nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2014‒06‒02
twelve papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. Net Neutrality with Competing Internet Platforms By Bourreau, Marc; Kourandi, Frago; Valletti, Tommaso
  2. The impact of ICT in public and private universities in Sudan By Nour S.
  3. Pricing Internet Traffic: Exclusion, Signalling and Screening By Jullien, Bruno; Sand-Zantman, Wilfried
  4. Access and use of ICT in female-owned SMEs in selected Arab Countries and Brazil: A comparative study By Mona Farid Badran, PhD
  5. The distinct effects of Information Technology and Communication Technology on firm organization By Bloom, Nicholas; Garicano, Luis; Sadun, Raffaella; Van Reenen, John
  6. IT and Management in America By Bloom, Nicholas; Brynjolfsson, Erik; Foster, Lucia; Jarmin, Ron; Patnaik, Megha; Saporta-Eksten, Itay; Van Reenen, John
  7. Online Survey on "Exams and Written Papers". Documentation By Marc Höglinger; Ben Jann; Andreas Diekmann
  8. ICTs and Development, What is Missing? By Rosenberger, Sascha
  9. Consumer Policy Guidance on Mobile and Online Payments By OECD
  10. Regional inequalities in the impact of broadband on productivity: Evidence from Brazil By Jung, Juan
  11. Viral Altruism? Generosity and Social Contagion in Online Networks By Lacetera, Nicola; Macis, Mario; Mele, Angelo
  12. Weak Versus Strong Net Neutrality By Joshua S. Gans

  1. By: Bourreau, Marc; Kourandi, Frago; Valletti, Tommaso
    Abstract: We propose a two-sided model with two competing Internet platforms, and a continuum of Content Providers (CPs). We study the effect of a net neutrality regulation on capacity investments in the market for Internet access, and on innovation in the market for content. Under the alternative discriminatory regime, platforms charge a priority fee to those CPs which are willing to deliver their content on a fast lane. We find that under discrimination investments in broadband capacity and content innovation are both higher than under net neutrality. Total welfare increases, though the discriminatory regime is not always beneficial to the platforms as it can intensify competition for subscribers. As platforms have a unilateral incentive to switch to the discriminatory regime, a prisoner's dilemma can arise. We also consider the possibility of sabotage, and show that it can only emerge, with adverse welfare effects, under discrimination.
    Keywords: Innovation; Investment; Net neutrality; Platform competition; Two-sided markets
    JEL: L13 L51 L52 L96
    Date: 2014–02
  2. By: Nour S. (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: This paper examines the impacts of ICT in public and private Sudanese universities. We verify the first and third hypotheses that the use of ICT facilitates connection, networks and collaboration within public and private universities in Sudan, with local, regional and international institutions. We support the second hypothesis that the use of ICT enhances access, production and dissemination of knowledge in Sudanese universities. We support the fourth hypothesis that the use of ICT introduces a creative-destruction effect by providing opportunities for knowledge production, building connection and organizational changes; but simultaneously also creates hazards to knowledge production and building disconnection for those who do not share the knowledge in public and private Sudanese universities. We show that the most important advantages linked to using the Internet for enhancing production, creation and transfer of knowledge include the increase of digital knowledge for academic and researchers, the rapid quantitative and qualitative increase in transferring information, the development of new models for disseminating and distributing electronic information, and the increase of free access to electronic publications for academic purposes. We find that the main problem related to using the Internet is the lack of a regular budget for university libraries to pay for licenses and access to scientific and technical information. Key words ICT; ICT demand; ICT impacts; public-private universities; knowledge; Sudan
    Keywords: Economic Development: General; Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development; Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights: General;
    JEL: O10 O12 O30
    Date: 2014
  3. By: Jullien, Bruno; Sand-Zantman, Wilfried
    Abstract: We consider a network that intermediates traffic between free content providers and consumers. While consumers do not know the traffic cost when deciding on consumption, a content provider knows his cost but may not control the consumption. We study how pricing consumers' and content providers' sides allows both profit extraction from the network and efficient information transmission. In the case of uniform tariff, we argue that a positive price-cap on the charge to content is optimal (with no constrain on the consumer side). Proposing menus helps signaling useful information to consumers and therefore adjusting consumption to traffic cost. In the case of menus, we show that optimal mechanisms consist in letting the content producers choose between different categories associated with different prices for content and consumers. Our results are robust to competition between ISPs and to competition between contents. We also show that when (competitive) content providers choose at small cost between a pay and a free business model, a price-cap at cost on the price for content improves efficiency.
    Keywords: information; intranet; net neutrality; traffic management
    JEL: D4 L1 L86 L96
    Date: 2014–03
  4. By: Mona Farid Badran, PhD (Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo, Egypt)
    Abstract: This research paper aims to present a comparative empirical study, to investigate the impact that ICT plays on empowering women entrepreneurs in 5 developing/ emerging countries, namely Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, and Brazil. The World Bank's Investment Climate Assessment Surveys (ICA), are the primary source for data, for the four Arab countries, and Brazil. The ICA database provides comparable enterprise level data based on similar sampling techniques. The results obtained from the empirical study reveal that in the selected Arab countries, the increase in female owned SMEs is associated with a decrease in the Internal Rate of Return. However, when we control for ICT in terms of ICT index constructed using the Principal component analysis technique (PCA), the female owned SMEs becomes statistically insignificant, as well as the ICT index. This implies that IRR is negatively associated with the female owners of the SME, and there is a no association between IRR and the access and use of ICT. In Brazil, however, neither gender nor ICT played any role in the profitability of SMEs. However, as for the other measure for economic performance, namely the labor intensity, the findings reveal that in the selected Arab countries, the ICT index has a positive, statically significant, association with laborintensity, while in Brazil the usage of a Website has a negative, statistically significant, association with the labor-intensity.
    Keywords: SMEs, females, Arab countries, Brazil, ICT, ICA survey
    JEL: J16 M13
    Date: 2014–05
  5. By: Bloom, Nicholas; Garicano, Luis; Sadun, Raffaella; Van Reenen, John
    Abstract: Guided by theories of management by exception, we study the impact of Information and Communication Technology on worker and plant manager autonomy and span of control. The theory suggests that information technology is a decentralizing force, whereas communication technology is a centralizing force. Using a new dataset of American and European manufacturing firms, we find indeed that better information technologies (Enterprise Resource Planning for plant managers and CAD/CAM for production workers) are associated with more autonomy and a wider span, while technologies that improve communication (like data intranets) decrease autonomy for workers and plant managers. Using instrumental variables (distance from ERP's birthplace and heterogeneous telecommunication costs arising from regulation) strengthens our results.
    Keywords: communication technology; delegation; information technology; organization; theory of the firm
    JEL: F23 O31 O32 O33
    Date: 2013–11
  6. By: Bloom, Nicholas; Brynjolfsson, Erik; Foster, Lucia; Jarmin, Ron; Patnaik, Megha; Saporta-Eksten, Itay; Van Reenen, John
    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; organization; productivity
    JEL: M2
    Date: 2014–03
  7. By: Marc Höglinger; Ben Jann; Andreas Diekmann
    Abstract: In spring 2011, the students of the University of Bern and ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Switzerland were invited to participate in an online survey called "Exams and written papers" ("Prüfungen und schriftliche Arbeiten an der Universität Bern" at the University of Bern and "Prüfungen und schriftliche Arbeiten an der ETH Zürich" at the ETH Zurich). The goal of the survey was to estimate the prevalence of various forms of student misconduct such as plagiarizing or cheating in exams. Because students might be reluctant to reveal information on such behaviors, special techniques for sensitive questions were employed in addition to direct questioning. Respondents were randomly assigned to direct questioning or one of five different sensitive question techniques. A comparison of the techniques' results indicates whether direct questioning is affected by social desirability bias and whether students are more inclined to provide honest answers if interviewed by so-called dejeopardizing questioning techniques. Sensitive question techniques evaluated in this survey are three different implementations of the Randomized Response Technique as well as two variants of the recently proposed Crosswise Model. Since the survey was conducted via the internet, special effort was put into developing implementations of the RRT and the CM suitable for self-administered online interviews. This document describes the design of the survey and the questionnaire and provides details on the different implementations of the RRT and the CM, the field work, and the resulting dataset. The appendix contains a codebook of the data and facsimiles of the questionnaire pages and other survey materials.
    Keywords: online survey, sensitive questions, plagiarism, exam cheating, randomized response technique, crosswise model
    JEL: C81 C83
    Date: 2014–05–22
  8. By: Rosenberger, Sascha
    Abstract: A review of literature indicates that most approaches emphasize bridging the digital divide, an approach focused solely on material gaps. However, the digital divide is perhaps the last of many, preceded by social, educational, economic, knowledge, and motivational divides. This stems from an incomplete assessment of the underlying characteristics of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), which helps to perpetuate positivist approaches to technology deployment between social groups inside countries, as well as between countries. ICT4D is therefore seen as a misnomer that puts undue pressure on developing countries and neglects the responsibilities of actors in developed countries. The application of the notions of freedom, as presented by Sen and Stallman, in the analysis of ICT4D prompts for a more thorough consideration of the characteristics of technology being pushed for use in developing countries. This leads to the conclusion that common ICT4D approaches could reinforce developing countries’ dependence on foreign actors and delay or entirely prevent the development of locally relevant and empowering solutions.
    Keywords: ICT4D; Free software; Development as freedom
    Date: 2014
  9. By: OECD
    Abstract: The OECD Committee on Consumer Policy has issued this policy guidance to boost consumer protection when using mobile and on-line payment systems and to identify ways in which policy makers and businesses can work together to strengthen consumer protection while spurring innovation in the marketplace. The guidance addresses a number of key issues in the emerging mobile and online payment area, including the need to establish minimum levels of consumer protection across payment mechanisms, enhanced privacy and child protection, and standards for transparent and accessible information disclosures
    Date: 2014–05–16
  10. By: Jung, Juan
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to perform an analysis of the impact of broadband on regional productivity in Brazil. The possibility of performing a regional approach, instead of the usual country-level analysis, constitutes an opportunity to decode the economic impact of broadband at territories which share a common institutional and regulatory framework as are the regions inside a same country. The main focus of this paper is to find out if the economic impact of broadband is uniform across all territories of the country. Results suggest that the impact of broadband on productivity is not uniform across regions, and seems to be yielding higher productivity gains for less developed regions, a result which is robust after controlling for differences in quality, network effects, human capital, sectorial composition, urbanism and the age of the workforce. Another important result verified in this paper is that faster download speed and critical mass to account for network externalities enhance of the economic impact of broadband. The fact that most underdeveloped regions in Brazil seem to be benefiting more from broadband may suggest that broadband can constitute a factor favoring regional cohesion in Brazil, although further research will be needed to confirm that asseveration.
    Keywords: Broadband, Information and Communication Technologies, Regional Productivity
    JEL: O33 O47 R11
    Date: 2014–05–23
  11. By: Lacetera, Nicola (University of Toronto); Macis, Mario (Johns Hopkins University); Mele, Angelo (Johns Hopkins University)
    Abstract: How do the social media affect the success of charitable promotional campaigns? We use individual-level longitudinal data and experimental data from a social-media application that facilitates donations while broadcasting donors' activities to their contacts. We find that broadcasting is positively associated with donations, although some individuals appear to opportunistically broadcast a pledge, and then delete it. Furthermore, broadcasting a pledge is associated with more pledges by a user's contacts. However, results from a field experiment where broadcasting of the initial pledges was randomized suggest that the observational findings were likely due to homophily rather than genuine social contagion effects. The experiment also shows that, although our campaigns generated considerable attention in the forms of clicks and “likes,” only a small number of donations (30 out of 6.4 million users reached) were made. Finally, an online survey experiment showed that both the presence of an intermediary and a fee contributed to the low donation rate. Our findings suggest that online platforms for charitable giving may stimulate costless forms of involvement, but have a smaller impact on actual donations, and that network effects might be limited when it comes to contributing real money to charities.
    Keywords: altruism, fundraising, social media, network effects, field experiments
    JEL: D64 C93
    Date: 2014–05
  12. By: Joshua S. Gans
    Abstract: This paper provides a framework to classify and evaluate the impact of net neutrality regulations on the allocation of consumer attention and the distribution of surplus between consumers, ISPs and content providers. While the model provided largely nests other contributions in the literature, here the focus is on including direct payments from consumers to content providers. With this additional price it is demonstrated that the type of net neutrality regulation (i.e., weak versus strong net neutrality) matters for such regulations to have real effects. In addition, we provide support for the notion that strong net neutrality may stimulate content provider investment while the model concludes that there is unlikely to be any negative impact from such regulation on ISP investment. Counter to many claims, it is argued here that ISP competition may not be a substitute for net neutrality regulation in bringing about these effects
    JEL: D04 D42 D43 K2 L1 L12 L13
    Date: 2014–05

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