nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2009‒03‒22
three papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. Risk aversion, the value of information and traffic equilibrium By André De Palma; Robin Lindsey; Nathalie Picard
  2. Unlimited or disrupted communication? How does the development of the mobile phone effect our ability of social action? By Marie-Sophie Löhlein
  3. Strategic Communication Networks By Jeanne Hagenbach; Frédéric Koessler

  1. By: André De Palma (Department of Economics, Ecole Polytechnique - CNRS : UMR7176 - Polytechnique - X, ENS Cachan - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan); Robin Lindsey (University of Alberta - University of Alberta); Nathalie Picard (THEMA - Théorie économique, modélisation et applications - CNRS : UMR8184 - Université de Cergy Pontoise)
    Abstract: Information about traffic conditions has traditionally been conveyed to drivers by radio and variable message signs, and more recently via the Internet and Advanced Traveler Information Systems. This has spurred research on how travelers respond to information, how much they are willing to pay for it and how much they are likely to benefit from it collectively. In this paper we analyze the decisions of drivers whether to acquire information and which route to take on a simple congested road network. Drivers vary in their degree of risk aversion with respect to travel time. Four information regimes are considered: No information, Free information which is publicly available at no cost, Costly information which is publicly available for a fee, and Private information which is available free to a single individual. Private information is shown to be individually more valuable than either Free or Costly information, while the benefits from Free and Costly information cannot be ranked in general. Free or Costly information can decrease the expected utility of drivers who are very risk-averse, and with sufficient risk aversion in the population the aggregate compensating variation for information can be negative.
    Keywords: Transportation, route choice, information provision, expected utility, congestion
    Date: 2008–12
  2. By: Marie-Sophie Löhlein (IET, FCT-Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
    Abstract: The aim of this essay is to discuss the thesis of the German Sociologist Günter Burkhart that in modern societies a phenomenon appeared which he calls “handymania”, an excessive and nearly addictive use of the mobile phones especially from adolescents. After a short overview about the history of the cell phone, I will relate this development to Jürgen Habermas “theory of communicative action”, more precisely to his diagnosis of a pathological society (“lifeworld”) to find out if the “handymania” could be one expression of it. Adjacent I will present social-psychological theories from E.H.Erikson and Tilmann Habermas to ascertain whether juveniles could really be a high-risk group for this kind of addiction. I will focus on the ability to communicate in an Habermasian way that could be seriously harmed by the unregulated usage of cell phones.
    Keywords: telecommunication, cell phones, youth behaviour, Habermas
    JEL: L96 Z19
    Date: 2009–03
  3. By: Jeanne Hagenbach (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I); Frédéric Koessler (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales - Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris)
    Abstract: We consider situations in which individuals would like to choose an action which is close to that of others, as well as close to a state of nature, with the ideal proximity to the state varying across agents. Before this coordination game is played, a cheap-talk communication stage is offered to the individuals who decide to whom they reveal their private information about the state. The information transmission occurring in the communication stage is characterized by a strategic communication network. We provide an explicit link between players' preferences and the equilibrium strategic communication networks. A key feature of our equilibrium characterization is that whether communication takes place between two agents not only depends on the conflict of interest between these agents, but also on the number and preferences of the other agents with whom they communicate. Apart from some specific cases, the equilibrium communication networks are quite complex despite our simple one-dimensional description of preference heterogeneity. In general, strategic communication networks cannot be completely Pareto-ranked, but expected social welfare always increases as the communication network expands.
    Keywords: Cheap talk ; coordination ; incomplete information ; networks
    Date: 2009–02

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