nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2011‒11‒01
six papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. Does Internet Use Crowd Out Face-To-Face Ties? Empirical Evidence from the Cumulative General Social Survey Data By Hun Myoung Park
  2. Monitoring, Information Technology and the Labor Share By Dorothee Schneider
  3. Global Networks of Trade and Bits By Massimo Riccaboni; Alessandro Rossi; Stefano Schiavo
  4. An Agent-Based Model of Centralized Institutions, Social Network Technology, and Revolution By Michael D. Makowsky; Jared Rubin
  5. The Economics of Information Technology in Public Sector Health Facilities in Developing Countries: The Case of South Africa By Gregory B. Cline; John M. Luiz
  6. Regional Institutional Environment and Its Impact on Intra-firm and Inter-organisational Innovation Networks: A Comparative Case Study in China and Switzerland By LIU, Ju

  1. By: Hun Myoung Park (International University of Japan)
    Abstract: This study examines if Internet use crowds out or facilitates face-to-face ties by analyzing the cumulative General Social Survey data. Assumed is that the impact of Internet use varies according to types of Internet services and modes of Internet use. GSS data show that face-to-face engagements measured in spending a social evening, friends, and relatives staying in contact with, and voluntary membership remained almost unchanged for the past four decades. No sharp slash or jump was observed before and after the late 1990s. Spending a social evening with relatives, neighbors, and friends are not influenced by Internet use regardless of whether they are email, WWW, or deliberative and entertaining purposes. Emailing and deliberative use of WWW are positively related to the number of friends and relatives keeping in touch with by face-to-face, meetings or events, telephone, and U.S. postal mail, while the time spent for WWW has the negative effect. Finally, voluntary membership is positively associated with deliberative use of WWW and not with email and WWW use for entertainment. The Internet is not necessarily a technology culprit of the decline in social capital but its impact depends how effectively people use for society and themselves.
    Date: 2011–10
  2. By: Dorothee Schneider
    Abstract: This paper assesses empirically the hypotheses by Bental and Demougin (2010) that innovations in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) reduce the labor share in OECD countries by improving the monitoring technology. In a first step, I show that data trends for the labor share, wages in efficiency units, and labor in efficiency units over capital can be matched by a simulation of the model of Bental and Demougin (2010). In a second approach, I confirm increasing monitoring of workers using micro data for Germany. I argue that ICT influences labor not only through substitutability of labor with ICT and foreign work, but also through to lowering rents of workers as monitoring technology improves.
    Keywords: Labor Shares, Bargaining, Monitoring
    JEL: D24 J30 E25
    Date: 2011–10
  3. By: Massimo Riccaboni; Alessandro Rossi; Stefano Schiavo
    Abstract: Considerable efforts have been made in the recent years to produce detailed topolo- gies of the Internet. While Internet topology data have brought to the attention of a wide and somehow diverse audience of scholars they have been so far over- looked by economic analyses. In this paper we suggest that such data could be effectively treated as a proxy to characterize the size of the “digital economy” ac- tivities at national country level: we therefore analyze the topological structure of the network of trade in digital services (trade in bits) and compare it with that of the more traditional flow of manufactured goods across countries. To perform a meaningful comparison across networks with different characteristics we define a common null model for the number of connections among each country-pair, based on the hypergeometric distribution. Original data are thus filtered using different thresholds so that we focus our attention on the strongest links only, i.e., on links the represent a significant departure from the stochastic benchmark. We find that trade in bits displays a more sparse and less hierarchical network structure, which is more similar to trade in high-skill manufactured goods than total trade. Last, distance plays a more prominent role in shaping the network of international trade in physical goods than trade in digital services.
    Keywords: Internet, hypergeometric, international trade, network analysis, distance
    JEL: F14 L86 O33
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Michael D. Makowsky (Department of Economics, Towson University); Jared Rubin (Department of Economics, Chapman University)
    Abstract: Recent uprisings in the Arab world consist of individuals revealing vastly different preferences than were expressed prior to the uprisings. This paper sheds light on the general mechanisms underlying large-scale social and institutional change. We employ an agent-based model to test the impact of authority centralization and social network technology on preference revelation and falsification, social protest, and institutional change. We find that the amount of social and institutional change is decreasing with authority centralization in simulations with low network range but is increasing with authority centralization in simulations with greater network range. The relationship between institutional change and social shocks is not linear, but rather is characterized by sharp discontinuities. The threshold at which a shock can “tip” a system towards institutional change is decreasing with the geographic reach of citizen social networks. Farther reaching social networks reduce the robustness and resilience of central authorities to change. This helps explain why highly centralized regimes frequently attempt to restrict information flows via the media and Internet. More generally, our results highlight the role that information and communication technology can play in triggering cascades of preference revelation and revolutionary activity in varying institutional regimes.
    Keywords: preference falsification, revolution, protest, network technology, agent-based model.
    JEL: C63 Z13 D83 D85 D71 H11
    Date: 2011–10
  5. By: Gregory B. Cline; John M. Luiz
    Abstract: The public healthcare sector in developing countries face many challenges, including weak healthcare systems and under resourced facilities that deliver poor outcomes relative to total healthcare expenditure. Healthcare delivery, access to healthcare and cost containment has the potential for improvement through more efficient healthcare resource management. Global references demonstrate that information technology (IT) has the ability to assist in this regard through the automation of processes, thus reducing the inefficiencies of manually driven processes and lowering transaction costs. This study examines the impact of new systems implementations on service delivery, user adoption and organizational culture within the hospital setting in South Africa, as perceived by doctors, nurses and hospital administrators. The research provides some insight into the reasons for investing in system automation, the associated outcomes, and organiztional factors that impact the successful adoption of IT systems. In addition, it finds that sustainable success in these initiatives is as much a function of the technology as it is of the change management function that must accompany the system implementation.
    Keywords: Hospital information systems; healthcare management; electronic health records; South Africa, mixed methods
    Date: 2011
  6. By: LIU, Ju (CIRCLE, Lund University)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the structure of the intra-firm innovation networks (IntraINs) and the inter-organisational innovation networks (InterINs) of six leading manufacturing companies in the Great Zurich Area of Switzerland and the Sichuan province of China. It assesses the regional institutional environments (RIEs) of these two regions and explores their impact on the connectedness of both the IntraINs and InterINs of the case companies. It finds that RIE has no apparent impact on the case firms’ IntraINs. The impact of RIE on the InterINs is mainly manifested through its impact on the connections among the outside organisations rather than the direct connections between the focal firms and their outside collaborators. It is suggested that for helping big companies to build up innovation networks, public policy should be deployed to improve the RIE instead of directly bridging firms and the outside organisations which the firms can do it well by themselves.
    Keywords: Innovation network; Regional institutional environment; Intra-firm; Inter-organisational; Chin; Switzerland
    JEL: O30
    Date: 2011–10–21

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