nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2013‒09‒13
five papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. Why are product prices in online markets not converging? By Takayuki Mizuno; Tsutomu Watanabe
  2. Digitale medien in B2B-Beschaffungsprozessen - eine explorative Untersuchung By Klaus Backhaus; Ole Bröker; Philipp Brüne; Philipp Gausling
  3. Communicating with Farmers through Social Networks By Ariel BenYishay; A. Mushfiq Mobarak
  4. If MOOCS are the answer – did we ask the right questions? Implications for the design of large-scale open online courses By Marco Kalz; Marcus Specht
  5. The value of disclosing IPR to open standard setting organizations By Hussinger, Katrin; Schwiebacher, Franz

  1. By: Takayuki Mizuno (National Institute of Informatics, Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo, The Canon Institute for Global Studies); Tsutomu Watanabe (Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo, The Canon Institute for Global Studies)
    Abstract: Why are product prices in online markets dispersed in spite of very small search costs? To address this question, we construct a unique dataset from a Japanese price comparison site, which records price quotes offered by e-retailers as well as customers’ clicks on products, which occur when they proceed to purchase the product. We find that the distribution of prices retailers quote for a particular product at a particular point in time (divided by the lowest price) follows an exponential distribution, showing the presence of substantial price dispersion. For example, 20 percent of all retailers quote prices that are more than 50 percent higher than the lowest price. Next, comparing the probability that customers click on a retailer with a particular rank and the probability that retailers post prices at a particular rank, we show that both decline exponentially with price rank and that the exponents associated with the probabilities are quite close. This suggests that the reason why some retailers set prices at a level substantially higher than the lowest price is that they know that some customers will choose them even at that high price. Based on these findings, we hypothesize that price dispersion in online markets stems from heterogeneity in customers’ preferences over retailers; that is, customers choose a set of candidate retailers based on their preferences, which are heterogeneous across customers, and then pick a particular retailer among the candidates based on the price ranking.
    Date: 2013–04
  2. By: Klaus Backhaus; Ole Bröker; Philipp Brüne; Philipp Gausling
    Abstract: Die vorliegende Studie befasst sich mit dem Einsatz von digitalen Medien in B2B-Beschaffungsprozessen im deutschen Markt. Dieser wird in der existierenden Literatur nur unzureichend erfasst. Zum einen wird die Vielfalt digitaler Medien nicht berücksichtigt. Zum anderen werden die Heterogenität des B2B-Marktes und ihr Einfluss auf die Ausgestaltung von Beschaffungsprozessen außer Acht gelassen. Auf Basis des Geschäftstypenansatzes von BACKHAUS (1998) wird daher ein Konzept zur Unterscheidung unterschiedlicher Beschaffungssituationen erarbeitet. Die Höhe des Risikos wird dabei als entscheidender Einflussfaktor identifiziert. In einer zweistufigen, explorativ-empirischen Untersuchung wird zunächst eine qualitative Analyse von Tiefeninterviews mit Experten aus dem B2B-Bereich durchgeführt. Die daraus abgeleiteten Erkenntnisse über Beschaffungsprozesse im B2B-Bereich und die Relevanz digitaler Medien werden im Rahmen einer Befragung auf Beschaffungsseite im Hinblick auf ihre Generalisierbarkeit überprüft. Die empirische Untersuchung ergibt, dass die Ausgestaltung von B2B-Beschaffungsprozessen im Wesentlichen von produktbezogenen und systembezogenen Risiken abhängt. Insgesamt ergeben sich drei unterschiedliche Gruppen von Beschaffungsprozessen, die sich in Bezug auf Formalisierungsgrad, Phasen, Beschaffungsdauer und Zahl der beteiligten Personen im Buying Center unterscheiden. Für jede dieser Gruppen werden Aussagen bezüglich der Nutzung und Relevanz von Online-Medien getroffen und Handlungsempfehlungen für das digitale Marketing abgeleitet. Für alle Beschaffungsprozesse gilt, dass aufgrund der zunehmenden Digitalisierung des Online-Bereichs in den nächsten Jahren bei der Kommunikationspolitik der Fokus zunehmend auf den Online-Bereich zu setzen ist. --
    Keywords: Online-Marketing,Digitale Medien,B2B-Beschaffungsprozesse,Webseiten,Suchmaschinen,Internet,Business-to-business
    Date: 2013–09–03
  3. By: Ariel BenYishay (University of New South Wales); A. Mushfiq Mobarak (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)
    Abstract: Low adoption of productive agricultural technologies is a puzzle. Agricultural extension services rely on external agents to communicate with farmers, although social networks are known to be the most credible source of information about new technologies. We conduct a large-scale field experiment on communication strategies in which extension workers are partnered with different members of social networks. We show that communicator actions and effort are susceptible to small performance incentives, and adoption rates vary by communicator type. Communicators who face conditions most comparable to target farmers are the most persuasive. Incorporating communication dynamics can enrich the literature on social learning.
    Keywords: social learning, agriculture, technology adoption, Malawi
    JEL: O33 O13 Q16
    Date: 2013–08
  4. By: Marco Kalz (Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies (CELSTEC), Open University of the Netherlands, P.O. Box 2960, 6401 DL Heerlen, The Netherlands, E-mail:, Tel: +31-455762718); Marcus Specht
    Abstract: In this conference contribution we deal with the phenomenon of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Based on summary of the state of the art we discuss aspects of the learning design of MOOCs that have not been sufficiently studied. More specifically we discuss the issue of diversity and support facilities in MOOCs. We introduce the concept of learning networks and learner support services that have been developed to enable personalized learning scenarios in large-scale online environments. We report about a learning design for large-scale open online courses that has been evaluated and further developed in the last year. Last but not least we discuss future research.
    Keywords: MOOC, technology-enhanced learning, learning networks, diversity, learner-support, learning design
    Date: 2013–09
  5. By: Hussinger, Katrin; Schwiebacher, Franz
    Abstract: Open standard-setting organizations (SSOs) have emerged as important coordination and diffusion mechanism for information and communication technologies. Open standards are developed non-discriminatorily and licensed to anybody at reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Little is known about the value of IP contributions to open standards for technology providers. This paper provides a large-scale empirical assessment thereof. Our findings show that disclosure of standard-relevant IP ownership is valued positively by financial markets only if the disclosure refers explicitly to associated patents. The loss of exclusivity to IPR appears to be outweighed by the expected benefits from open standards. Patents appear to signal the technological quality of IP contributions from firms with low R&D intensities. --
    Keywords: Open standards,IP disclosures,market value
    JEL: O32 O34 L15
    Date: 2013

This nep-ict issue is ©2013 by Walter Frisch. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.