nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2012‒11‒11
two papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. Social preferences in the online laboratory.A randomized experiment By Jérôme Hergueux; Nicolas Jacquemet
  2. Unbundling the incumbent: Evidence from UK broadband By Nardotto, Mattia; Valletti, Tommaso; Verboven, Frank

  1. By: Jérôme Hergueux (LaRGE Research Center, Université de Strasbourg); Nicolas Jacquemet
    Abstract: Internet is a very attractive technology for experiments implementation, both in order to reach more diverse and larger samples and as a field of economic research in its own right. This paper reports on an experiment performed both online and in the laboratory, designed so as to strengthen the internal validity of decisions elicited over the Internet. We use the same subject pool, the same monetary stakes and the same decision interface, and randomly assign two groups of subjects between the Internet and a traditional University laboratory to compare behavior in a set of social preferences games. This comparison concludes in favor of the reliability of behaviors elicited through the Internet. Our behavioral results contradict the predictions of social distance theory, as we find that subjects allocated to the Internet treatment behave as if they were more altruistic, more trusting, more trustworthy and less risk averse than laboratory subjects. Those findings have practical importance for the growing community of researchers interested in using the Internet as a vehicle for social experiments and bear interesting methodological lessons for social scientists interested in using experiments to research the Internet as a field.
    Keywords: Social Experiment, Field Experiment, Internet, Methodology, Randomized Assignment.
    JEL: C90 C93 C70
    Date: 2012
  2. By: Nardotto, Mattia; Valletti, Tommaso; Verboven, Frank
    Abstract: We consider the impact of a regulatory process forcing an incumbent telecom operator to make its local broadband network available to other companies (local loop unbundling, or LLU). Entrants are then able to upgrade their individual lines and offer Internet services directly to customers. Employing a very detailed dataset covering the whole of the UK, we find that over the course of time, many entrants have begun to take advantage of LLU. However, unbundling has little or no effect on broadband penetration, compared to those areas where the loops are not unbundled. LLU entry instead has a strongly positive impact on the quality of the service provided. We also assess the impact of competition from an alternative form of technology (cable) which is not subject to regulation, and what we discover is that inter-platform competition has a positive impact on both penetration and quality.
    Keywords: broadband; competition; entry; local loop unbundling; regulation; telecommunications
    JEL: L51
    Date: 2012–10

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