nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2011‒01‒03
eight papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. The Economics of Network Neutrality By Nicholas Economides; Benjamin Hermalin
  2. E-government Initiatives of Four Philippine Cities By Gabrielle Iglesias
  3. See you on Facebook: the effect of social networking on human interaction By Antoci, Angelo; Sabatini, Fabio; Sodini, Mauro
  4. La dissémination de la recherche en sciences économiques: les « cahiers de recherche » By Zimmermann, Christian
  5. Got Technology? The Impact of Computers and Cell-phones on Productivity in a Difficult Business Climate: Evidence from Firms with Female Owners in Kenya By Nidhiya Menon
  6. The impact of ICT in the transformation and production of knowledge in Sudan By Nour, Samia Satti Osman Mohamed
  7. Online Graphing Activity for Principles of Economics Courses By Oskar R. Harmon; James Lambrinos
  8. Public policy, trust and growth: disclosure of government information in Japan. By Yamamura, Eiji

  1. By: Nicholas Economides (Stern School of Business, NYU); Benjamin Hermalin (Haas School of Business, U.C. Berkeley)
    Abstract: Pricing of Internet access has been characterized by two properties. Parties are directly billed only by the Internet Service Provider (ISP) through which they connect to the Internet and the ISP charges them on the basis of the amount of information transmitted rather than its content. These properties define a regime known as “network neutrality.” In 2005, some large ISPs proposed that application and content providers directly pay them additional fees for accessing the ISPs’ residential clients, as well as differential fees for prioritizing certain content. We analyze the private and social incentives to introduce such fees when the network is congested and more traffic implies delays. We find that network neutrality is welfare superior to bandwidth subdivision (granting or selling priority service). We also consider the welfare properties of the various regimes that have been proposed as alternatives to network neutrality. In particular, we show that the benefit of a zero-price “slow lane” is a function of the bandwidth the regulator mandates be allocated it. Extending the analysis to consider ISPs’ incentives to invest in more bandwidth, we show that, under general conditions, their incentives are greatest when they can price discriminate; this investment incentive offsets to some degree the allocative distortion created by the introduction of price discrimination. A priori, it is ambiguous whether the offset is sufficient to justify departing from network neutrality.
    Keywords: network neutrality, two-sided markets, Internet, monopoly, price discrimination, regulation, congestion
    JEL: L1 D4 L12 L13 C63 D42 D43
    Date: 2010–12
  2. By: Gabrielle Iglesias (Philippine Institute for Development Studies)
    Abstract: This study intends to provide a snapshot of the city government (in a developing country) as it uses information and communication technology (ICT) to transform its public service delivery and promote good urban governance. The volume of work related to services provided by local governments could be made more efficient, effective, transparent, accountable and equitable using relevant technologies. In the Philippines, a Government Information Systems Plan (GISP) was approved and adopted as framework for all computerization efforts of key services and operations. This study used as case study samples four city governments (Caloocan, Muntinlupa, Antipolo, and Tagaytay) known to actively use ICT applications to determine: (1) the level of use of ICT, and (2) how their computerization efforts facilitate good urban governance. The e-governance framework used for this study has a phased ICT utilization wherein a government agency must first use ICT to improve its internal operations (e-administration), then its public service delivery (e- government), before finally being able to use ICT to improve its relationship with its constituents (e-governance). The study was based on: (1) direct observations of their systems, (2) a review of their web sites, and (3) interviews with key officials whose positions corresponded to or were closest to a Chief Information Officer. The data was gathered from November 2003 to February 2004. Observations were finally assigned scores (using scales for each item), and analyzed along various components of e-governance. The results show two approaches among the cities in their development of ICT applications – (1) Muntinlupa City was doing a pull to e-governance by emphasizing its web site rather than internal administrative applications, while the other three were doing a push towards e-government by developing specific administrative applications that are not immediately accessible via the Internet. No strong pattern can be detected among the four cities, but this can be expected since there was no common framework for their decisions to use ICT. All of the cities are concentrating on e-administration efforts. The city governments cited ICT for contributing to accuracy of records, increases in tax collection and other income, and improvements in efficiency, accountability, and transparency. Factors that may slow down ICT use for providing public service are the reported high costs to preparing a transactional website, and personnel issues over acquiring skilled employees and reducing staff turnover. Policy recommendations are: (1) emphasizing e-administration rather than website development to ensure that organizational processes exist to support public service delivery over the Internet; (2) city governments should develop their information policy; and (3) institute a system for identifying, anticipating and preventing problems and failures in local ICT investments.
    Keywords: local governance, e-Government, e-administration, information and communication technology (ICT)
    JEL: R58 O33
    Date: 2010
  3. By: Antoci, Angelo; Sabatini, Fabio; Sodini, Mauro
    Abstract: This paper proposes an evolutionary framework to explore the dynamics of social interaction in an environment characterized by online networking and increasing pressure on time. The model shows how time pressure encourages the choice to develop social interactions also through online networking instead of relying exclusively on face to face encounters. Our findings suggest that the joint influence exerted by the reduction in leisure time and the new opportunities of participation offered by web-mediated communication may progressively lead a growing share of the population to adopt networking sites as an indispensable environment for the development of interpersonal relationships.
    Keywords: internet; computer-mediated communication; social networking; online networks; Facebook; human interaction; social capital
    JEL: O33 Z13 D85 C73
    Date: 2010–12–23
  4. By: Zimmermann, Christian
    Abstract: Publishing articles in Economics involves long time frames of up to several years from submission to publication. Consequently, journal contents tend to lag behind what is happening on the research frontier. The most usual sources of information on frontier research are conferences and "working papers," which are photocopied documents that circulate among certain scientists. This practice is fostering the emergence of exclusive small groups and prevents third parties from participating in pioneering research. The Internet has radically changed possibilities for access to working papers, but Internet access still needs to be organized and to allow others to read one’s work. This article describes the RePEc initiative, which effectively places all economists on the same footing and has become an essential instrument in its field. Similar initiatives in other fields are also investigated.
    Keywords: economics; publication; research; working papers
    JEL: A14
    Date: 2010
  5. By: Nidhiya Menon (Department of Economics, Brandeis University)
    Abstract: Firms in Kenya rely on technologies such as computers, cell-phones, and generators to overcome constraints associated with regulations, infrastructure, security, workforce, corruption, and finance. This study shows that such reliance has significant positive impacts on productivity as measured by value-added per worker, especially for firms with female principal owners. The exogenous component of technology ownership is isolated by using information on the regional presence of missionary schools from Kenya’s colonial past, as well as geographical indicators such as rainfall, changes in forest cover, and average regional elevation. Results indicate that for firms with female owners, technology adoption improves value-added per worker by about 49 percentage points. It is also statistically evident that for such firms, the ownership of technologies such as computers, cell-phones, and generators succeeds in mitigating the costs of business obstacles. For male-owned firms, such patterns are absent.
    Keywords: Technology, Computers, Cell-phones, Business Obstacles, Kenya, Firms, Female Owners
    JEL: O14 O33 L22 N37
    Date: 2010–12
  6. By: Nour, Samia Satti Osman Mohamed (Faculty of Economic and Social Studies, Khartoum University, and UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: This paper focuses on the impact of ICT in the transformation and production of knowledge, notably in Sudan, and discusses the importance of the use of ICT in Khartoum University. It considers how the use of ICT, in particular the Internet, facilitates connections, networks and communication within knowledge institutions in Sudan and regional and international institutions and enhances collaboration between Sudanese universities and others, and its integration in the system of global knowledge production. Research results reinforce the idea that using ICT enhances access, production and dissemination of knowledge in Khartoum University. Finally, our findings support the hypothesis that the use of ICT introduces positive and negative effects by providing opportunities for the transformation and production of knowledge but simultaneously also creates hazards in this transformation and knowledge production: positive transformations include building connections and organizational changes; while the negative transformation is the building disconnections for those who do not know how to use ICT. We find that the most important advantage related to the use of the Internet for facilitating connections and transformations involve increasing digital knowledge for academic researchers by finding information that was not earlier accessible and the rapid quantitative and qualitative increases in transferring available information. In addition to the development of new models for disseminating and distributing electronic information, there is an increase in the creation and transfer of knowledge and an increase in free access to electronic publications for academic purposes. The most serious problem related to the use of the Internet is the lack of regular or inadequate budgets for university libraries to pay for access to scientific and technical information and obtain licences or subscriptions to relevant material.
    Keywords: : ICT use, ICT impact, knowledge production, transformation, Sudan
    JEL: O10 O12 O30
    Date: 2010
  7. By: Oskar R. Harmon (University of Connecticut); James Lambrinos (Union Graduate College)
    Abstract: This paper describes how an online drawing program and bulletin board are used to create active learning activities for a principles of economics class. In the activity the student downloads an initial diagram that sets up a textbook principles scenario. The student uses an image-editing program to complete the diagram, so that it represents the outcome predicted in the textbook and posts it to a bulletin board. The tools for the activity:, and; are free and available on the Internet. By appropriately adjusting the information included in the initial diagram, there is flexibility to adjust the difficulty level, for high school AP courses or college level courses, and to adapt the exercise to a range of different classroom formats and varied physical locations of the student.
    Keywords: Online, Blended, Hybrid, Teaching Economics
    JEL: A2
    Date: 2010–12
  8. By: Yamamura, Eiji
    Abstract: Since the end of the 1990s, local governments in Japan have enacted Information Disclosure Ordinances, which require the disclosure of official government information. This paper uses Japanese prefecture-level data for the period 1998–2004 to examine how this enactment affected economic growth. Furthermore, this paper explores how generalized trust is associated with the effect of information disclosure on economic growth. The Dynamic Panel model is used to control for unobserved prefecture specific effects and endogenous bias. The major findings are: (1) disclosure of government information has a positive effect on GDP growth; and (2) generalized trust enhances this effect on GDP growth. This implies that social trust has a critical influence on the effectiveness of policy.
    Keywords: Information disclosure; Local government; Trust; Growth
    JEL: D73 D78 Z13 D79
    Date: 2010–12–20

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