account for technology use and organizational design, correcting for unobserved heterogeneity. We find large returns associated with computer use. We also find that computer use and organizational redesign may be complements or substitutes in production, and that the productivity gains associated with organizational redesign are industry-specific.
    JEL: D20 L20 M54 O33
    Date: 2008–07
  2. By: Tétard, Franck; Patokorpi, Erkki; Carlsson, Joanna
    Abstract: Several technology projects have been launched to explore the opportunities that mobile technologies bring about when tackling issues of democratic participation and social inclusion through mobile learning. Mobile devices are cheaper than for instance a PC, and their affordance, usability and accessibility are such that they can potentially complement or even replace traditional computer technology. The importance of communication and collaboration features of mobile technologies has been stressed in the framework of ICT-mediated learning. In this paper, a theoretical framework for mobile learning and e-inclusion is developed for people outside the conventional education system. The framework draws upon the fields of pedagogy (constructivist learning in particular), mobile learning objects and sociology.
    Keywords: Mobile Learning, Digital Divide, Constructivist Pedagogy, Forms Of Capital
    Date: 2008
  3. By: Silvia Gaiani (Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna)
    Abstract: Agriculture is vital to India. It produces 23% of GDP, feeds a billion people and employs 66% of the workforce. Yet most Indian farmers have remained quite poor. The causes include remnants of scarcity-era regulation, an agricultural system based on small, inefficient landholdings and inadeguate trade channels and information infrastructures. In order to improve the trading system and to provide timely market information India has been experimenting in the last years the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to promote rural development. e-Choupal is the largest information technology-based intervention created in rural India by a corporate entity, the Indian Tobacco Company (ITC). Through the e-Choupal website, accessed from internet kiosks in rural villages, farmers can get information on best farming practices, prevailing market prices for their crops at home and abroad and the weather forecast – all in the local language. The overriding aim of my paper is to examine whether the use of e-Choupal for information dissemination and service delivery leads to improvements in farmers’ quality of decisions. The study is based on the primary data collected in 2006-2007 from 461 farmers in 8 districts of Uttar Pradesh, a State in the North West of India. The farmers included in the survey belong to user as well as non user groups of the e-initiative, which in Uttar Pradesh has been recently carried on both by ITC (a for profit company) and by UPBSN (a non profit company). The data on impact of usage or non-usage of e-Choupals on decision-making, collected using a structured questionnaire survey, is tested by computing chi-square statistic: differences between users and non users are analyzed on multidimensional aspects related to agricultural decisions. Divergences have been also underlined in the impact on users of ITC e-Choupal and UPBSN e-Choupal.
    Keywords: E-commerce, Rural Development, ICT, Uttar Pradesh, India
    JEL: Q13 Z10
    Date: 2008–07
  4. By: Gebauer, Judith (U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign); Shaw, Michael J. (U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign); Subramanyam, Ramanath (U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
    Abstract: In this exploratory study, we seek to help explain and predict the success of mobile information systems based on a research model that joins key elements of the theory of task-technology fit and the technology acceptance model. To account for idiosyncrasies of the mobile technology artifact, as exemplified by mobile e-mail, we include user mobility and user-perceived technology maturity in our research model. Using structural equation modeling with PLS and content analysis, we analyze 55 responses that we collected from employees at a Fortune 100 firm. For non-users of mobile e-mail, we find a significant association between task-technology fit and expected usefulness of the technology that corroborates a previously suggested link between the technology acceptance model and the theory of task-technology fit. For users of mobile e-mail, however, we find technology maturity to be a dominant explanatory factor that exhibits strong associations with extent of use of mobile e-mail and with actual user-perceived usefulness and related performance impacts. We further identify a need to advance the measurement of user mobility. Our findings complement the suggestion to apply a technology-to-performance chain in order to understand the success of information technology. Our results indicate that user-perceived technology maturity may play an important role to explain use and performance impacts of information technology, in particular during the early stages of technology development. Our study has theoretical implications for the application of earlier information system theories to mobile technology innovations, and practical implications for the understanding about the requirements of mobile technology to adequately support a mobile workforce.
    Date: 2007–10
  5. By: Gebauer, Judith (U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign); Tang, Ya (U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign); Baimai, Chaiwat (Texas A&M International U)
    Abstract: Advanced mobile technology continues to shape professional environments. Smart cell phones, pocket computers and laptop computers reduce the need of users to remain close to a wired information system infrastructure and allow for task performance in many different contexts. Among the consequences are changes in technology requirements, such as the need to limit weight and size of the devices. In the current paper, we focus on the factors that users find important in mobile devices. Based on a content analysis of online user reviews that was followed by structural equation modeling, we found four factors to be significantly related with overall user evaluation, namely functionality, portability, performance, and usability. Besides the practical relevance for technology developers and managers, our research results contribute to the discussion about the extent to which previously established theories of technology adoption and use are applicable to mobile technology. We also discuss the methodological suitability of online user reviews for the assessment of user requirements, and the complementarity of automated and non-automated forms of content analysis.
    Date: 2007–10
  6. By: Meyer, Jenny
    Abstract: This paper provides firm-level evidence for the relationship between the age structure of the workforce and the adoption of new or significantly improved technologies in service sector firms. Furthermore, it closes a research gap by analyzing the joint impact of the age of the workforce and the enhancement of teamwork on the probability of adopting new technologies. The empirical analyses, that are based on a data set of 356 German firms from the knowledge-intensive services and ICT services sector, reveal three findings: Firstly, firms with a higher share of younger employees are more likely to adopt new technologies and the older the workforce is, the less likely is the adoption of new technologies. Secondly, the distribution of the age of the workforce has no significant impact on the probability of adopting new technologies. And thirdly, firms which enhanced their teamwork and have a higher share of younger workers are less likely to adopt new technologies whereas firms that enhanced their teamwork and have a higher share of older employees are more likely to adopt new technologies. Aufgrund der durch einen Anstieg der Lebenserwartung und einen gleichzeitigen Rückgang der Geburtenrate gekennzeichneten demografischen Entwicklung hat sich die Altersstruktur der arbeitenden Bevölkerung verändert. So ist die Beschäftigungsquote der 55-64-jährigen insbesondere in den vergangenen fünf Jahren angestiegen, während gleichzeitig ein Rückgang der Beschäftigungsquote der 15-24-jährigen erfolgt ist. In einer Volkswirtschaft, in der Wissen ein wichtiger Produktionsfaktor ist und Informations und Kommunikationstechnologien (IKT) zur Verarbeitung von Informationen benötigt werden, ist eine effiziente Verzahnung von Humankapital und IKT für den Erfolg und die Wettbewerbsfähigkeit von Unternehmen entscheidend. Mehrere Studien belegen, dass die Wahrscheinlichkeit der Anwendung von IKT bei älteren Arbeitnehmern geringer ausgeprägt ist als bei jüngeren Arbeitnehmern, und erstere hierfür auch weniger qualifiziert sind. Daher stellt sich die Frage, ob Unternehmen aus IKT-intensiven Dienstleistungssektoren, die einen hohen Anteil an älteren Beschäftigten haben, eine geringere Wahrscheinlichkeit des Einsatzes neuer Technologien aufweisen. Die Ergebnisse der vorliegenden Arbeit zeigen, dass Unternehmen, die einen höheren Anteil an jüngeren Beschäftigten haben, eine höhere Wahrscheinlichkeit aufweisen, neue Technologien einzusetzen. Je älter die Belegschaft eines Unternehmens ist, desto geringer ist dessen Wahrscheinlichkeit neue Technologien einzusetzen. Des Weiteren scheinen Komplementaritäten zwischen dem Humankapital von jüngeren Beschäftigten und dem von älteren Beschäftigten zu existieren. Jüngeren Beschäftigten fällt der Umgang mit IKT leichter und sie lernen tendenziell schneller. Ältere Beschäftigte sind erfahrener und besitzen ein größeres Wissen über firmeninterne Strukturen und den Betriebsablauf. Daher ist eine heterogene Alterstruktur für die Wahrscheinlichkeit des Einsatzes neuer Technologien möglicherweise vorteilhafter als eine homogene Alterstruktur. Die Ergebnisse der vorliegenden Arbeit zeigen jedoch, dass die Altersverteilung keine Auswirkungen auf die Wahrscheinlichkeit des Einsatzes neuer Technologien hat. Laut vorherigen Studien besteht ein komplementärer Zusammenhang zwischen der Nutzung von IKT und der Anwendung moderner Methoden der Personal- und Arbeitsorganisation. Des Weiteren kann durch die Anwendung innovativer Methoden der Arbeitsorganisation möglicherweise ein günstigeres Umfeld für den Einsatz neuer Technologien geschaffen werden. Auf der anderen Seite gibt es empirische Evidenz dafür, dass die Anwendung innovativer Methoden der Arbeitsorganisation mit der Beschäftigung älterer Arbeitnehmer negativ korreliert ist. Da die Anwendung innovativer Methoden der Arbeitsorganisation eine gegensätzliche Beziehung mit der Anwendung von IKT und neuen Technologien einerseits und mit der Beschäftigung älterer Arbeitnehmer andererseits zu haben scheint, wird mit dieser Arbeit eine Forschungslücke geschlossen, da die gemeinsame Auswirkung von Alterstruktur der Belegschaft und Verstärkung der Gruppenarbeit als Methode der Arbeitsorganisation auf die Wahrscheinlichkeit des Einsatzes neuer oder wesentlich verbesserter Technologien untersucht wird. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass Unternehmen, die Gruppenarbeit verstärkt haben und einen höheren Anteil an unter 30-jährigen beschäftigen, eine geringere Wahrscheinlichkeit aufweisen, neue bzw. wesentlich verbesserte Technologien einzuführen; wohingegen Unternehmen, die Gruppenarbeit verstärkt haben und einen größeren Anteil an 40-55-jährigen beschäftigen, eine höhere Wahrscheinlichkeit des Einsatzes neuer Technologien aufweisen.
    Keywords: age structure of the workforce, adoption of new technologies, ICT intensive services
    JEL: J14 O31
    Date: 2008
  7. By: Gebauer, Judith (U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign); Tang, Ya (U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
    Abstract: In this paper, we apply the theory of task technology fit to mobile technology, focusing specifically on the role of user mobility. We describe the results of an empirical study of 216 business users of mobile devices that included various smart phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and laptop computers. Our findings suggest that (1) the relationship between task difficulty and functional requirements of the mobile devices is stronger for highly mobile users than for less mobile users; (2) user mobility is associated with increased user-perceived importance of a number of non-functional features; and (3) for a number of functions and features, highly mobile users indicated a stronger relationship between task-technology fit, and overall evaluation of the technology. We conclude that user mobility needs to be taken into account when applying the theory of task-technology fit to mobile information systems. In addition, our study provides specific insights about the information system requirements of an increasingly mobile workforce.
    Date: 2007–08
  8. By: Gebauer, Judith (U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
    Abstract: As advanced mobile technology becomes more widespread, the impacts on professional environments and on the personal lives of individual users continue to increase. Devices, such as smart cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and laptop computers can free their owners of the need to remain close to a wired information system infrastructure that is provided in a stationary office environment, and provide the opportunity to perform tasks in a wide variety of use contexts. With changes in use context, however, come changes in requirements, such as the need to limit weight and size of a device. In order to achieve success in the form of adoption, use, and positive impacts on user performance, a thorough understanding is needed about the functional and non-functional technology requirements of mobile professionals. In this paper, we summarize the results of a series of research studies that we conducted to explore the technology requirements of mobile professionals. The research studies included a content analysis of online user reviews, two empirical surveys, and a series of user interviews. Our research findings indicate that (1) user-perceived technology maturity is a critical factor to explain and predict the use of mobile technology by mobile professionals; (2) mobile technology needs to be available in a broad variety of use-situations; (3) users require basic communication and productivity-related functionality, in particular to support non-routine and supervisory task profiles; and (4) mobile technology can have considerable impacts on the job performance and on the personal lives of its users. Our findings have implications for the design, management, and research of mobile information systems.
    Date: 2008–03
  9. By: Chappell, Henry; Guimaraes, Paulo; Ozturk, Orgul
    Abstract: We investigate profit-maximizing versioning plans for an information goods monopolist. The analysis employs data obtained from a web-based field experiment in which potential buyers were offered information goods in varied price-quality configurations. Maximum simulated likelihood (MSL) methods are used to estimate parameters describing the distribution of utility function parameters across potential buyers of the good. The resulting estimates are used to examine the impact of versioning on seller profits and market efficiency.
    Keywords: Versioning; price discrimination; field experiment; maximum simulated likelihood
    JEL: D12 C81 D83 D42 C93
    Date: 2006
  10. By: Mark W. Bell; Edward Castronova; Gert G. Wagner
    Abstract: Changes in communication technology have allowed for the expansion of data collection modes in survey research. The proliferation of the computer has allowed the creation of web and computer assisted auto-interview data collection modes. Virtual worlds are a new application of computer technology that once again expands the data collection modes by VASI (Virtual Assisted Self Interviewing). The Virtual Data Collection Interface (VDCI) developed at Indiana University in collaboration with the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) allows survey researchers access to the population of virtual worlds in fully immersive Heads-up Display (HUD)-based survey instruments. This expansion needs careful consideration for its applicability to the researcher's question but offers a high level of data integrity and expanded survey availability and automation. Current open questions of the VASI method are an optimal sampling frame and sampling procedures within e. g. a virtual world like Second Life (SL). Further multi-modal studies are proposed to aid in evaluating the VDCI and placing it in context of other data collection modes.
    Keywords: Interviewing mode, PAPI, CAPI, CASI, VASI, VDCI, second life
    JEL: C81 C88 C93 Y8
    Date: 2008

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