nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2012‒01‒03
five papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. Digital Divide: From Computer Access to Online Activities – A Micro Data Analysis By Pierre Montagnier; Albrecht Wirthmann
  2. From wires to partners: How the Internet has fostered R&D collaborations within firms By Chris CM Forman; Nicolas van Zeebroeck
  3. Measuring Digital Local Content By Chris Bruegge
  4. Peer effects identified through social networks. Evidence from Uruguayan schools By Gioia De Melo
  5. California Dreaming? Cross-Cluster Embeddedness and the Systematic Non-Emergence of the 'Next Silicon Valley' By Dan Breznitz; Mollie Taylor

  1. By: Pierre Montagnier; Albrecht Wirthmann
    Abstract: This study addresses issues of digital divide among households and individuals by using micro-data analysis of ICT usage patterns. The analysis includes data from 18 European countries, Korea and Canada. Inequalities in computer and Internet use are analysed in a two-step approach. First, the paper tries to better quantify and understand the factors that separate the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. Second, it tries to explain observed differences in the frequency and type of Internet use as a result of the socio-economic characteristics of households and individuals.
    Date: 2011–12–20
  2. By: Chris CM Forman; Nicolas van Zeebroeck
    Abstract: How did the diffusion of the Internet influence research collaborations within firms? We examine the relationship between business use of basic Internet technology and the size and geographic composition of industrial research teams between 1992 and 1998. We find robust empirical evidence that basic Internet adoption is associated with an increased likelihood of collaborative patents from geographically dispersed teams. On the contrary, we find no evidence of such a link between Internet adoption and within-location collaborative patents, nor do we find any evidence of a relationship between basic Internet and single-inventor patents. We interpret these results as evidence that adoption of basic Internet significantly reduced the coordination costs of research teams, but find little evidence that a drop in the costs of shared resource access significantly improved research productivity.
    Keywords: R&D organization, geography of innovation, internet adoption, IT
    JEL: O30 O32 L60
    Date: 2012
  3. By: Chris Bruegge
    Abstract: This paper discusses the ways to quantify the local content that can be delivered through the internet. Several indicators are proposed; for each indicator the paper discusses available data, presents strengths of a given measure and outlines its potential drawbacks.
    Date: 2011–12–08
  4. By: Gioia De Melo
    Abstract: This paper provides evidence on peer effects in educational achievement exploiting for the first time a unique data set on social networks within primary schools in Uruguay. The relevance of peer effects in education is still largely debated due to the identification challenges that the study of social interactions poses. I adopt a recently developed identification method that exploits detailed information on social networks, i.e. individual-specific peer groups. This method enables me to disentangle endogenous effects from contextual effects via instrumental variables that emerge naturally from the network structure. Correlated effects are controlled, to some extent, by classroom fixed effects. I find significant endogenous effects in standardized tests for reading and math. A one standard deviation increase in peers’ test score increases the individual’s test score by 40% of a standard deviation. This magnitude is comparable to the effect of having a mother that completed college. By means of a simulation I illustrate that when schools are stratified by socioeconomic status peer effects may operate as amplifiers of educational inequalities.
    JEL: I21 I24 O1
    Date: 2011–11
  5. By: Dan Breznitz; Mollie Taylor
    Abstract: The importance of social embeddedness in economic activity is now widely accepted. Embeddedness has been shown to be particularly significant in explaining the trajectory of regional development. Nonetheless, most studies of embeddeddness and its impacts have treated each locale as an independent unit. Following recent calls for the study of cross-cluster social interactions, we look at the consistent failure of numerous localities in the United States with high potential to emulate Silicon Valley and achieve sustained success in the ICT industry. The paper contends that the answer lies in high-technology clusters being part of a larger system. Therefore, we must include in our analysis of their social structure the influence of cross-cluster embeddedness of firms and entrepreneurs. These cross-clusters dynamics lead to self-reinforcing social fragmentation in the aspiring clusters and, in time, to the creation of an industrial system in the United States based on stable dominant and subordinate (feeder) clusters. The paper expands theories of industrial clusters, focusing on social capital, networks, and embeddedness arguments, to explain a world with one predominant cluster region. It utilizes a multimethod analysis of the ICT industry centered in Atlanta, Georgia, as an empirical example to elaborate and hone these theoretical arguments.
    Date: 2011

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