nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2013‒01‒26
four papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. Time Scarcity and the Market for News By Larbi Alaoui; Fabrizio Germano
  2. Does Information Help or Hinder Job Applicants from Less Developed Countries in Online Markets? By Ajay K. Agrawal; Nicola Lacetera; Elizabeth Lyons
  3. Health Information Technology and Patient Outcomes: The Role of Organizational and Informational Complementarities By Jeffery S. McCullough; Stephen Parente; Robert Town
  4. Challenges and opportunities of mobile phone-based data collection : evidence from South Sudan By Demombynes, Gabriel; Gubbins, Paul; Romeo, Alessandro

  1. By: Larbi Alaoui; Fabrizio Germano
    Abstract: We develop a general theory of news media. News consumers are time constrained and perform a (possibly subconscious) optimal search, given the amount of time they possess. Their utility functions are general and allow for complementarities over the amount of information they acquire on any given topic. Media outlets are aware of consumers' preferences and constraints, and aim to maximize readership. These outlets observe the news items of the day and decide on a ranking to provide to readers. They cannot falsify or misreport news. In the baseline model readers and outlets are unbiased and fully rational. <br><br> We then derive basic properties of equilibria on these markets for news. In particular, equilibrium rankings need not be reader-efficient. Even in competitive markets, readers may read more than they would like to; they may read stories distinct from the ones they prefer and on topics that are different from the ones they consider to be important. Next, we derive implications on diverse aspects of new and traditional media. These include a rationale for tabloid news based on complementarities in preferences, a rationale for why readers switch to certain online media platforms as a way to circumvent inefficient rankings found in traditional media, and the derivation of a positive role for public media in restoring reader-efficient standards. Finally, we relate some of our findings to recent stylized facts, and brie y discuss political economy implications of the model.
    Keywords: media economics, media competition, information search, time preference, news ranking, digital media, internet, new and traditional media, public media, tabloid news, media bias
    JEL: D03 L13 L82
    Date: 2012–12
  2. By: Ajay K. Agrawal; Nicola Lacetera; Elizabeth Lyons
    Abstract: Online markets reduce certain transaction costs related to global outsourcing. We focus on the role of verified work experience information in affecting online hiring decisions. Prior research shows that additional information about job applicants may disproportionately help or hinder disadvantaged populations. Using data from a major online contract labor platform, we find that contractors from less developed countries (LDCs) are disadvantaged relative to those from developed countries (DCs) in terms of their likelihood of being hired. However, we also find that although verified experience information increases the likelihood of being hired for all applicants, this effect is disproportionately large for LDC contractors. The LDC experience premium applies to other outcomes as well (wage bids, obtaining an interview, being shortlisted). Moreover, it is stronger for experienced employers, suggesting that learning is required to interpret this information. Finally, other platform tools (e.g., monitoring) partially substitute for the LDC experience premium; this provides additional support for the interpretation that the effect is due to information about experience rather than skills acquired from experience. We discuss implications for the geography of production and public policy.
    JEL: F01 J24 J7 O19 O33
    Date: 2013–01
  3. By: Jeffery S. McCullough; Stephen Parente; Robert Town
    Abstract: Health information technology (IT) adoption, it is argued, will dramatically improve patient care. We study the impact of hospital IT adoption on patient outcomes focusing on the roles of technological and organizational complements in affecting IT's value and explore underlying mechanisms through which IT facilitates the coordination of labor inputs. We link detailed hospital discharge data on all Medicare fee-for-service admissions from 2002-2007 to detailed hospital-level IT adoption information. We employ a difference-in-differences strategy to identify the parameters of interest. For all IT sensitive conditions we find that health IT adoption reduces mortality for the most complex patients but does not affect outcomes for the median patient. This implies that the benefits from IT adoption are skewed to large institutions with a severe case mix. We decompose the impact of health IT into care coordination, clinical information management, and other components. The benefits from health IT are primarily experienced by patients whose diagnoses require cross-specialty care coordination and extensive clinical information management.
    JEL: D24 I12
    Date: 2013–01
  4. By: Demombynes, Gabriel; Gubbins, Paul; Romeo, Alessandro
    Abstract: The proliferation of mobile phones in developing countries has generated a wave of interest in collecting high-frequency socioeconomic surveys using this technology. This paper considers lessons from one such survey effort in a difficult environment -- the South Sudan Experimental Phone Survey, which gathered data on living conditions, access to services, and citizen attitudes via monthly interviews by phones provided to respondents. Non-response, particularly in later rounds of the survey, was a substantial problem, largely due to erratic functioning of the mobile network. However, selection due to non-response does not appear to have markedly affected survey results. Response rates were much higher for respondents who owned their own phones. Both compensation provided to respondents in the form of airtime and the type of phone (solar-charged or traditional) were varied experimentally. The type of phone was uncorrelated with response rates and, contrary to expectation, attrition was slightly higher for those receiving the higher level of compensation. The South Sudan Experimental Phone Survey experience suggests that mobile phones can be a viable means of data collection for some purposes, that calling people on their own phones is preferred to handing out phones, and that careful attention should be given to the potential for selective non-response.
    Keywords: E-Business,ICT Policy and Strategies,Social Analysis,Housing&Human Habitats,Social Accountability
    Date: 2013–01–01

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