nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2014‒05‒09
six papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. E-participation: social capital and the Internet By Sabatini, Fabio; Sarracino, Francesco
  2. Online and offline social participation and social poverty traps. Can social networks save human relations? By Antoci, Angelo; Sabatini, Fabio; Sodini, Mauro
  3. Digital files dealers and prohibition in the context of the French 3 strikes (HADOPI) law By Sylvain Dejean; Raphaël Suire
  4. Information technologies and provision of national identificacion cards by the Bolivian Police: Evidence from two randomized natural field experiments By Alberto Chong; Gustavo Machicado Salas; Monica Yanez-Pagans
  5. Children, ICT and Development: Capturing the potential, meeting the challenges By Dorothea Kleine; David Hollow; Sammia Poveda; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
  6. The Efficiency of Private E-Money-Like Systems: The U.S. Experience with State Bank Notes By Warren E. Weber

  1. By: Sabatini, Fabio; Sarracino, Francesco
    Abstract: We add to the literature by conducting the first empirical assessment of how online networking affects two economically relevant aspects of social capital, i.e. trust and sociability, in a large and representative sample. We address endogeneity in online networking by exploiting technological characteristics of the pre-existing voice telecommunication infrastructures that exogenously determined the availability of broadband for high-speed Internet. We find that participation in SNSs such as Facebook and Twitter has a positive effect on face-to-face interactions. However, social trust decreases with online interactions. We argue that the rising practice of hate speech may play a crucial role in the destruction of trust.
    Keywords: social participation; online networks; Facebook; social trust; social capital; broadband; digital divide; hate speech
    JEL: C36 D85 O33 Z13
    Date: 2014–05–04
  2. By: Antoci, Angelo; Sabatini, Fabio; Sodini, Mauro
    Abstract: In this study, we develop an evolutionary game model to analyse how human relations evolve in a context characterised by declining face-to-face interactions and growing online social participation. Our results suggest that online networks may constitute a coping response allowing individuals to “defend” their social life from increasing busyness and a reduction in the time available for leisure. Internet-mediated interaction can play a positive role in preventing the disruption of ties and the weakening of community life documented by empirical studies. In this scenario, the digital divide is likely to become an increasingly relevant factor of social exclusion, which may exacerbate inequalities in well-being and capabilities.
    Keywords: social participation; online networks; social capital; well-being; digital divide
    JEL: C73 D85 O33 Z13
    Date: 2014–05–03
  3. By: Sylvain Dejean (LR-MOS, University of La Rochelle, France); Raphaël Suire (CREM UMR CNRS 6211, University of Rennes 1, France)
    Abstract: Illegal digital file consumption is widely believed to influence sales of cultural goods. Online piracy is now  regulated  and  prohibited  in  some  countries,  especially  in  France,  where  HADOPI  is  a  legal  authority in charge of Peer-­‐to-­‐Peer (P2P) protocol monitoring. We claim that prohibitions on digital markets  share  some  characteristics  of  other  criminal  activities  such  as  those  of  the  drug  market.  Prohibition of a good or service can lead to the emergence of a black market embedded in a social network.  Based  on  an  original  and  representative  2012  French  survey,  we  show  that  such  a  social  and offline organisation is observed. Indeed, offline swapping is now the largest way to exchange digital  files.  We  show  that  offline  swapping  is  embedded  in  a  hierarchical  social  network  where  different behaviours are observed. On one hand, there are wholesalers of digital files who provide more than they receive from this offline network and maintain online downloading activity through P2P technology. On the other hand, there are also the “simple” consumers who consume only from offline  swapping  and  never  provide  files  to  others.  They  never  use  monitored  P2P  technology  because HADOPI acts as a deterrent. Our econometric analysis suggest that this “fear” of HADOPI plays a significant role in structuring this offline swapping network, as the position in the swapping network is driven by the feeling of being threatened by HADOPI.
    Keywords: HADOPI, social network, piracy, prohibition, offline swapping
    Date: 2014–04
  4. By: Alberto Chong (Elliott School of International Aairs, George Washington University); Gustavo Machicado Salas (Institute for Advanced Development Studies (INESAD)); Monica Yanez-Pagans (Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network, The 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. The causal effect of information technologies on public service delivery is estimated using two different identification strategies. In the first one, applicant-police oficer pairs randomly assigned to each one of these two renewal processes are compared after controlling for renewal day fixed effects. In the second one, applicant-police officer pairs randomly assigned to the digital process are compared to those randomly assigned to this same process but who experienced a technical failure within the process, which allows to directly control for unobserved heterogeneity at the police officer level. We find that information technologies significantly improve the quality of public service delivery. Applicants randomly assigned to the digital renewal process are on average 12 percentage points more likely to complete the renewal process as compared to those randomly assigned to the manual one. Further, successful applicants randomly assigned to the digital process take on average 31 percent less time to complete the process as compared to those randomly assigned to the manual one. Lastly, 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: Field experiments, government policy, human capital
    JEL: C93 O38 J24
    Date: 2014–03
  5. By: Dorothea Kleine; David Hollow; Sammia Poveda; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
    Abstract: ICTs are not a technical sphere detached from the complex realities of children’s lives. They are increasingly woven into the very fabric of life, in income-rich and increasingly in income-poor countries. It is clear that if there is no targeted engagement with these socio-technical innovations, they are likely to reinforce existing inequalities. It follows that a focus on children and on greater equity leads to an active and reflective engagement with the potential and challenges of ICT for development, targeting in particular marginalized children. This report serves as a key contribution on which to build informed dialogue and decision making, developed jointly between research, policy and practice.
    Keywords: children's participation; development; information networks; information technology; marginal youth; social development;
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Warren E. Weber
    Abstract: In the United States prior to 1863 each bank issued its own distinct notes. E-money shares many of the characteristics of these bank notes. This paper describes some lessons relevant to e-money from the U.S. experience with state bank notes. It examines historical evidence on how well the bank notes - a privately-issued currency system with multiple issuers - functioned with respect to ease of transacting, counterfeiting, safety, overissuance and par exchange. It finds that bank notes made transacting easier and were not subject to overissuance. However, counterfeiting of bank notes was widespread, bank notes were not perfectly safe, and notes of different banks did not exchange at par and rates of exchange were volatile. The paper also examines how bank notes were regulated and supervised and how that regulation and supervision affected the functioning of the system. The U.S. experience with state bank notes suggests that a privately-issued e-money system can operate efficiently but only with appropriate government intervention, regulation, and supervision to minimize counterfeiting and to promote safety and par exchange.
    Keywords: Bank notes, E-money, Financial services
    JEL: E E4 E41 E42 E5 E58
    Date: 2014

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