nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2008‒10‒28
seven papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. Impact of ICT and Human Skills on the European Financial Intermediation Sector By Erber, Georg; Madlener, Reinhard
  2. Facilitating Classroom Economics Experiments with an Emerging Technology: The Case of Clickers By Liu, Donald J.; Walker, J.D.; Bauer, Theresa A.; Zhao, Meng
  3. Microstructure of Collaboration: The Network of Open Source Software By Chaim Fershtman; Neil Gandal
  4. The cost of switching Internet providers in the broadband industry, or why ADSL has diffused faster than other innovative technologies: Evidence from the French case By Jackie Krafft; Evens Salies
  5. The Impact of Disaggregated ICT Capital on Electricity Intensity of Production: Econometric Analysis of Major European Industries By Bernstein, Ronald; Madlener, Reinhard
  6. Technology Adoption and Innovation in Public Services.The Case of E-Government in ITALY By Davide Arduini; Federico Belotti; Mario Denni; Gerolamo Giungato; Antonello Zanfei
  7. The Cost Impact of Spam Filters: Measuring the Effect of Information System Technologies in Organizations By Caliendo, Marco; Clement, Michel; Papies, Dominik; Scheel-Kopeinig, Sabine

  1. By: Erber, Georg (Department of Information Society and Competition, DIW Berlin â German Institute for Economic Research); Madlener, Reinhard (E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN))
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of ICT- and non-ICT capital, and of labour at different skill levels, on productivity and employment in the financial intermediation sector of twelve EU member countries plus the US and Japan. A stochastic possibility frontiers (SPF) approach is applied to assess the relation between the production inputs and to compute both time-varying and average inefficiencies. For the empirical analysis, annual data from 1995 to 2005 are employed that were obtained from recently released data contained in the EU KLEMS database. The results obtained shed some light on the relative impact of ICT- and non-ICT capital and labour inputs, and provide new insights about the structural dynamics between these factor inputs. We find that the financial sectors in the twelve EU member states studied are quite similar in terms of efficiency, and that efficiency and productivity depends much more on human capital than on physical capital. We conclude that learning-by-doing and learning-by-using are more decisive elements in shaping the productivity growth path than ICT investment alone, which can leave managers and employees overwhelmed by the complexity and needs of structural adjustments in the companiesâ organisation.
    Keywords: stochastic production possibility frontiers; ICT; structural dynamics
    JEL: C23 C51 D23 E23 O33 O47 O57
    Date: 2008–09
  2. By: Liu, Donald J.; Walker, J.D.; Bauer, Theresa A.; Zhao, Meng
    Abstract: The authors discuss how they used the audience response system (ARS) to facilitate pit market trading in an applied microeconomics class and report the efficacy of the approach. Using the ARS to facilitate active learning by engaging students in economics experiments has pedagogical advantages over both the labor-intensive approach of pencil-and-paper and the capital-intensive route of relying on networked or on-line computer labs which oftentimes preclude or restrict face-to-face student interactions. Thus, the new method of conducting experiments represents an added advantage on top of such conventional functions as taking attendance and administering quizzes of this increasingly popular classroom technology.
    Keywords: Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession,
    Date: 2008–10–23
  3. By: Chaim Fershtman (Department of Economics, Tel Aviv University,); Neil Gandal (Department of Public Policy, Tel Aviv University)
    Abstract: The open source model is a form of software development with source code that is typically made available to all interested parties. At the core of this process is a decentralized production process: open source software development is done by a network of unpaid software developers. Using data from, the largest repository of Open Source Software (OSS) projects and contributors on the Internet, we construct two related networks: A Project network and a Contributor network. Knowledge spillovers may be closely related to the structure of such networks, since contributors who work on several projects likely exchange information and knowledge. Defining the number of downloads as output we finds that (i) additional contributors are associated with an increase in output, but that additional contributors to projects in the giant component are associated with greater output gains than additional contributors to projects outside of the giant component; (ii) Betweenness centrality of the project is positively associated with the number of downloads. (iii) Closeness centrality of the project appears also to be positively associated with downloads, but the effect is not statistically significant over all specifications. (iv) Controlling for the correlation between these two measures of centrality (betweenness and closeness), the degree is not positively associated with the number of downloads. (v) The average closeness centrality of the contributors that participated in a project is positively correlated with the success of the project. These results suggest that there are positive spillovers of knowledge for projects occupying critical junctures in the information flow. When we define projects as connected if and only if they had at least two contributors in common, we again find that additional contributors are associated with an increase in output, and again find that this increase is much higher for projects with strong ties than other projects in the giant component.
    Keywords: open source, network, Microstructure of Collaboration
    JEL: L17
    Date: 2008–04
  4. By: Jackie Krafft (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - CNRS : UMR6227 - Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis); Evens Salies (OFCE-DRIC - OFCE)
    Abstract: The innovative broadband Internet industry is characterised by inertia phenomena in terms of technology choice, as well as selection of Internet service providers (ISPs). Within the set of firms providing Internet, very often in Europe the incumbent operator has the lion’s share of end-customers and supplies the dominant technology. Focusing on the French case, this paper shows that although inertia on the supply side (partly due to the regulation process in itself), helps to explain the technology mix reached to date, a more complete picture of the inertia can be obtained when we consider the existence of costs faced by customers when switching between ISPs. We calculate these so-called “switching costs”. The closing section of this paper derives several implications in terms of policy.
    Date: 2008
  5. By: Bernstein, Ronald (E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN)); Madlener, Reinhard (E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN))
    Abstract: In this paper we empirically analyse the impact of disaggregated ICT capital on the electricity intensity in five major European industries (chemical, food, metal, pulp & paper and textile). The analysis of each industrial sector is based on an unbalanced panel including data for eight EU member countries (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK) for the period 1991-2005. The panel-econometric approach, in which we account for country-specific fixed effects, is based on a factor demand model that is similar to the one derived in Collard et al. (2005) [Energy Economics 27 (2): 541-550] for the French services sector. On the one hand, the analysis provides evidence for an electricity-saving effect on production induced by communication technologies in all of the sectors considered. On the other hand, the effect of computers and software on the electricity intensity of industrial production is not that clear-cut, but rather seems to be strongly dependent on the sector-specific production processes involved. Overall, the net effect of ICT diffusion on electricity intensity of production appears to be in favour of an enhancement of electricity efficiency in production.
    Keywords: Information and telecommunication technology; ICT; Electricity intensity; Panel data
    JEL: Q41 Q43
    Date: 2008–09
  6. By: Davide Arduini (University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”); Federico Belotti (University of Rome “Tor Vergata”.); Mario Denni (Italian Competition Authority (Agcm).); Gerolamo Giungato (Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat)); Antonello Zanfei (Dipartimento di Economia e Metodi Quantitativi, Università di Urbino (Italy))
    Abstract: Using data on 1,176 Italian municipalities in 2005, this paper discusses a number of factors associated with the development of a particular type of innovative activities, namely e-government services supplied by local public administrations (PAs). We find that municipalities which got involved into e-government are larger, carry out more in-house ICT activities and are more likely to have intra-net infrastructures, relative to PAs that do not offer front office digitalised services. They are also generally located in regions with relatively large shares of firms using or producing ICT, where many other municipalities offer digitalised services, and where concentration of inhabitants in metropolitan areas is not very high. The range and quality of e-government services supplied by local PAs tend to increase with their stock of ICT competencies, with their efforts to train workers, and with their ability to organise efficient interfaces with end-users. Moreover, there is a correlation between the range and quality of e-government services offered and the broadband infrastructure development of the geographic area in which local PAs are located. In more general terms, we show that the combination of internal competencies and context specific factors is different when explaining the decision to start e-government activities vs. the intensity of such activities. Regional factors, relating to both demand and supply of services, appear to affect only the decision to enter e-government activities. Competencies needed to expand and improve the quality of services are much more numerous and complex than the ones associated with the mere decision to start e-government activities.
    Keywords: Innovation system, Dynamic capabilities, Technology adoption, Electronic government, Innovation in services, Two-part model.
    JEL: H83 O38
    Date: 2008
  7. By: Caliendo, Marco (IZA); Clement, Michel (University of Hamburg); Papies, Dominik (University of Hamburg); Scheel-Kopeinig, Sabine (University of Cologne)
    Abstract: More than 70% of global e-mail traffic consists of unsolicited and commercial direct marketing, also known as spam. Dealing with spam incurs high costs for organizations, prompting efforts to try to reduce spam-related costs by installing spam filters. Using modern econometric methods to reduce the selection bias of installing a spam filter, we deploy a unique data setting implemented at a German university to measure the costs associated with spam and the costs savings of spam filters. The applied methodological framework can easily be transferred to estimate the effect of other IS technologies (e.g., SAP) implemented in organizations. Our findings indicate that central IT costs are of little relevance since the majority of spam costs stem from employees who spend working time identifying and deleting spam. The working time losses caused by spam are approximately 1,200 minutes per employee per year; these costs could be reduced by roughly 35% through the installation of a spam filter mechanism. The individual efficiency of a spam filter installation depends on the amount of spam that is received and on the level of knowledge about spam.
    Keywords: propensity score matching, treatment effects, spam filter, spam
    JEL: M12
    Date: 2008–10

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