nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2014‒03‒01
seven papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. The European Union's broadband challenge By Roslyn Layton
  2. The Effects of Shared School Technology Access on Students Digital Skills in Peru By Bet, German; Cristia, Julián P.; Ibarrarán, Pablo
  3. When Identifying Contributors is Costly: An Experiment on Public Goods By Anya Savikhin Samek; Roman M. Sheremeta
  4. Anatomy of grand corruption: A composite corruption risk index based on objective data By Mihaly Fazekas; Istvan Janos Toth; Lawrence Peter King
  5. Information Technologies and Provision of National Identification Cards by the Bolivian Police: Evidence from Two Randomized Natural Field Experiments By Chong, Alberto; Machicado, Carlos Gustavo; Yanez-Pagans, Monica
  6. Reshaping financial systems. New technologies and financial innovations - evidence from the United States, Mexico and Brazil By Ewa Lechman; Adam Marszk
  7. IT and Management in America By Nicholas Bloom; Erik Brynjolfsson; Lucia Foster; Ron Jarmin; Megha Patnaik; Itay Saporta-Eksten; John Van Reenen

  1. By: Roslyn Layton
    Abstract: Although it is often idealized as a technologically connected continent, Europe’s broadband system is actually highly fragmented and in great need of overall improvement. The European Union should simplify and reduce regulation of broadband providers, remove barriers to consolidation, and embrace a market-led, technology-neutral approach to broadband.
    Keywords: tech policy,internet regulation,European Union,CICT-feed,broadband
    JEL: A O
    Date: 2014–02
  2. By: Bet, German (Northwestern University); Cristia, Julián P. (Inter-American Development Bank); Ibarrarán, Pablo (Inter-American Development Bank)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of increased shared computer access in secondary schools in Peru. Administrative data are used to identify, through propensity-score matching, two groups of schools with similar observable educational inputs but different intensity in computer access. Extensive primary data collected from the 202 matched schools are used to determine whether increased shared computer access at schools affects digital skills and academic achievement. Results suggest that small increases in shared computer access, one more computer per 40 students, can produce large increases in digital skills (0.3 standard deviations). No effects are found on test scores in Math and Language.
    Keywords: technology, education, digital skills, impact evaluation
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2014–02
  3. By: Anya Savikhin Samek (School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison); Roman M. Sheremeta (Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University and the Economic Science Institute, Chapman University,)
    Abstract: Studies show that identifying contributors significantly increases contributions to public goods. In practice, however, viewing identifiable information is costly, which may discourage people from accessing such information. To address this question, we design a public goods experiment in which participants can pay a fee to view information about identities and corresponding contributions of their group members. We then compare this to a treatment in which there is no identifiable information, and a treatment in which all contributors are freely identified. Our main findings are that: (1) contributions in the treatment with costly information are as high as those in the treatment with free information, (2) participants choose to view the information about 10% of the time, and (3) being a high contributor is positively correlated with choosing to view identifiable information about others. Thus, it seems that having access to information is important even when such information is rarely viewed. Or findings have practical implications for non-profit organizations with a large pool of donors and for designers of recognition systems, especially in online communities with many participants.
    Keywords: public-goods, information, experiments
    JEL: C72 C91 H41
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Mihaly Fazekas (University of Cambridge Faculty of Politics, Psychology, Sociology); Istvan Janos Toth (Centre for Economic and Regional Studies Hungarian Academy of Sciences); Lawrence Peter King (Department of Sociology University of Cambridge)
    Abstract: Although both the academic and policy communities have attached great importance to measuring corruption, most of the currently available measures are biased and too broad to test theory or guide policy. This article proposes a new composite indicator of grand corruption based on a wide range of elementary indicators. These indicators are derived from a rich qualitative evidence on public procurement corruption and a statistical analysis of a public procurement data in Hungary. The composite indicator is constructed by linking public procurement process 'red flags' to restrictions of market access. This method utilizes administrative data that is available in practically every developed country and avoids the pitfalls both of perception based indicators and previous 'objective' measures of corruption. It creates an estimation of institutionalised grand corruption that is consistent over time and across countries. The composite indicator is validated using company profitability and political connections data.
    Keywords: public procurement, grand corruption, corruption technique, composite corruption risk index
    JEL: D72 D73 H57
    Date: 2014–01
  5. By: Chong, Alberto (University of Ottawa); Machicado, Carlos Gustavo (INSEAD); Yanez-Pagans, Monica (World Bank)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the potential of information technologies to improve public service delivery and empower citizens in the context of two unusual randomized natural experiments occurring within one particular bureaucratic process: the renewal of a national identification card by the Bolivian Police. The first experiment arises from the random assignment of both police officers and applicants to a manual or digital renewal process, which is identical in all aspects except that the digital renewal process makes use of information technologies as part of the renewal process. The second experiment arises by the existence of technical failures within the digital renewal process, which allows police officers to change from the digital to the manual renewal process randomly across renewal day. The efficiency of public service delivery is measured in terms of both renewal success rates (which average to a strikingly low rate of 72 percent in our sample) and time-it-takes to renew an identification card. We find that information technologies significantly improve the quality of public service delivery. Also, we find that information technologies significantly lower barriers in access to national identification cards by promoting a more equitable provision across the population. We discuss several channels through which technologies might be improving efficiency and promoting equity within this particular bureaucratic process. Overall, our findings suggest that information technologies might be achieving these goals by introducing efficiencies (such as reducing administrative shortcomings and transaction costs), and limiting the exercise of discretion by police officers within the renewal process.
    Keywords: public service delivery, technologies, Bolivia, natural experiment
    JEL: C93 O38 J24
    Date: 2014–02
  6. By: Ewa Lechman (Gdansk University of Technology, Gdansk, Poland); Adam Marszk (Gdansk University of Technology, Gdansk, Poland)
    Abstract: The paper unveils whether ICT diffusion determines development of financial innovation in emerging economies. Particularly, we examine the impact of ICT adoption on changing values of exchange traded funds in Brazil and Mexico, comparing it to the United States as reference country (benchmark). Our methodological framework includes descriptive statistics, logistic growth models (used to estimate ETFs growth) and generalized linear models (used to check for relationship between ICT adoption and ETFs value). In each case we run country-specific estimates. Data on ICT adoption (approximated by Internet Users and Fixed Broadband Subscriptions) are exclusively derived from World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database 2012 (16th edition), and exchange traded funds from funds’ providers and reports published by BlackRock. Analysis period is set for 2000-2012. Empirical findings collectively conclude that in all three countries, growth of ICT was pervasive, and this was accompanied by fast development of exchange traded funds in Mexico and in the United States, measured by increases in assets under management. Moreover, in the period 2002-2012 Mexico has caught up with the United States in terms of ETFs share in total investment funds (sum of assets of ETFs and mutual funds). In Brazil, even though ETFs growth rates were high, in 2012 share of ETFs in investment funds remained at a relatively lower level of 0.17%. Additionally, the relationship between ICT adoption and ETFs development was reported as strong, positive and statistically significant in each of analyzed countries.
    Keywords: emerging markets, ICT, ETFs
    JEL: G11 G23 O16 O33 O57
    Date: 2014–01
  7. By: Nicholas Bloom; Erik Brynjolfsson; Lucia Foster; Ron Jarmin; Megha Patnaik; Itay Saporta-Eksten; John Van Reenen
    Abstract: The Census Bureau recently conducted a survey of management practices in over 30,000 plants across the US, the first large-scale survey of management in America. Analyzing these data reveals several striking results. First, more structured management practices are tightly linked to higher levels of IT intensity in terms of a higher expenditure on IT and more on-line sales. Likewise, more structured management is strongly linked with superior performance: establishments adopting more structured practices for performance monitoring, target setting and incentives enjoy greater productivity and profitability, higher rates of innovation and faster employment growth. Second, there is a substantial dispersion of management practices across the establishments. We find that 18% of establishments have adopted at least 75% of these more structured management practices, while 27% of establishments adopted less than 50% of these. Third, more structured management practices are more likely to be found in establishments that export, who are larger (or are part of bigger firms), and have more educated employees. Establishments in the South and Midwest have more structured practices on average than those in the Northeast and West. Finally, we find adoption of structured management practices has increased between 2005 and 2010 for surviving establishments, particularly for those practices involving data collection and analysis.
    Keywords: IT, Management, Productivity, Organization
    JEL: M1
    Date: 2014–02

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