nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2010‒03‒20
four papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. Trust Building and Usage Control for Electronic Business Processes By Tafreschi, Omid
  2. A Sectoral Approach to the Diffusion of ICT:Empirical Evidence on Italian Firms By Davide Arduini; Leopoldo Nascia; Antonello Zanfei
  3. Technology adoption and club convergence By Alexiadis, Stilianos; Tomkins, Judith
  4. The Economy of Surveillance By Lipartito, Kenneth

  1. By: Tafreschi, Omid
    Abstract: Information technology (IT) supports companies to streamline their business processes. The main contributions of IT are the digitalization of data and efficient communication networks, which allow companies to automatize their business processes and thus increase their efficiency, i.e., their value creation. This effort started with the optimization of internal business processes within a company. Nowadays, it also includes external business processes, in which multiple enterprises and even customers are involved. However, using IT also causes undesirable side effects for companies. They are exposed to a wide range of vulnerabilities and threats. Digitalizing data, e.g., documents, spurs the access to that data and the exchange of it. However, a disadvantageous result of digitalizing data is the increased risk of unauthorized access to that data. Communication networks provide an excellent foundation for collaboration between companies. At the same time, the open and anonymous character of communication networks is a reason for distrust towards business partners offering their goods and services over such networks. As a result of these undesirable side effects, the outcome of a certain business process supported by IT may be suboptimal or companies may refrain from using IT. Against this background, this thesis focuses on securing electronic business processes with regard to two aspects, i.e., building trust in open networks and controlling the usage of digital objects. Trust is the prerequisite for all kinds of commercial transactions. Using reputation information is one possible way to build up trust among business partners. In this thesis, we propose two new reputation systems to establish trust for ad-hoc processes in open markets. The first reputation system facilitates trust building in the context of electronic negotiations which are performed with the help of a centralized system. The reputation system enables companies to find trustworthy business partners and provides decision support during a negotiation. The second reputation system supports trust building in decentralized Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks. A main feature of this system is its robustness against coalition attacks, which is proven with the help of a simulation. Controlling the usage of digital objects demands two functionalities. First, we need methods for defining usage rules. Second, mechanisms for enforcing the defined usage rules are required. In this thesis, we address both aspects of usage control. Digital documents play a central role in business processes, since they are a means of integration and are handled among business partners. Some documents are sensitive and thus have to be protected from being accessed by unauthorized parties. For this purpose, we propose a flexible and expressive access control model for electronic documents. Our model captures the information about the operations performed on documents. This history information can be used to define access control rules. Customers are involved in the execution of special kinds of business processes, such as selling and consuming digital goods. In these cases, digital goods have to be protected from being used in an unauthorized way, e.g., being shared in public networks. Thus, the trustworthiness of customers' platforms has to be verified before transferring digital goods. For this, we propose a robust integrity reporting protocol which is necessary when a remote platform has to perform security relevant operations, e.g., to enforce a security policy which controls the usage of digital content. This integrity reporting protocol is a building block of a new Digital Rights Management system which is also presented in this thesis. This system provides a high protection level. At the same time, it allows users to transfer their purchased content to other devices or users.
    Keywords: Trust Building, Usage Control, Electronic Business Processes
    Date: 2009–06–04
  2. By: Davide Arduini (Dipartimento di Economia e Metodi Quantitativi, Università di Urbino (Italy)); Leopoldo Nascia (National Bureau of Statistics, Italy); Antonello Zanfei (Dipartimento di Economia e Metodi Quantitativi, Università di Urbino (Italy))
    Abstract: It is suggested that our understanding of ICT adoption in the Italian economy can benefit from complementary insights derived from some of the most important theoretical approaches to sectorial diffusion of innovation (epidemic, probit and systemic). As regards the epidemic models the key variables are firms’ market performance indicators. Probit models call our attention to the size of user firms, their ability to utilize technology and the degree of industrial concentration. Systemic models emphasise the role played by the public sector, which is viewed as catalyst and stimulator of innovative activities in the industrial system, and by the evolution of the technological and infrastructural context in which users are active. We utilize a composite indicator, which describes the use of ICT in a sample of 1947 Italian firms in 2004 and 2005, as the dependent variable for an econometric exercise which allows to assess the importance of factors identified in the different approaches emerging from the existing literature.
    Keywords: Truncated and Censored Models, Market structure and Size distribution of firms, Diffusion processes and Technology adoption.
    JEL: C34 L11 O33
    Date: 2010
  3. By: Alexiadis, Stilianos; Tomkins, Judith
    Abstract: A model of regional convergence is developed in which the pattern of convergence is attributed to the rate of technological adoption across regions. If absorptive abilities vary across regions, convergence is constrained within a certain group of regions that share common structural characteristics. Whether regions exhibit a pattern of convergence depends on the degree to which infrastructure conditions are appropriate for the adoption of technological improvements. The model is tested using data for the NUTS-2 regions of the EU-27 during the time period 1995-2006. The results suggest that adoption of technology has a significant effect on regional growth patterns in Europe, and hence the analysis has important implications for the direction of regional policy in Europe.
    Keywords: Convergence-club; Technological Gap; European Regions
    JEL: O18 C21 R11
    Date: 2010–03–03
  4. By: Lipartito, Kenneth
    Abstract: Surveillance is integral to modern societies. This paper considers the economic forces behind surveillance, the use of surveillance in the private sector, and the social consequences for the continued growth of surveillance over the past several centuries. It argues that the demand for surveillance of people will grow, while the cost of providing surveillance continues to fall. As a result, surveillance will feed upon itself, with detrimental social consequences.
    Keywords: surveillance; information; privacy; credit reporting
    JEL: N8 Z10 D8
    Date: 2010–03

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