nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2014‒11‒22
seven papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
Universität Wien

  1. E-participation: Social Capital and the Internet By Fabio Sabatini; Francesco Sarracino
  2. The impact of broadband quality standards on Internet services market structure In colombia By Juan Daniel Oviedo; Julian Hidalgo
  3. Supply-side barriers to cross-border e-commerce in the EU Digital Single Market By Melisande Cardona; Bertin Martens
  4. Consumer Policy Guidance on Intangible Digital Content Products By OECD
  5. Characteristics of Bitcoin Users: An Analysis of Google Search Data By Wilson, Matthew; Yelowitz, Aaron
  6. Standards, IPR and digital TV convergence: theories and empirical evidence By Matteucci, Nicola
  7. Incentive Regulation and Utility Benchmarking for Electricity Network Security By Tooraj Jamasb; Rabindra Nepal

  1. By: Fabio Sabatini (Department of Economics and Law, Sapienza University of Rome (Italy) and Laboratory for Comparative Social Research (LCSR), National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow and Saint Petersburg (Russia)); Francesco Sarracino (Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques du Grand-Duché du Luxembourg (STATEC), Laboratory for Comparative Social Research (LCSR), National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow and Saint Petersburg (Russia))
    Abstract: Studies in the social capital literature have documented two stylised facts: first, a decline in measures of social participation has occurred in many OECD countries. Second, and more recently, the success of social networking sites (SNSs) has resulted in a steep rise in online social participation. Our study adds to this body of research by conducting the first empirical assessment of how online networking affects two economically relevant aspects of social capital, i.e. trust and sociability. 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 Z1
    Date: 2014–10
  2. By: Juan Daniel Oviedo; Julian Hidalgo
    Abstract: This paper develops a structural model which allows estimating the impact of regulatory decisions looking for the setting of download-speed standards on market structure and performance. We characterize a setting under which quality standards improve both service quality and availability. As to quality, we evaluate the impact of quality standards on the performance of local demand from a detailed database of broadband internet subscribers, discriminated by the main attributes of an internet subscription contract as location, supplier, monthly-fee, download- and upload-speed features. From these results, we are able to identify the effect of quality regulation on the behavior of internet providers in a differentiated product market approach. As a consequence, we are able to assert that the response of internet service providers to quality regulation is a more intense product differentiation that contributes to demand expansion and therefore to improve broadband penetration indicators.
    Keywords: Regulation, Telecommunication, Information Services, InternetEconomics.
    JEL: L51 L96 L86
    Date: 2014–10–10
  3. By: Melisande Cardona (European Commission – JRC - IPTS); Bertin Martens (European Commission – JRC - IPTS)
    Abstract: Between 2009 and 2012 the percentage of online consumers in the EU who made online purchases in another EU Member State increased from 8 to 11 per cent, below the target of 20 per cent put forward in the EU Digital Agenda. Both, subjective perceptions on the consumer side or objective barriers on the supply side can play a role. This study uses a mystery shopping survey to measure the relative importance of supply side barriers. While 97 per cent of domestic orders lead to a successful shipment, we find that suppliers accepted to ship only 48 per cent of all cross-border online orders. This high failure rate may overstate the ordinary consumer experience because of the artificiality of the mystery shopping trade patterns. We therefore focus on the factors that drive success and failure. A shared language between buyer and supplier countries increased and size of the goods decreased the chances of success. Goods that are subject to geographical sales restrictions (vertical agreements) between producers, wholesalers and retailers are the least likely to be available for online cross-border orders. This may indicate that restrictions in competition in offline markets are spilling over to online markets and prevent the realization of some of the benefits of e-commerce. We conclude that regional integration in digital markets is constrained by the lack of integration in traditional bricks & mortar markets.
    Keywords: online trade, e-commerce, cross-border trade, barriers to trade, vertical constraints in online markets
    Date: 2014–10
  4. By: OECD
    Abstract: Digital content, such as e-books and apps that are available through streaming, downloads or cloud computing platforms, has become the fastest growing e-commerce product category. To support further growth, it is important that consumers, including children, understand what their rights and obligations are when acquiring and using such products. In particular, consumers need to know about the conditions under which they may copy and share products, and on which devices the products may be used. They also need to be informed about how their personal data may be collected and used, with whom it may be shared and why, and the type of redress that may be obtained when problems arise.
    Date: 2014–10–24
  5. By: Wilson, Matthew; Yelowitz, Aaron
    Abstract: The anonymity of Bitcoin prevents analysis of its users. We collect Google Trends data to examine determinants of interest in Bitcoin. Based on anecdotal evidence regarding Bitcoin users, we construct proxies for four possible clientele: computer programming enthusiasts, speculative investors, Libertarians, and criminals. Computer programming and illegal activity search terms are positively correlated with Bitcoin interest, while Libertarian and investment terms are not.
    Keywords: Bitcoin, Digital currency, Google search data, Libertarians, Illegal Activity
    JEL: E42 F33 K42 K49
    Date: 2014–11–03
  6. By: Matteucci, Nicola
    Abstract: Media convergence presents a few noticeable dimensions, and requests an interdisciplinary research approach. We conduct a long-run analysis of the main initiatives of technological standardization carried out in the realm of “traditional†(cable, satellite and terrestrial) digital TV, focusing on Europe, to assess the technological determinants of its apparent trends to convergence. This analysis inevitably calls into question IPR strategies and policies. In particular, we investigate how private incentives and the public agenda for interoperability have shaped the on-going convergence of the TV sector toward an “IP-based†meta-platform. Despite the widespread usage of open standards and formats, the real potential for interoperability along the digital TV filière has been modest, and mostly limited to the transmission segment. This is mainly due to the strong proprietary features characterizing the TV sector, where viable content production and provision rests on effective control of content IPR. Further, patent portfolio strategies and control of crucial copyrights become increasingly central for competing in the converging TV sector, where former telecom companies, traditional TV operators and new OTT players strive to become gatekeepers of essential layers of the new IP-based delivery platforms. To sum up, while technological opportunities today do enable pervasive media interoperability and affordable convergence at the user-level, private incentives relentlessly push the industry toward standards fragmentation and the construction of walled gardens.
    Keywords: standards, IPR strategies, convergence, DVB, digital TV.
    JEL: L12 L15 L40 L52 L82 O34
    Date: 2013–05
  7. By: Tooraj Jamasb; Rabindra Nepal
    Abstract: The incentive regulation of costs related to physical and cyber security in electricity networks is an important but relatively unexplored and ambiguous issue. These costs can be part of a cost efficiency benchmarking or alternatively dealt separately. This paper discusses the issues and proposes on the options for incorporating network security costs within incentive regulation in a benchmarking framework. The relevant concerns and limitations associated with network security costs accounting and classification, choice of cost drivers, data adequacy and quality and the relevant benchmarking methodologies are discussed. The discussion suggests that the present regulatory treatment of network security costs using benchmarking is rather limited to being an informative regulatory tool than being deterministic. We discuss how alternative approaches outside of the benchmarking framework such as the use of stochastic cost-benefit analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis of network security investments can complement the results obtained from benchmarking.
    Keywords: benchmarking, network security, incentive regulation, exceptional events
    JEL: L94 L51 L98
    Date: 2014–10–03

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